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PSP renews call for no-pay leave for politicians suspended from official duties

Progress Singapore Party commends S Iswaran for returning his pay collected during CPIB investigation, says MPs or ministers suspended under corruption investigation should take no-pay leave.

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SINGAPORE: The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) in a recent statement has restated its position that any Member of Parliament (MP) or minister under investigation for corruption, and suspended from official duties, should be placed on no-pay leave until the investigation or criminal case is concluded.

Following former Transport Minister S Iswaran was charged in court on Thursday (18 January) for 27 offences including corruption charges, PSP issued a statement on the same day to address the recent development.

In the statement, Leong Mun Wai, PSP Secretary-General stated that the party have been following the matter closely with much concern as corruption must not be tolerated.

Mr Leong, who is also a Non- Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), highlighted that in September 2023, his colleague, Ms Hazel Poa filed a motion in Parliament seeking to suspend the payment of MP allowances to Minister Iswaran during the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigation when he was not performing official duties.

Ms Poa also introduced 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.

Regrettably, Singapore’s PAP-dominated Parliament rejected Ms Poa’s motion on 19 September last year.

Mr Leong reiterated that any MP or minister under investigation for corruption and suspended from official duties should be placed on no-pay leave until the investigation or criminal case is concluded.

“If the MP or Minister subsequently resumes their official duties after being cleared by the investigation or criminal case, they should be entitled to full back-pay for the period during which they were on leave of absences.”

PSP applauded Mr Iswaran for voluntarily returning the ministerial salary and MP allowances that he received while he was under CPIB’s investigation.

However, the party emphasized that the decision to return the money should not be left solely to party discipline, but rather it should be a determination made through institutional processes.

“Good governance should be ensured via strong institutional processes, ” added Mr Leong.

He highlighted the importance of having proper rules and a systematic framework governing such situations.

Leong Mun Wai stated that the PSP will continue to closely monitor the progress of the case and will refrain from making further comments until due process is completed.

PAP rejected PSP’s motion to halt Iswaran’s MP allowance last year

On Tuesday (16 January), Transport Minister S Iswaran tendered his resignation from Parliament and the People’s Action Party (PAP) following he handed 27 charges in court.

According to a statement from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Iswaran formally resigned as a Cabinet Minister and PAP member after receiving notice of the charges from the CPIB.

PM Lee disclosed, “On 17 January, Mr Iswaran further informed me that he would return all money received by way of salary as minister and allowances as MP from the commencement of the CPIB’s investigations in July 2023.”

The CPIB’s discovery of incriminating information against Iswaran was first indicated to Prime Minister Lee on 29 May 2023.

A formal interview with Iswaran was deemed necessary by CPIB’s Director and was approved by the Prime Minister on 6 July 2023, leading to Iswaran’s subsequent arrest five days later.

As the investigation continues, Minister Iswaran has been restricted from leaving Singapore and accessing official government resources and buildings.

His ministerial salary has been reduced to S$8,500, although he continues to receive his annual Member of Parliament allowance of S$192,500 (approximately US$143,252).

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

In September last year, during the motion debate, Ms Poa argued that the proposed suspension is necessary to ensure the prudent use of taxpayers’ money, as allowing a suspended MP to continue drawing their full allowance during an investigation can be financially detrimental if they are later found guilty.

Ms Poa stated that PSP believed that the suspension, coupled with the provision for retroactive payment to Mr Iswaran if he is cleared of wrongdoing, represents a firm and equitable approach to addressing the matter.

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 then-Minister Iswaran no longer performs his duties as an MP, whether in Parliament or his constituency.

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.

In response, Indranee Rajah, the Leader of the House, presented a counter-motion, advocating that the House should only address concerns about Minister S. Iswaran after the ongoing investigations conclude.

Ms Indranee underscored the importance of consistently applying “fairness and principles” to all MPs under investigation, rather than treating cases in isolation.

Indranee questioned whether the suspension proposal should extend to other MPs under investigation, such as Workers’ Party MPs with ongoing court case.

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.

Indranee’s motion was approved by the PAP-dominated Parliament and received support from the Workers’ Party as well.

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And as usual the spinster Indahnee Gajah had to defend her party interest to ensure that in the future if any MIW get caught, they still enjoy the tax payer monies.

Did he return the F1 tickets also? LOL

Who is going to deny this PAP is BEGINNING to appear to be a CONVOLUTED PARTY of CORRUPT politicians AND People ‘MASTERS’ , awash themselves with Millions of DOLLARS of salaries and yet its DISPUTABLE how does their WORK OUTPUT tally with their work RESULTS evident among Sheeps.

Desmond says, let the SYSTEM WORK.

Eaxmple. How COME the SYSTEM provides LAND FOR FUTURE Unborn.

This PAP Administration IS living in their FANTASY land lord over sheeps. Sure it’s a REALITY.

Suspended ministers shouldn’t have their pay cut as explained by the Kaki Son; so when they are charged and convinced, the Singaporeans will know that Kaki Son is really stupid.

PSP is 100% right as it is testimony to the CPIB’s robustness in declaring investigations of Parliamentarians and Ministers.

We support psp, hazel n Mun Wai for their righteousness.

West coast residents should pay heed to voting psp in parliament so that the interest of residents are regularly put before

And the answer shows clearly that psp was right n pap wrong in asking for the cessation of Iswaran’s pay during interdiction.

I am surprised that the Politicians does not have a company handbook or Moe Handbook on issues like this under Section Leaves, Paid Leave, No Pay Leave. But other civil servants org seem to have this … Or Time flies and everything got Lost … Or Maybe Politicians is a special group exempted from having an SOP.

Approved by who ?

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