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Wayang Party: NEA minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim evades responsibility for Indian rojak deaths

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The Wayang Party published this today:

One week after the mass food poisoning at Geylang Serai first broke out, Minister of Environment and Water Resources Dr Yaacob Ibrahim has finally spoken. (interestingly one day after I slammed him for “missing in action)

‘What has happened is totally unacceptable. As far as I am concerned, it’s outrageous that this has happened, and we must make sure it doesn’t happen again” he thundered. (read article here)

Strong words indeed, Dr Yaacob, but where were you when the tragedy happened?

As the minister in charge of NEA, Dr Yaacob should be on the ground inspecting the premises and visiting the victims in the hospital on the very day itself if not the day after, but he was nowhere to be seen or heard.

They also pointed out that even if Yaacob had somehow overlooked this, his second-in-command should have done so.  Guess who his second-in-command is?  Why it’s none other than French Parisian chef Permanent Secretary Tan Yong Soon:

Even if he is not available, the next highest official such as his Permanent Secretary Tan Yong Soon should have stepped forward to fill his shoes. Again, he wasn’t around. (or is he in Paris now for another cooking course?)

Such a delayed lacklustre response is completely unacceptable from the highest paid Environment Minister and Permanent Secretary in the world.

As expected, the state media moved in swiftly to do the damage control work for its political master by describing how on the ball the NEA is by beefing up cleanliness checks on all 109 hawker centres it manages and inspecting 3 other temporary markets.

Why put up a “wayang” now to exonerate itself from any responsibility when this preventable disaster would not have occurred if they had been more viligant on the ground? Has NEA been sleeping on its job?

What’s the point of inspecting the markets now only after two lives have been lost? It is obviously a publicity gimmick to restore public confidence in these eating outlets.

Dr Yaacob said the stepping up will ensure there are no hygiene lapses and that a ’sound regime’ was in place but it will continue to be reviewed.

The result of this “sound regime” is for all to see for themselves. Had it been adequate, how could it fail to detect the hygiene problem with the Indian rojak stall?

How can NEA continue to distance itself from the fiasco as if they are not at fault by shifting the blame to the temporary market’s management committee? How do they account the 61 rats which has been caught at the premises? Did they appear suddenly overnight from nowhere?

I concur with Mr Yaacob that what has happened is totally unacceptable and outrageous. It is unacceptable to have even one mortality from gastroenteritis in a developed country like Singapore and it will even be more outrageous if nobody is held responsible for it.

Sorry to be blunt here, but this is a big screw-up and there is no way Dr Yaacob can escape from it. Just admit it, Yaacob, you SCREWED UP! In other Asian democracies like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, the minister in charge will probably issue a public apology before tendering his resignation. (In Japan, he may even commit harakiri in shame)

Fortunately for Dr Yaacob, he is in Singapore where the threshold for accountability is very much lower. He can take consolation from the example of his fellow colleague Wong Kan Seng who screwed up big time too and is allowed to get away pretty much unscathed.

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Written by defennder

April 11, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Posted in Singapore affairs

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