SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Transport Minister, S. Iswaran, who is currently suspended over an ongoing investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) completes its investigation, reportedly spotted in the public.
On Friday (20 Oct), the Singapore social media page “Our Singapore” shared a photo on Facebook, purportedly showing a man resembling Mr Iswaran at a temple.
The man, wearing glasses, is seen clasping his hands together in prayer.
The post wrote: “At Sri Mariamman temple in South Bridge Road. He seems to have lost a lot of weight and aged as well.”
It is unknown when the picture was taken.
A check on Mr. Iswaran’s official Facebook page indicates that it has remained inactive since July. The last post was published on the 10th of July, a day before he was arrested.
CPIBCorrupt Practices Investigation Bureau
Minister Iswaran and billionaire businessman Ong Beng Seng were arrested on 11 July and are currently cooperating with the authorities, although the specific nature of the probe remains undisclosed by CPIB.
Both have been released on bail with Minister Iswaran’s passport confiscated and instructed to take a leave of absence pending the investigation’s conclusion.
Meanwhile, the 79-year-old Ong Beng Seng, who also serves as the Grand Prix chairman, attended the F1 Singapore Grand Prix on the 16th of last month, despite the ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption.
Mr Iswaran’s reemergence in the public space, albeit in a low-profile manner, has once again sparked curiosity among netizens.
Mounting public concern surrounding CPIB investigation progress
Some have expressed their concern regarding the ongoing probe and are eager to know the updates from the CPIB’s investigation on the case.
In a Parliament sitting on 2 August, PM Lee informed Parliament that the CPIB had come across information regarding Minister Iswaran that warranted further investigation and notified him of this on 29 May. The CPIB then independently pursued this lead further.
On 5 July, the Director of CPIB briefed the Prime Minister on the findings, explaining that a formal interview with Minister Iswaran was required to advance the investigation. PM Lee approved this on 6 July. Five days later, on 11 July, Minister Iswaran was brought in by the CPIB and was subsequently released on bail.
Minister Iswaran remain in Singapore amidst the investigation and will be denied access to any official resources and government buildings.
PM Lee also confirmed that Iswaran’s monthly salary has been reduced to S$8,500 until further notice as he was relieved of his ministerial duties.
It’s noteworthy that ministerial salaries were last adjusted in 2012 and, at the benchmark level, a minister’s monthly salary stands at S$55,000, translating to an annual salary of S$1,100,000. The fixed portion of this salary is S$715,000, with the rest being variable.
While the investigation is ongoing, PM Lee cautioned against speculation and conjecture. He underscored the importance of allowing the CPIB to conduct the investigation fully, thoroughly, and independently.
In September, Hazel Poa, a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) representing the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), submitted a motion to suspend 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 CPIB, during which he is not carrying out official duties.
The motion, however, was rejected by the Parliament, which is predominantly PAP.
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