Singapore Parliament rejects PSP’s motion to suspend Iswaran as MP

SINGAPORE: On Tuesday (19 Sept), Singapore’s ruling party lawmakers rejected a motion brought by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Hazel Poa, which aimed to suspend Transport Minister S Iswaran during an ongoing corruption investigation.

Leader of the Opposition, Mr Pritam Singh, voiced the Workers’ Party’s dissent to the PSP’s motion and in favour of the motion filed by the Leader of the House. He emphasized the need to let the justice process unfold fully before taking any parliamentary action.

Hazel Poa, NCMP representing the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), filed a motion to suspend Mr Iswaran from his parliamentary duties for the remainder of the current session of the 14th Parliament.

The purpose is to halt his receipt of the MP allowance, which amounts to S$192,500 annually, during the ongoing investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), during which he is not carrying out official duties.

In addition, Ms Poa also introduces a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act 1962, which seeks to provide Parliament with the power to back-pay the MP allowance that was withheld from an MP who has been suspended from the service of Parliament.

In response to Ms Poa’s motion, Indranee Rajah, Leader of the House, has also submitted a separate motion, calling on the House to resolve to consider the matter concerning Minister S Iswaran once the outcome of the ongoing investigations against him becomes known.

Hazel Poa advocates for the responsible use of taxpayer money and accountability in Parliamentary suspension

In her address, Hazel Poa emphasized the primary objective of her Private Member’s Bill: to grant Parliament the authority to authorize the retroactive payment of allowances to suspended MPs.

She said Minister Iswaran no longer performs his duties as a Member of Parliament, whether in Parliament or in his constituency.

The Prime Minister has made the decision to place Minister Iswaran on leave of absence In both his capacity as minister as well as MP.

Furthermore, this case revolves around allegations of corruption, a crime that Singapore has consistently pledged zero tolerance for.

“For many years, the Government has justified the high salaries for political office holders on the basis of ensuring that our government remains honest and free of corruption.”

“This is why many Singaporeans, including myself Find it difficult to accept that taxpayers’ money is being used in this way.”

She then questioned whether Is it prudent to have a system where an MP found guilty of corruption, with suspended duties, can continue to receive their full MP allowance throughout the investigation and legal proceedings, including all appeal processes.

“Is this a good use of tax revenue? Isn’t this a drain on our resources? If this is not a desirable outcome, then we need to do something.”

Therefore, Ms Poa reiterates that her motion primarily concerns the responsible use of taxpayers’ money, not an assumption of guilt.

She contends that the motion put forward by the Leader of the House does not address this concern; instead, it advocates maintaining the current status quo.

Poa maintains that it is PSP’s position that an MP or minister under investigation for corruption, with suspended official duties, should be placed on unpaid leave until the investigation or legal case concludes.

She highlights that if Mr. Iswaran is innocent, there is no difference in outcome between suspending and not suspending him.

However, if he is found guilty, there is a significant difference. Suspending him from Parliament would result in the loss of his allowance, while taxpayers would save on revenue.

This demonstrates that suspension leads to a more fiscally responsible outcome. Poa emphasizes that Mr. Iswaran would receive reduced pay but still draw his full MP allowance.

‘Premature to take any action regarding Mr Iswaran’, says Ms Indranee

Earlier, Indranee Rajah, the Leader of the House questioned the motive of NCMP Hazel Poa’s motion, the basis and principles on which this suspension is being proposed.

While affirming the necessity for Members of Parliament to uphold the highest standards of integrity and adhere to the law, she underscores the importance of consistently applying “fairness and principles” to all MPs under investigation, rather than treating cases in isolation.

She further questioned whether this suspension proposal should extend to other MPs currently under investigation, such as Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Faisal Manap from the Workers’ Party.

Arguing that it is premature to take any action regarding Mr Iswaran at this stage because the outcome of the investigation is unknown, and there isn’t sufficient information to make an informed decision.

She further stressed the importance of dealing with such situations objectively and dispassionately, without exploiting them for political purposes and calling on opposition parties to uphold high standards both in words and deeds.

“We should not attempt to exploit such situations for political ends, but rather to do the right thing at the right time.”

Ms Indranee also defended that the PAP has been very strict with its MPs and ministers and will continue to be.

In response to Ms Poa’s speech later, Ms Indranee added that the specific legal provisions (Parliament Privileges Immunities and Powers Act) related to suspension and argues that none of them have been met in Iswaran’s case.

She highlights the importance of establishing principles for suspension, questioning whether it should be solely based on financial considerations and urging caution in suspending members without clear evidence or principles being violated.

“Ms Poa’s approach.. is really let’s just ignore whether or not he’s done anything wrong let’s just suspend him, because it’s a matter of money and then if need be we pay it back.”

“But I think we need to approach it as a matter of principle, which is that at the current time, when you cannot say clearly that some threshold has been crossed, then we say wait, wait see what the outcome of the investigations are.”

“Depending on the outcome, (if) a threshold has been crossed, then we will certainly look at it as a matter of party discipline, and the Prime Minister has very firm views on standards of integrity and conduct, and he will not let the matter rest if thresholds have been crossed.”

Latest posts

Ginger cat seeks treatment at a Malaysian hospital, netizens laud staff for assistance

An ginger cat, with an injured paw, caught TikTok users' attention as it headed to a Selangor public hospital's emergency department, seeking treatment. A compassionate nurse promptly aided the cat, dressing its paw in a treatment room.

Indonesia’s minister touts robust post-Covid-19 economic recovery with consistent 5% growth

Indonesia's Coordinating Minister, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, touts the nation's robust post-pandemic economic recovery at the UAE-Indonesia Economic Business Forum 2023, highlighting strong growth and investment potential.

Indonesian TikTok Influencer sentenced to 2 years in prison for controversial TikTok video on...

In a landmark ruling, Lina Mukherjee, an Indonesian TikTok influencer, has been sentenced to two years in prison and fined IDR 250 million (US$16,200) for her contentious video, where she uttered "bismillah" before eating pork, igniting a debate on religious insensitivity in Indonesia.

PDIP’s Ganjar Pranowo hints at potential alliance with Prabowo Subianto for 2024 Indonesian Presidential...

The potential partnership between Ganjar Pranowo of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) and Prabowo Subianto in the 2024 Presidential Election is a topic of discussion. At a recent campaign meeting, Pranowo acknowledged the ongoing discourse and stressed that in politics, "anything is possible" until confirmed by the General Election Commission (KPU).

Is the withdrawal of access blocking direction of East Asia Forum, an example of...

In the recent reversal involving POFMA and the East Asia Forum, Singapore's legal approach has raised questions. The differential treatment between local and foreign entities, combined with apparent selective enforcement, raises concerns about the nation's commitment to the rule of law versus the rule by law.

Trial begins for Chinese #MeToo journalist, labour activist

Chinese activists Sophia Huang Xueqin and Wang Jianbing face trial for "inciting subversion of state power," raising health concerns after two years in detention. The closed-door trial heightens worries about China's shrinking civil society space.

Geylang restaurant seeks customers overcharged with S$840 instead of S$84 due to typo error

A Geylang restaurant, Fok Lok Kee Private Kitchen, accidentally overcharged two customers, seeking them through social media for a refund of S$840. Despite being given a receipt, customers hadn't returned after two days. The restaurant turned to social media for help. They plan to contact the card company for a partial refund if needed. The delay in their Facebook post was said to be unintentional and clarified to be due to discrepancies in posting and transaction dates. Fortunately, the issue has been resolved using PayNow instead of the bank refund process.

Popular posts

Chinese tourist discovers hidden cameras in Kota Kinabalu Airbnb during honeymoon

During her honeymoon in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, a Chinese national woman uncovered hidden cameras in her Airbnb accommodation, sparking concerns about privacy and safety while traveling. The discovery left both her and her husband deeply distressed.

Tourist files police report over S$900 crab bill at Seafood Paradise; restaurant responds with...

Japanese tourist Junko Shinba and her group faced a pricing dispute at Seafood Paradise in Clarke Quay when ordering chili crab. They claimed the restaurant staff failed to clarify the pricing of the Alaskan King Crab, leading to a shocking bill of $938 for the crab dish alone. The total bill was $1,322.37. Shinba requested police intervention, and the restaurant offered a $107.40 discount. However, the Paradise Group, which owns the restaurant, disputed her claims, stating they communicated the price and weight clearly. The Consumers Association of Singapore is investigating the incident.

Singapore finance influencer uses S$10 Lee Kuan Yew coin for payment, baffles cashiers

Finance influencer Seth Wee embarked on an unorthodox mission to test the practicality of Singapore's LKY100 commemorative coin. His quirky payment experiment left cashiers bewildered and sparked questions about the coin's legal tender status.

Runner Soh Rui Yong confirms his absence from Asian Games, extends best wishes to...

Singaporean record breaking long-distance runner Soh Rui Yong has reaffirmed his absence from the upcoming Asian Games as Singapore Athletics has announced its team for the competition held in Hangzhou, China. Despite appeals backed by Singapore Athletics in July this year, the Singapore National Olympic Council's decision remained unaltered. Nonetheless, Mr Soh remains positive and extends best wishes to his fellow Singapore Athletics teammates

Mid-Autumn lantern decoration mishap in Chinatown disrupts double-decker buses

Singapore's vibrant Chinatown, affectionately known as "牛车水," recently dazzled with Mid-Autumn Festival decorations. However, a lantern decoration on Upper Cross Street came loose, leading to double-decker bus disruptions and commuter frustrations on Thursday.


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments