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The silence over Iswaran’s innocence: CPIB’s lack of action more troubling than proceedings

The silence from the CPIB on Iswaran’s innocence, despite their confirmation of his arrest in July 2023 and the Prime Minister’s acknowledgment of the seriousness of the allegations, is profoundly unsettling.

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The People’s Action Party (PAP) is navigating a touchy situation as it prepares for the upcoming General Election, with the unresolved case of Transport Minister S. Iswaran’s corruption investigation casting a long shadow over the third-longest reigning political party globally.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee, who oversees the Boon Lay ward in West Coast GRC, has openly acknowledged in an interview with local media that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB)’s probe into Minister Iswaran is “a very worrying development” which has significantly impacted the region.

Despite the ongoing situation with Iswaran’s investigations, Mr Desmond Lee emphasized that their primary objective remains unchanged: serving the residents without any disruption to the essential services they rely on.

In mid-July last year, CPIB confirmed Iswaran’s arrest on 11 July alongside billionaire businessman Ong Beng Seng in connection with a corruption probe.

During a Parliament session on 2 August 2023, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon disclosed that CPIB discovered information about Iswaran, warranting further investigation, first notifying him on 29 May 2023.

On 5 July 2023, CPIB’s Director briefed the Prime Minister, stressing the necessity for a formal interview with Iswaran to progress the inquiry. PM Lee sanctioned this on 6 July 2023.

Consequently, Iswaran was brought in by CPIB on 11 July 2023 and later released on bail.

The CPIB, operating under the oversight of PM Lee, has neither indicated a timeline for resolution nor provided substantial updates on Iswaran’s status since his arrest and subsequent bail in July 2023.

Furthermore, when queried by The Straits Times in the most recent report, the CPIB refused to offer any updates.

However, the real underlying question is not so much about when Iswaran will be charged by the CPIB, but rather about the CPIB’s conspicuous silence regarding Iswaran’s innocence.

This prolonged non-declaration is increasingly troubling, suggesting a scenario where the lack of resolution becomes more detrimental than any potential verdict. If the matter were a straightforward case of Iswaran’s innocence or minor severity in his actions, wouldn’t the CPIB announce the conclusion of the investigation or issue a non-binding warning?

The lack of action from the CPIB suggests that the matter concerning Iswaran is gravely serious.

This is further supported by how Iswaran has been relieved of his ministerial duties, subjected to a substantial pay cut, and confined to Singapore. Despite these measures, he continues receiving an MP salary of S$192,500 annually in addition to the reduced ministerial pay of S$8,500 — a point heavily contested in Parliament.

In the case of the Keppel executives involved in the Brazil corruption case, after an extensive five-year probe in 2018, the CPIB issued a stern warning to all six without any public announcement in the interim.

In response to questions about why the six were not charged despite the company’s admission to US authorities, Indranee Rajah, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, explained in February 2023 that the six former senior management staff members of Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) were not prosecuted in the multi-million dollar bribery case due to insufficient evidence.

This decision was said to have been made in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) run by Lucien Wong, who used to be PM Lee’s personal lawyer.

Ms Indranee told the House that the CPIB “had done it best” and that it faced difficulties in gathering evidence in the high-profile case. She said, “Simply put, there is a lack of sufficient evidence, either documentary or through witnesses, which would establish any criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt against a specific individual.”

Whether the public will witness a similar situation with Iswaran is unknown.

The lack of a clear stance from the CPIB on his innocence to date leaves not just Iswaran but also the PAP in an ambiguous position as they aim to hold onto West Coast GRC.

As the party narrowly secured West Coast GRC in the previous election from the Progress Singapore Party with just 51.68% of the vote, largely due to the Tan Cheng Bock factor, the situation with Iswaran complicates their campaign strategy amidst the growing popularity of PSP’s Secretary-General Leong Mun Wai and its Vice-chairman Hazel Poa, both NCMPs since the start of the current parliament.

Even if the PAP wishes to replace Iswaran with a new face ahead of the upcoming General Election (GE), they cannot do so prematurely, as it would contradict their stated belief in his innocence. Dissolving the GRC to create new Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) and merging with other GRCs might be a preferred strategy for the PAP.

In any case, it is probable that Iswaran will stay out of Parliament, maintaining his position as Transport Minister, until PM Lee dissolves it for the next GE.

The PAP probably hopes that the public will not question why Iswaran was not dismissed as an MP or demand the clawback of salaries that arguably should not have been paid to him.

Also ideally, for the PAP, such a scenario would occur when Singaporeans once again provide them with a blank cheque by voting in PAP MPs to form a supermajority in Parliament, thereby dispelling any motions against the party.

On 20 August last year, PM Lee revealed his intention to step down in favour of Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, potentially around the PAP’s 70th anniversary on 21 November 2024, though he did not disclose an exact timeline.

Despite the absence of a clear timeline, PM Lee’s announcement suggests the General Election is likely to occur in 2024, possibly before the party’s anniversary in November.

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There is this tyrannical country that interrogates alleged offenders in very cold aircon rooms without proper warm clothing, shines very bright lights in the room to make sure they can’t sleep, making life miserable so as to pressure and force confessions out of them. The authorities should have sent the 6 KOMmers to this tyrannical country to exact “enough evidence” to prosecute these already convicted wrong doers and maybe nail those powers that be who may be implicated by these wrong doers? (PS: that tyrannical country once falsely accused Lim Chin Siong of being a United Front Communist and jailed… Read more »

It is most unlikely that the case will be resolved for or against Iswaran before the next GE. This is to ensure that West Coast GRC remain intact for the next GE. A decision will then be made after the GE and if insufficient evidence is found or established, Iswaran may then be set free and allowed to retire with all tax-paid pension intact. However, in the event that Leong Mun Wai takes over West Coast GRC, it will be a huge loss for the incumbent party………the son of Lee Yoke Suan n others will be out of job together… Read more »

I believed that ultimately the public having known of the case of alleged corruption of former transport minister n they will like to know the progress of the case since the case is discovered last year n surely more than half a year ago, there will surely b progress in the investigation.

Be patient. Our government is just and fair.

Another Ridout.

No matter what – Loong FALLS DAMN EMBARASSINGLY FLAT, a world of difference with that of his Old Man. This Loong has to go harakiri an act recommended strongly by Khaw Boon Wan NOT to his PAP colleagues, but WP over a even a MUCH smaller matter as COMPARED. HOW MUCH TIME WAS expensed when Teh Cheang Wan DID the Honorable thing that was, supposedly pleasing to OldMan. In a matter of days, Old Man rested, peacefully with plenty of good night’s sleep, and Sheegapore NOT in any sport of suspense OR INTRIGUES. How ABOUT LOONG – one guess? Albeit,… Read more »

Parliamentary statements solves everything.
Proven.
Case closed.

I wonder how many singappreans spending the cdc vouchers say , “Aiya, the Silence on Izwaran is the Bo Bian one lah😅” ?

🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🤣🤣🤣🤣

coz he owns this satki card …

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Some crooks think that the passage of time and loong loong delays may somehow make citizens lose interest or even forget about the kom scandal of bribery and corruption, the B&W fiasco, the iswaran beng seng fiasco and all their other sins. WE SHALL NEVER FORGET!

this is very complex!
on one side cpib got the proof documents, however …
on the other side iswa -among pinky’s most trusted ones- enjoys legal immunity.
see how complex this case is?

If they cannot find “sufficient evidence” to persecute the KOM case, they also will have no problem being UNABLE to sufficient evidence to charge Iswaran. Kelong-kelong-kelong is the name of the game under the Dishonorable One.

They’ve probably got the gist of the case sussed, but merely now, … mapping out how best to exonerate their comrade without making too much of a fuss !!!

It’ll probably be similar~ish to the RidOut shit, … where various ministers, departments and agencies will make statements and timelines denoted, in support of Waran’s innocence !!!

They neither, … shoot or hang their own, and that’s all that matters !!!

The pap doesn’t make prime minister like they used to. Lee Kuan yew should be rolling in the grave.

serious arh? suspended with $8500 salary per month? alamak. why? how come takes so long?

They will do their best in keeping things under wrap. It is doubt that S Iswaran will be in any real trouble.

Maybe they (families and kakis) have numerous gathering over party how to minimize collateral damages or hoping with time, people will forgive and forget??

Politics here in Sheegapore selectively copy some aspects of American politics – THE EXCEPTION has to be in 🇺🇸, politicians there are NOT PAID as HIGHLY as PAP, even not amounting to half of that PAP Politicians enjoy WHILE their jobs and standings, are of a MONOPOLY in nature.

Dun need to fly plane. This is their Alpha and Omega … Alpha IS and Omega IS … The isis that existed dunno how looong. No?!?

The Team A PAP shit that hit the Roof Yet no State Media Reports?!? Why?!?

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