PM Lee on the recent CPIB investigation, and keeping our government robust and clean


We will continue upholding the integrity of our government, as well as the trust which Singaporeans have in us.  

For the good of our country, we will carry through what needs to be done in accordance with the law, even if it may be politically embarrassing and painful to the Party,” stated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament this afternoon (Aug 2). 

“I will not flinch or hesitate to do my duty to keep our system robust and clean,” added PM Lee. 

His statement came after a series of incidents that involved members of the Party, which included the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigating a sitting Minister for potential corruption.  

Zero tolerance for corruption 

CPIB first alerted PM Lee on May 29 that there was information about Minister Iswaran which needed initial investigating. This was while they were pursuing a separate matter. 

July 6 was another key date: it was when PM Lee gave his concurrence to open a formal investigation on Minister S Iswaran, after a briefing from the Director of CPIB where he told PM Lee about the need to interview Minister Iswaran to take the investigation further.     

Notably, all these investigations came about with neither a public tip-off nor a public scandal. It was simply CPIB doing its job – a job that it has full autonomy over. It is worth noting that while the Prime Minister’s Office oversees the CPIB, no prime ministers have ever impeded their unbiased investigations.    

When there is a suspicion or allegation of wrongdoing in the discharge of official duties, especially possible corruption, there is zero tolerance,” stated PM Lee on how the PAP government works. 

“Recent events have shown this and it also reflects our determination to maintain an honest, anti-corruption stance. We firmly believe to maintain an honest political system and for the people to continue to trust us we must deal with issues transparently,” said PM Lee. 

A government which takes action 

In fact PM Lee reminded every member in the chamber that it was exactly this principle that the Party adhered strictly to that brought the matter forth openly and publicly.  

“The reason this is here at all is because this government decided to act. Ownself check ownself,” said PM Lee in rebuttal to a claim by an opposition member that we do not take decisive action. 

“We have started this very serious investigation because our system worked. And we picked up that something was wrong.” 

PM Lee noted that while he has currently placed Minister Iswaran off-duty, the investigation is ongoing and he cannot provide more details; the case needs to remain unprejudiced. 

“I ask Members of this House and the public to refrain from speculation and conjecture. We must allow CPIB to do its work, to investigate the matter fully, thoroughly and independently,” he said. 

“Whichever way the facts come out, the case will be taken to its logical conclusion. That has always been our way.”