Head of MHA should reflect on himself before lamenting on his officers being abused

by Willy Sim

I refer to your article: Public’s response to intended legal framework to protect police officers, “Respect needs to be earned, not asked or bought” regarding the needless need for Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to further enhance legislation to an already lopsided and overprotective criminal procedural code in Singapore, one where even judicial officers are unable to supervise proceedings!

I felt the need to touch on this after hearing from friends on how police can simply confiscate one’s electronic devices using force without full justification, interrogate suspects and demand they undergo “lie detector test” without informing them of their legal rights and insufficient safeguards on how privacy is not infringed after the authorities return impounded items. All these protocols are opaque especially in the case of Teo Soh Lung and Roy Ngerng. We do not know what or how much personal info is being extracted and to where these information are heading to.
In the unfortunate ongoing case of the death of a youngster and of another whose mother filed complaints of abuse of power, police internal affairs has not provided explanations beyond a reasonable doubt except to repeat templates of no wrongdoing on the officer’s part. Responses such as these do not assure the public of impartiality and will only serve to further erode painstaking trust in the civil service built over the LKY years. The 38 Oxley saga and continued silence of the Lee Shengwu case are fine examples.
It is also noteworthy as to why citizens are increasingly “taking matters into their own hands” in the words of actor Tay Ping Hui: “When d people take justice into their own hands, it’s because they have given up on d authorities to act on their behalf. So who’s to blame?”
Sorry to have to say this but before K. Shanmugam laments on his officers being abused, he should instead as head of MHA, check on his own temperament towards members who file questions on his ministry’s actions. As the saying goes. monkey see, monkey do!