AN UNSECURED window in a toilet cubicle at the Whitley Road Detention Centre gave Mas Selamat Kastari, leader of the Singapore Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorist network, an opening to his jailbreak on Feb 27, 2008.

He started planning his escape after noting this 'critical security weakness when he was brought to use the toilet in a renovated and different block from the regular one used in the past for family visits. This happened while renovation work was being carried to upgrade old facilities at the detention centre.

Giving an update on Mas Selamat's escape in response to a question from Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher Douza in Parliament on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng said the militant leader, who was recaptured on April 1 last year in Johor after a massive manhunt, and handed over to Singapore by Malaysian authorities on Sept 24, has not disclosed very much more than what he had revealed to the Malaysian authorities.

But Mr Wong said the version he had given was essentially consistent with the Committee of Inquiry which was made public.

On his second visit, the minister said Mas Selamat managed to open the window of this toilet cubicle by turning the lever even though the handle had been sawn off.

'Noting this critical security weakness, he then actively planned to escape. He began a routine to close the door of that toilet cubicle and turn on the tap in the cubicle on his next visits,' said Mr Wong.

'He was trying to get the guards used to this routine during his family visits. He also started hanging his pants over the top of the cubicle door, so as to deceive the guards into thinking that if his pants were still hanging over the top of the door, he was still inside the cubicle.'

Mr Wong then went on to detail how Mas Selamat plotted and made his escape.

He told the House that after Mas Selamat had bolted, officers from the Internal Security Department (ISD) never gave up and did not rest until they managed to track him down to where he was hiding in Malaysia.

Describing the investigation into the escape as 'difficult and challenging,' Mr Wong added: 'Underestimating Mas Selamat and the resilience of JI sympathisers and elements would be most dangerous folly.

'Indeed it is people like Mas Selamat who underscore how persistently real the threat of terrorism continues to be for Singapore and Singaporeans.

Mas Selamat's escape route