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Singapore parliament members file 18 questions to Prime Minister over Iswaran corruption investigation

Transport Minister S Iswaran’s ongoing CPIB investigation prompts 18 critical queries from Singapore Parliament members, spotlighting accountability, transparency, and the role of the Prime Minister in such investigations.



SINGAPORE: Parliament members have filed 18 oral questions surrounding the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau’s (CPIB) ongoing investigation into Transport Minister S Iswaran, to be addressed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Parliament Sitting in August.

The questions cover a wide range of concerns, from the timeline of the investigation to whether the CPIB requires the Prime Minister’s concurrence for investigations, and the circumstances of Iswaran’s arrest.

They were primarily submitted by MPs from the People’s Action Party, Workers’ Party, and Progress Singapore Party, including Dr Tan Wu Meng, Mr Don Wee, Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis, Mr Leong Mun Wai, Ms Joan Pereira, Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song, Ms He Ting Ru, Mr Saktiandi Supaat, Mr Yip Hon Weng, Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, Ms Hazel Poa, and Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong.

Key points of concern from parliament members include:

  1. The timeline and reasons for commencing a formal investigation into Minister S Iswaran.
  2. The scope of the investigation in relation to Iswaran’s official duties.
  3. Differences in treatment of ministers during CPIB investigations.
  4. The Prime Minister’s authority over CPIB investigations.
  5. The necessity of public transparency regarding such investigations and arrests.
  6. Guidelines for mandatory disclosures when a political office holder is implicated in an investigation.
  7. Whistleblowing channels and their efficacy within ministries.
  8. Potential changes to the Code of Conduct for Ministers in light of this case.
  9. Measures in place to protect civil servants from inappropriate requests from political office holders.
  10. Protocols for declaring benefits received by political office holders and civil servants.
  11. Specifics regarding other individuals arrested in relation to this case.
  12. The relation of Iswaran’s leave of absence from his duties to the ongoing investigation.
  13. Updates on guidelines for whistleblowing for civil and public servants.

The investigation follows CPIB’s announcement on 12 July that Minister S Iswaran was involved in an undisclosed corruption investigation.

However, it wasn’t revealed until three days later that he had been arrested. The case’s specifics involving Iswaran and billionaire businessman Ong Beng Seng who was also arrested, remain undisclosed.

In light of the investigation, PM Lee has instructed Minister Iswaran to take a leave of absence until the conclusion of the investigation.

According to the order paper for 2 August, PM Lee will address the Parliament on the ongoing corruption investigation involving Iswaran and the resignations of former parliament speaker Tan Chuan-Jin and fellow ruling party lawmaker Cheng Li Hui.

Questions filed

  1. Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the PM the timeline of CPIB’s uncovering of the matter regarding the investigation Minister Iswaran is assisting with, and the reasons for commencing formal investigation on 11 July 2023 after PM’s concurrence on 6 July 2023.
  2. Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the PM whether CPIB’s investigation involving Minister Iswaran pertains to actions or decisions taken in his official capacity.
  3. Mr Don Wee: To ask the PM why Minister Iswaran has been placed on leave of absence while assisting CPIB with the investigation, while other ministers continued their duties during similar CPIB investigations.
  4. Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the PM (a) if CPIB needs PM’s concurrence to open formal investigations, (b) circumstances requiring such concurrence, (c) limitations on PM’s power to give or refuse concurrence, (d) instances of PM declining permission for CPIB investigations.
  5. Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the PM (a) if all CPIB investigations require PM’s concurrence, (b) types of investigations requiring PM’s concurrence, (c) reasons for such concurrence.
  6. Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the PM if Minister Iswaran’s arrest by CPIB should have been immediately announced for transparency.
  7. Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the PM if the government follows a timeline for disclosing information about a political office holder, if it could materially affect public confidence in the government.
  8. Ms He Ting Ru: To ask the PM the considerations that CPIB takes into account while deciding when to announce individuals’ involvement in ongoing investigations and the appropriate level of disclosure.
  9. Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the PM about CPIB’s update to the media on 14 July 2023 regarding Minister Iswaran’s arrest on 11 July 2023 and the reasons for the earlier media release on 12 July 2023 without mentioning his arrest.
  10. Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the PM if he will consider implementing transparent guidelines for mandatory disclosures or announcements when a Minister or political office holder is personally implicated in any formal investigation, to minimize time lag issues and prevent unnecessary public speculation.
  11. Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the PM (a) avenues available in Ministries for whistleblowing on possible corruption cases, (b) number of CPIB investigations through whistleblowing channels in the past three years, (c) proportion of cases surfaced through such avenues in the past three years.
  12. Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the PM if there will be further clarifications or a review of the Code of Conduct for Ministers, regardless of the outcome of CPIB’s investigation involving Minister Iswaran.
  13. Ms Hazel Poa: To ask the PM about measures in place to protect civil servants who choose not to follow inappropriate or non-official instructions or requests from political office holders.
  14. Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the PM (a) if political office holders and civil servants are required to declare received meals, (b) threshold value for making such declarations, (c) conditions requiring payment, (d) number of such declarations made in the past year and their total value.
  15. Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the PM (a) number of individuals arrested by CPIB in relation to the investigation into Mr. S Iswaran, (b) reasons for not disclosing Mr. Iswaran’s arrest until 14 July 2023.
  16. Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the PM (a) if Mr. Iswaran’s leave of absence from 7 to 9 July 2023 is related to the CPIB investigation, (b) whether he discharged official duties or attended official meetings during that period.
  17. Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the PM why CPIB did not disclose their current investigation of Minister Iswaran before 12 July 2023.
  18. Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the PM for an update on the current guidelines for whistleblowing for civil and public servants in respect of wrongdoings by political office holders, including but not limited to criminal or graft offenses, misconduct, wrongful practices, or irregularities.
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Govt dun kno wat to do as $ so huge tat involve FT on SG investment thru his buddy…..

everything is fully under control.
he’s fully innocent unless convicted (by our sided courts).
he’s regained my confidence.
we have zero tolerance for (non-pappies involved) corruption.

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A final question

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’18 filed questions’? This sounds so scripted. Aren’t parliamentarians (who is supposed to represent the people) supposed to speak freely during parliamentary seating? Why must they be filed before hand?