To help tackle issues of corruption in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the government will be increasing manpower for the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) by 20% and setting up a one-stop Corruption Reporting Centre where members of the public can report on cases discretely.
The announcement appears to be in response to Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranked Singapore seven among the least corrupt nations, two positions lower than the year before.
Speaking at the Public Service Values Conference on 13 January, PM Lee attributed the drop in position to recent high-profile cases of corruption, such as Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) chief Peter Lim’s sex-for-contracts case, and the misappropriation of funds by CPIB officer Edwin Yeo.
“These cases hurt our reputation – they hurt our reputation with Singaporeans, they hurt our reputation internationally,” said PM Lee, “So we got to do better, and not let Singapore’s image be damaged, because that would be a disservice to the many exemplary officers we have.”
“If any of you does something wrong, and breaches that trust, you not only let down the public service and yourself, but you are also letting Singaporeans down, and you can do a lot of damage,” he said.
PM Lee also described efforts in countries such as America, China and the region to tackle corruption, and called Singapore a “shining example” against corruption.
“Never let corruption take hold here, because once takes root, it is very hard to weed out,” he cautioned.
“So remember, this level of trust that we enjoy, that the Singapore Public Service enjoys, and this degree of cleanliness and integrity in the public service is a most unnatural state of affairs,” Mr Lee said, encouraging the public service to “work doubly hard to strengthen the trust you have earned.”
PM Lee also emphasised three aspects of how this can be done – emphasis strong leadership at all levels; exercise integrity as a core value; and strengthen the system with “incentives to keep it clean” and processes to “detect things when they go wrong”.
Full transcript of speech is available at the Prime Minister’s Office website.