SINGAPORE: Over the past decade, approximately 300 civil servants have been interdicted from their duties, revealed Minister-in-charge of Public Service, Mr Chan Chun Sing.
Addressing parliamentary questions posed by Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Ms Hazel Poa on 3 October, he detailed the conditions under which these interdictions occurred.
According to interdiction records, 10% of these individuals were immediately interdicted without pay due to established misconduct.
Around 30% started on half-pay and later transitioned to no-pay. The remaining 60% have records of only half-pay interdictions. The reasons varied from ongoing internal investigations, pending court cases, inconclusive wrongdoing, and resignation.
In her inquiry, Ms Poa sought clarity on the range of salaries for suspended civil servants on reduced pay. Additionally, she asked for a breakdown of the number of civil servants suspended on various pay grades since 2000 and the criteria for no-pay suspension.
Responding on behalf of the Prime Minister, Mr Chan, who also serves as the education minister, cited the Public Service (Disciplinary Proceedings) Regulations.
He highlighted that interdiction is not a disciplinary penalty. Officers are typically placed on half-pay during investigations, with a salary range of $1,200 to $8,500 per month.
Those found guilty by relevant authorities can then be placed on no-pay, potentially culminating in their dismissal.
In certain cases, officers initially on half-pay can transition to no-pay if found guilty by the courts, especially in situations involving the police or the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.
In a related event on 19 September, the Singapore Parliament dismissed a motion presented by Ms. Poa.
This motion, endorsed by PSP NCMP and Secretary-General Leong Mun Wai, sought the suspension of Transport Minister S. Iswaran from his parliamentary duties for the duration of the 14th Parliament’s current session due to ongoing investigations by the CPIB.
The motion aimed to freeze Mr Iswaran’s MP allowance of S$192,500 per year while he refrained from his official MP tasks.
However, the House, predominantly represented by the People’s Action Party (PAP), alongside the Workers’ Party, supported a counter-motion by the Leader of the House, Indranee Rajah. She proposed addressing concerns about Minister S. Iswaran only post the investigation’s conclusion.
During the intense debate, Ms Poa emphasised fiscal responsibility and the potential financial implications of a suspended MP’s continued full allowance, especially if found guilty later. She clarified that the PSP’s proposal was designed to be fair, allowing retroactive payments if Mr. Iswaran is cleared.
Ms Poa argued her motion focused on the prudent use of taxpayer money rather than prematurely declaring guilt. She accentuated the unique circumstances of this case as a basis for suspending the PAP MP.
As the investigations persist, Minister S. Iswaran continues to draw a monthly ministerial salary of S$8,500 and an MP salary of S$16,000, despite his suspension from ministerial duties.
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