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Singaporean expresses disappointment as K Shanmugam fails to provide immediate answers over Ridout Road issue

The recently exposed Ridout Road saga (Ridoutgate), which involves two residential properties managed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and occupied by Cabinet Ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan, has raised significant concerns and criticisms among Singaporeans.

Following a lengthy silence on the issue by the People’s Action Party and the Ministers involved, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on 23 May that Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean, is to conduct an independent review regarding the matter.

The review aims to establish whether correct procedures were adhered to in the leasing of the properties, amidst allegations of possible misconduct. The results of this inquiry are set to be revealed before the Parliamentary sitting in July. SLA had also previously stated more details would be revealed in its 12 May press release.

During a door-stop interview on 23 May, K Shanmugam stated that he has “nothing to hide” and encouraged questions.

Mr Shanmugam said, “I have nothing to hide. We should set out the facts, lay them before Parliament and the people. That’s the only way to retain trust.”

“Allegations have been made. Serious allegations. We are confident of how we conducted ourselves. So we asked the Prime Minister for an independent review. Do you have any comments or rebuttals on the allegations? You know, allegations that we have cut down trees illegally, that we got SLA to pay for work done on a car porch. It is also said that I acted in conflict of interest and so on. I don’t want to comment much until, I suppose, the review is done. But I will say, speaking from a personal perspective, the allegations are outrageous. Let the agencies do their work and report to the Prime Minister. Let the review be done. Let the facts come out and then I will respond, and if the review does show some wrongdoing, you know what will happen.”

Why wait for the next Parliament session to “lay out the facts”?

However, Ishhaq Rajoo Jay, a life coach and fitness guru, took to social media TikTok to criticize the Minister for making a disappointing statement, questioning why the Minister failed to provide an immediate answer and instead asked Singaporeans to wait for the next Parliament session to “lay out the facts.”

“We are asked to tighten our belts, work long hours and to work hard for the (Singapore) economy, and then here we have such opulent, extravagant, snobbish ministers out there, who come out, and when something goes wrong they make a statement like that. ” expressed Mr Ishhaq, voicing his frustration.

Ishhaq further highlighted the stark contrast, saying, “We are paying you a salary, a salary which allows you to afford such an extravagant house, your monthly rental is enough to cover my lifestyle for my family for a year. ”

“Maybe several families go for a nice big holiday, come back and still find extra money in the bank. We pay you such an exorbitant salary, and you give us such an answer.”

To illustrate his point, Ishhaq drew a parallel, stating, “When a person is under investigation, they are brought into the police station, and the police ask them to recount what happened during a particular event.

That person cannot turn around and say, ‘Wait, I’m going to hire independent lawyers and conduct my investigation. Once I’m done, I will make a statement about the event.’

Ishhaq said he believed the first statement from the suspect would be the most accurate because the suspect doesn’t have time to fabricate stories or make them relevant.

He added that if the minister says, ‘this is what happened, and but to further this, to add to more of what I’m saying, I’m going to allow the authorities to have an independent inquiry and then we’re going to establish these facts,’ that would be sufficient.

“Put it out there! Your first statement will not go wrong,”

Ishhaq urged the Minister to present the facts openly to the public, emphasizing that there is no need for Singaporeans to wait until Parliament to know the truth about the matter.

“This is not a parliamentary issue. It’s a personal issue with you guys.”


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Other netizens expressed confusion as to why the Ministers were unable to provide straightforward answers

In agreement with Ishhaq’s comment, other TikTokers also voiced their disappointment and expressed confusion as to why the Ministers were unable to provide straightforward answers to the public’s questions.

They questioned why there is a need to wait for the Parliament session, speculating that it may be to allow time for brainstorming more satisfactory responses.

One comment pointed out that this is the most expensive cabinet, emphasizing that they should be capable of providing better answers than what has been given so far.



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