Chan Chun Sing clarifies civil service pay cut protocols amidst ongoing investigations

SINGAPORE: The Civil Service’s stance on pay reductions for officers under active investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) was clarified today.

Officers who are interdicted from duty will receive half-pay, capped at a maximum of S$8,500 monthly.

The written explanation was provided by Mr Chan Chun Sing, on behalf of the Prime Minister, in response to an inquiry by Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Hougang SMC.

Mr Tan sought to understand the percentage of pay lost for junior, middle-rank, and senior civil servants during such interdictions.

Mr Chan, who also serves as the Education Minister, stated that officers found innocent after the investigation will have their withheld half-pay reimbursed. However, those found guilty and dismissed will not receive the withheld amount. He emphasized that these rules apply universally across all ranks.

Earlier on 2 August, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed that Transport Minister S Iswaran’s ministerial pay has been adjusted to the S$8,500 cap. This decision was made following Mr Iswaran’s temporary relief from ministerial duties due to an ongoing CPIB investigation.

In his ministerial statement, PM Lee highlighted that the CPIB had uncovered information concerning Mr Iswaran, necessitating a thorough investigation. He was informed of this development on 29 May. The CPIB initiated a formal interview with the minister on 11 July, after which he was released on bail.

Consequently, PM Lee advised Mr Iswaran to take a leave of absence from his MP duties and has restricted his access to government resources and premises.

PM Lee noted that the reduction in Mr Iswaran’s pay aligns with the civil service protocol for unique incidents involving ministers, given that there is no established rule or precedent for interdicting political office holders.

Mr Tan sought clarity on Mr Iswaran’s MP allowance. PM Lee clarified that the ministerial pay cut does not affect the MP allowance, which is not within the Prime Minister’s jurisdiction.

To halt this allowance, a motion to suspend the MP would need to be passed in Parliament. An MP’s monthly allowance, according to the Public Service Division, is approximately S$16,000.

In light of these events, Hazel Poa, a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) representing the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), felt compelled to submit a motion proposing the suspension of Mr Iswaran from his parliamentary duties for the remainder of the 14th Parliament’s current session.

She cited the seriousness of the corruption investigations against Mr Iswaran and his current non-performance of duties in his constituency as reasons.

Her colleague, NCMP Leong Mun Wai, who also serves as the secretary-general of PSP, supports this bill.

The dominant People’s Action Party in parliament, however, voted against suspending Mr Iswaran from his parliamentary responsibilities for the remainder of the 14th Parliament’s current session.

Both the parliament and the Workers’ Party backed a counter-motion from Indranee Rajah, suggesting that a decision on Mr Iswaran’s MP pay should only be made after the investigation’s conclusion.

The Workers’ Party emphasized the need for due process. Pritam Singh, the Leader of the Opposition, noted that suspending Mr Iswaran would preemptively overturn the electoral mandate granted to him by the public.

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