SINGAPORE: Seeking clarifications from PM Lee Hsien Loong and Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Aug 2, Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh said that the government has been “slow to clear the air, or been less than upfront and forthright with Singaporeans when it had to deal with potentially embarrassing issues”.
Listing the incidents to prove his point, he says that the public was not initially informed about CPIB’s investigation into the Ridout rentals. He said that Senior Minister Teo was appointed to establish whether there were any wrongdoings in order to maintain higher standards of integrity. He said the public was not told that PM Lee ordered a CPIB investigation. Mr Pritam continued that the public was also not told about Mr Iswaran’s arrest when investigations were first disclosed.
“In a parallel universe, Sir, there is a perception where if a Singaporean or a Singaporean company took such a cavalier and breezy approach with critical facts under today’s PAP, they can expect to receive a POFMA direction from a PAP minister for perpetuating false statements of facts”, Mr Pritam said. He then asked if the PM had inquired with the CPIB why it undertook such a course of action that brought unnecessary attention to the CPIB’s processes and, by extension, even its impartiality.
He also cites that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the public was informed belatedly that TraceTogether data was not used solely for contact tracing as had been stated. There was a public backlash after the Government revealed in Parliament in early January 2021 that the police could, via the Criminal Procedure Code, access the data for investigations. It was at the end of October 2020 that Dr Balakrishnan said he knew about this after a member of the public asked him about it.
Mr Singh said the three examples which he said showed a pattern of behaviour over a period of time of “the PAP engaging in half-truths on matters of significant public interest”. This behaviour goes a long way to explain “real disquiet” among Singaporeans today when the PAP invokes the memory of pioneer generation PAP leaders and talks about trust.
Mr Singh then invited PM Lee to consider the appointment of an ethics advisor. /TISG
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