Parliament will hear details surrounding the death of a police officer who alleged he faced discrimination and was bullied at work when it sits on Monday (February 5).
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam will deliver a Ministerial Statement on Sergeant Uvaraja Gopal’s suicide following an investigation by the Police into his allegations.
Sgt Uvaraja, 36, was found dead at Block 393 Yishun Avenue 6 on 21 July 2023. In a Facebook post, he said he had been bullied by superiors, faced racial abuse from colleagues, was denied transfers within the police force, and sought help without receiving any.
In an earlier statement, the Singapore Police Force had said that the claims of racial discrimination that Sgt Uvaraja had made were found to be unsubstantiated while the complaints against his superiors and peers had been investigated and dealt with.
According to the police, Sgt Uvaraja had faced “substantial challenges at work” and was at work fewer than 25 days in 2023.
He also had “tensions with his family”. In 2023, he had allegedly assaulted his brother and his mother lodged a police report against him, saying she feared for her safety.
PAP Member of Parliament Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) asked if the investigation involved an external review to maintain public’s confidence in the Singapore Police Force and what mechanisms exist to highlight racial discrimination.
Darryl David (Ang Mo Kio GRC) asked for the number of internal allegations and complaints of prejudice, discrimination, or unfair treatment that SPF handled each year in the past five years, and the percentage of such allegations and complaints against the total number of police officers.
MPs reflect concerns on the extension of card-based ticketing system
Several MPs raised questions following the Land Transport Authority’s decision to extend the card-based ticketing (CBT) system for adult commuters.
Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Transport, asked about the enhancement to the SimplyGo system since its 2019 launch, current usage levels, and efforts to educate commuters about the system going forward.
MPs like Don Wee (Chua Chu Kang GRC), Xie Yao Quan (Jurong GRC) and Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang SMC) inquired about the estimated lifespan of the extended CBT system.
Edward Chia (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) asked about the cost-benefit analyses justifying the additional investment of $40 million. That is the amount needed to update and maintain the system so that LTA could extend the use of the current card-based ticketing system.
Mr Xie, Mr Yip and Melvin Yong (Radin Mas SMC) wanted to know lessons learnt from the reversal of the decision to phase out the CBT system.
Cheryl Chan (East Coast GRC) asked about the decision factors when considering the switch while Yeo Wan Ling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) asked if motorists and drivers could continue using NETS FlashPay cards for carpark and Electronic Road Pricing charges.
MPs question how Singapore will uphold reputation for integrity and good governance
Many MPs also filed questions regarding former Transport Minister S Iswaran who faced multiple bribery and corruption charges on Jan 18.
Mr Chia and Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) asked if there were oversight lapses and reporting failures, and non-compliance in the F1 Singapore Grand Prix contracts.
MPs like Mr Yip, Mr Chia, Derrick Goh (Nee Soon GRC) and Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) were concerned about governance and controls. They wanted to know how Singapore will maintain its reputation for integrity and good governance in the international business in the wake of this case. Miss Pereira and Mr David also asked if the Government would review or revise the Code of Conduct for Ministers.
MPs reflect cost-of-living concerns
Our MPs reflected Singaporeans’ concerns about cost of living. Regarding keeping food affordable in the heartlands, Ms Yeo asked if the Government could further help coffee shop stallholders facing higher rentals and costs.
Mr Chia and Ms Pereira asked if there were more complaints lodged with the Committee Against Profiteering since 1 January 2024 regarding businesses raising their prices citing the increase of Goods and Services Tax to 9 per cent.
Finance, Trade, and Industry GPC Chairman Liang Eng Hwa (Bukit Panjang SMC) questioned whether the latest increase in GST rate is likely to impact core inflation, and what measures will be used to maintain price stability.
Several Bills are scheduled for second reading, including the Criminal Procedure (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill tabled in Parliament earlier in January.