Trepassing and Trespasses
The Home Team is tripping over itself with the latest incident of a Malaysian woman who illegally crossed immigration at Woodlands last week without being stopped as she tailgated a car into Singapore. The alarm was raised too late and she sped out of the lock-down zone and into Singapore. It was only when she tailgated a car again into MFA when the alert security managed to detain her before she made her escape. Credit to the security at MFA, and immense disappointment at the ICA officers who allowed her to enter Singapore illegally, brazenly and openly. I would be understanding if the car crashed through the barriers in a Jason Bourne-style incursion. By all accounts she drove into Singapore quite easily. ICA should release the video footage of the incursion if there is any.
This followed another incident, another trespass or transgression, which placed the Home Team in a controversial if not negative light. I’m not talking about the response time of the police reinforcements debated in parliament as I think that is not the issue – it is never fast enough for armchair critics who forget what it was like to be deployed and run around in heavy gear in NS in a fog of war scenario. The temporary bill to allow police officers to strip search persons for alcohol in Little India and allow a place to be raided without a warrant is another draconian measure after the Little India riot. Residents in the area might feel safer with the crackdown on drinking but wasn’t the alcohol ban enough and excessive in the first place already? Alcohol-free and no public drinking zones are common in certain cities in Western countries. It does not prevent drunken louts from attacking people and property but I can understand its symbolic assurances to the residents albeit businesses would be mad. Hence, the temporary implementation in Little India, a balance of business and residents’ interests. However, this strip search and quasi police state-like powers in a limited area although short term is unnerving.
The short and sweet of it, the security apparatus want more powers however limited and temporary but yet they can’t get their basics right. Apples and oranges but akin to public transport companies breaking down in their services but asking for fare hikes while saying they are not the same thing. They are in terms of public impressions.