Yaacob Ibrahim deflects blame for NEA in Parliament
Our government’s SOP has always been to deflect blame in any situation when it finds itself in the centre of a storm, the latest would of course be our once in fifty year minister accusing Ravi Philemon of haze rumour-mongering in Parliament.
Ravi has laid out the facts on his blog and bloggers are starting to wonder if Minister Ibrahim had read the right thing. Ravi’s blog If he did, an apology would go a long way.
Bloggers see this as another example of bullying tactics by the government where more print and digital space has been dedicated to accusing Ravi than to holding those accountable for the haze.
The PAP government has to bear in mind such a tactic does not go down well with a more educated younger generation. Since most are also bloggers, should they become as prominent
as Ravi, there is a possibility for the government to take a similar action in future.
It is a fact the NEA was ill prepared for the haze. What is the point of the haze task force meeting on 29 May when it’s scenario planning had not incorporated a worst case scenario where masks will be needed? As far as the public is concerned, another hundred meetings would not have been meaningful.
The NEA started earnest preparations for the haze only after its peak of 401 PSI on 21 June. Since then, it has been blue skies.
Other agencies were equally ill prepared in the past i.e. when Yaacob Ibrahim was MEWR Minister, there was serious flooding resulting in million dollar losses for retailers. But there was no accountability for such a large scale ponding. Another example would be the LTA’s handling of train breakdowns where traffic policemen were absent.
The government offers tonnes of procedures, all on paper, to show how prepared it is to tackle crises. But when one occurs, all these can be thrown out of the window. Perhaps the selection process of leaders also need to be addressed.
Instead of pointing finger at an inept NEA and those helming its committees/task force, the government and the media spotlighted bloggers for its shortcomings.
During a crisis, citizens are supposed to trust their leaders to find a solution. But trust cannot be earned with little accountability and deflecting of issues by an unquestioning mainstream media.