Taking Security for Granted

Wanted: JI Escapee

The case of Jemaah Islamiyah leader Mas Selamat’s escape from Whitley Detention Centre is now all over the news. As efforts are underway to track down Mas Selamat and arrest him, this is also a timely reminder for us to ponder about our security. How did Mas Selamat escape? No, I’m not talking about pinning the blame on some scapegoat. But more about the grander scheme of things, the importance we place on security, actual implementation and practice, etc.

For example, if Mas Selamat is so important, why was he held at a facility that lacks the kind of security features one would expect of a prison? No watch tower? How is it this “toilet escape trick”, which even kids of movies can do, can outwit the security? The location of Whitley Detention Centre makes it such that an escapee can easily slip into wooded areas, slip into residential properties, or perhaps just hop onto a cab and get far away enough that all the intense search efforts on the Whitley area becomes pointless.

I think we are taking security for granted.