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Iswaran Probe Another Reminder of How the PAP Needs to be Probed to be Accountable

Dear friends,

When Iswaran was arrested by the CPIB, it was announced that he was “assisting with investigations”.

Only when probed did the PAP-led government reveal that he had indeed been arrested.

When the Prime Minister declared that Iswaran’s “salary” would be docked to $8500 per month, he made no mention that Iswaran would continue receiving his $16,000 MP allowance.

Again, only when probed did Singaporeans find out what PM Lee had conveniently left out.

Now, we learn that Iswaran has been suspended from his ministerial duties, but never officially suspended from his duties as an MP.

In the words of Leader of the House Indranee Rajah, PM Lee “requested” that Iswaran “cease his MP duties” as a “matter of party discipline”.

The Prime Minister appoints his Cabinet, so he can suspend Iswaran from ministerial duties.

But he cannot suspend Iswaran from his duties as an MP because MPs are elected by voters.

Yet again, only when probed did the PAP-led government reveal this.

Prior to this was just the bold declaration by PM Lee that Iswaran has been instructed to stop performing both his ministerial duties and his MP duties while the CPIB investigation is ongoing.

So many times in just this one Iswaran case, the PAP has shown that it will not be upfront with Singaporeans unless it is subject to scrutiny.

This does not appear to be a government that deserves the trust of Singaporeans.

What Singaporeans should take further umbrage at is how the PAP disingenuously and scurrilously attempts to obfuscate matters.

Debating whether Iswaran should continue drawing his MP allowance, Ms Indranee hammered home the point that one is “innocent until proven guilty”.

She then compared Iswaran’s case to that of Workers’ Party MPs Pritam Singh and Faisal Manap.

Both are under police investigation and drawing their MP allowance.

Ms Indranee conveniently left out the fact that the Workers’ Party MPs are still doing their job as MPs.

Meanwhile, Iswaran is not doing even his basic MP duties because the PAP leadership instructed him not to.

How is that comparison fair, or even accurate?

Iswaran is out on bail and not under house arrest.

How will performing his basic MP duties prejudice the CPIB investigation more than if he went for Sunday brunch at a hawker centre?

What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

This looks more like a concerted political decision to hide Iswaran from public questioning by Common Singaporeans and the media, in case further probing opens up another can of worms.

Of course, the PAP will have its own, most likely differing, opinion.

An MP who stops performing his basic duties because he is instructed to by his party leader does not deserve to draw his MP allowance.

The PAP is the one that demands Iswaran cease doing his job of serving the people – it is not an official suspension by the government as we now know.

As a matter of principle, taxpayers should not be made to foot his monthly $16,000 MP bill on account of a party decision.

It is about time that Singaporeans stop paying for the PAP’s politically irresponsible choices, the mistakes of their million-dollar whiter than whites, and the party’s refusal to be upfront with us time and time again.

Desmond Lim
Singapore Democratic Alliance

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