Mr Chiam See Tong, who spoke on Friday at Jurong West Ave 3, harped on the Mas Selamat Kastari episode as promised. He said that as the highest paid ministers in the world, Singapore ministers need to be more accountable, "Take for example our Minister Wong Kan Seng."
Chiam, as well as many others in Singapore, weren't easily satisfied with Wong's "apology" expressed in parliament: "This should never have happened. I am sorry that it has." Recently DPM Wong told the local media, “Of course, the first mistake cannot be obliterated; it was there, I owned up to it, as a minister I took responsibility for it — that’s the right thing to do.”
Naturally, there's a lot more left unsaid about the double standards in play.
An uncle who worked in the production line for HP9815, HP9825, and HP9835 series of desktop computers at Hewlett Packard Depot Road was only too glad to fill in the blanks. The popular Eurasian personnel manager of more than a decade's service was named in a divorce suit when the cuckolded husband took his errant wife to court. HP then was a model company of great integrity and expected the same high level of ethical standards from its employees. Although the PM was not sued, his name was just mentioned in the messy divorce proceedings, it was enough tarnish for HP to sack him immediately. Wong joined during the subsequent organisation reshuffle as Benefits Manager, and then moved on to Personnel Manager. He had a ring side seat to see how responsibility and accountability works in the real world.
The irony is that Wong was introduced by Lee Kuan Yew as the private sector candidate for the team, since the rest were mostly from the public service and the SAF (an going practice even to this day). So when Wong talked about the "right thing to do", he conveniently decided to forget the lessons from the past.
The "right thing to do", at least for a gentleman of honour, would have been to offer his resignation, and leave the decision to the PM. Trouble is, as Lee Kuan Yew once put it, "There is no such thing as an English gentleman anymore." Ditto the Chinese gentleman is a rare bird if you can find one. Especially among the PAP ranks.