Archive | November, 2010

Et Tu, Mas Selamat? Then fall, Asmoms.

23 Nov

William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar gave us the everlasting phrase that encapsulates the utmost form of all betrayals; “Et Tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.”

In this timeless play, Caesar uttered those tragic words as he was murdered by his closet friend and confidant, Marcus Brutus.

Wong Kan Seng’s Mas Selamat – co-authored with K Shanmugan and several hundred years apart from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar – has just entered its most tragic act. Lacking the great scribe’s poetic alacrity, this act is best described by the Singlish Phrase: “Kena Back-Stab”.

The most tragic element of this story is NOT that the Asmom family traded a million dollar award to help MSK escape, only to have him rat them out later, BUT that the million dollars would have helped them afford some much needed English Comprehension Lessons.

Now read the poster and repeat after me class: “Anyone who renders assistance to him is committing a grave offence.”

Well done class, now can you say: Et Tu, Mas Selamat? Then fall, Asmoms?

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News article:Mas Selamat’s relatives aided escape

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Mas Selamat’s relatives aided escape


SINGAPORE: Leader of the Singapore arm of terror group Jemaah Islamiyah Mas Selamat Kastari had help after his escape from the Whitley Road Detention Centre, on Ferbuary 27, 2008.


Law Minister K Shanmugam revealed on Monday in a Ministerial Statement in Parliament that he was harboured by his own family, before escaping to Malaysia.


Three family members have since been convicted in court and jailed.


He said Mas Selamat had made his way to his brother Asmom’s home in Tampines, a busy neighbourhood in the eastern part of Singapore.


He was greeted by his grown-up niece Nur Aini Asmom, who then persuaded her mother Aisah to allow Mas Selamat into their flat.


Mas Selamat subsequently stayed one night at his brother’s home.


For harbouring the terrorist after his escape, Mas Selamat’s brother, the brother’s wife and their daughter, have been jailed between three and 18 months.


His niece, Nur Aini, who was a Malay language teacher, was sentenced to 18 months jail.


His brother, Asmom was given 12 months while his sister-in-law Aisah, three months’ jail.


The three were arrested and charged last Wednesday, on November 10.


They were convicted of the charge and sentenced on November 18.


Mas Selamat’s nephew, Mahadir, who had a lesser role in the matter, has been served a stern warning in lieu of prosecution.


These details were revealed in a Ministerial statement in Parliament by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.


He said Mas Selamat made his way to his brother’s home in Tampines on February 29, 2008, two days after he escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre (WRDC).


He wanted to seek shelter and help from his niece, Nur Aini.


Mr Shanmugam said Mas Selamat thought that Nur Aini was living alone.


The Minister added that Nur Aini persuaded her mother to allow Mas Selamat to enter the flat.


She gave him use of her bedroom, provided him food and water, and also assisted him by destroying the clothing he wore to the flat, which included his WRDC-issued attire.


Nur Aini helped Mas Selamat disguise himself as a woman to evade detection and recapture.


She also gave him several items, including a map of Singapore that showed part of Malaysia.


Asmom gave him S$100 and RM100 to facilitate his escape from Singapore to Malaysia.


Asmom’s wife Aisah gave Mas Selamat an EZ-link card and hair-net which he wore as part of his disguise, and some paracetamol.


Mr Shanmugam said the three had knowingly harboured Mas Selamat, an escaped prisoner of the State, who they knew was the subject of a massive manhunt.


They deliberately withheld information when they were interviewed by the authorities on March 3, 2008.


It was only in October this year, after being confronted with the facts, that they admitted to what had happened.


Mr Shanmugam said Asmom and his family’s decision to harbour Mas Selamat and provide him with material support that enabled him to escape to Malaysia was very wrong, illegal, and had grave security implications.


Mr Shanmugam said Singaporeans will be understandably disappointed that Asmom and his family had helped Mas Selamat in his escape.


But he added that their actions are not a reflection on the wider Malay-Muslim community who had disapproved of Mas Selamat’s deeds, and participated in the manhunt for him in 2008.


Mr Shanmugam said Singaporeans should not allow this episode to affect the trust and goodwill that has been built up over the years between the different communities.


Instead, he said this should reinforce how important it is for every Singaporean to unite and assist the security agencies to overcome the threat of terrorism.


As to how Mas Selamat made his way to his brother’s flat and how he subsequently made his way to Malaysia, Mr Shanmugam said the account given by Mas Selamat is still subject to verification.