Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has asked Transport Minister S Iswaran to assist the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in a recently uncovered case. S Iswaran and many other personnel will be interviewed as part of the investigation by the CPIB.
The CPIB sought concurrence from the Prime Minister to open a formal investigation for the case on July 5th.
The Prime Minister has also instructed Minister S Iswaran to take a leave of absence until the investigations are completed, which started on July 11th.
During his absence, the senior minister of state will perform the duties of an acting minister of transport.
The CPIB is yet to disclose any details regarding the case. Only experts can tell how this investigation will affect Iswaran’s political standing in a zero-corruption environment.
Eugene Tan, a law professor at Singapore Management University thinks this graft probe may have a negative impact on PAP government.
Senior Minister Chee Hong Tat to Take Up the Role of Transport Minister
While speaking to the media, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong pointed out that it would be difficult for S Iswaran to continue his duties during the investigation. Hence, other members of parliament from the West Coast will observe the duties of replacing S Iswaran.
Therefore, Senior Minister Chee Hong Tat will be the acting transport minister during the investigation.
Moreover, other parliament members will fill in the minister-in-charge of trade relations role at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
CPIB Keen to Establish Facts and Uphold Anti-Corruption Practices
In a statement to the media, the CPIB spokesperson discussed their thorough resolve in enforcing the rule of law. It stated that the bureau acknowledges the interest shown by the political leaders and parliament members in the case as an officeholder minister is being interviewed for the investigations.
The statement also ensured that the CPIB will conduct an unbiased investigation with a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. As a result, appropriate action will be taken against any individual or party that is involved in corrupt activities.
However, CPIB abstained from discussing any details regarding the nature of the case at this point.
What Does the Future Hold for Minister S Iswaran
Even though the investigations are in their initial phase, many believe the case’s outcome may affect S Iswaran’s standing despite his 26-year-long political career.
The current transport minister has held several governmental offices and ministries since his first election success in 1997.
Since then, he has been appointed to the cabinet and served as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament for two years until 2006.
S Iswaran has been the transport minister since his election in May 2021 and has been the Minister-in-Charge of trade relations since 2018.
How Does the Singapore Constitution Deal with Corrupt Politicians?
In the past, politicians underwent investigations. However, none of them were involved in any kind of corruption, except for Teh Cheang Wan who died before being formerly charged for bribery.
Given the nature of the case, it’s early days to predict any outcomes or possible details about it. However, it may potentially dent S Iswaran’s political career, especially if things don’t favor him.
In Singapore, involvement in corrupt practices can lead politicians to imprisonment, fines, confiscation of corrupt assets, and disqualification from public offices.
The recent unfoldings of the case lead the political landscape of Singapore in an exciting direction. So what do you think? Paying Ministers a high salary is still the most effective way of preventing corruption or does it actually just minimise it? Well whatever it is, we can’t accept minimise if we have a zero tolerance approach.