SINGAPORE — Transport Minister S Iswaran is set to stay within the country during his leave of absence as he faces an ongoing investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday.
Responding to queries from Channel News Asia, the PMO confirmed that Mr Iswaran will be completely cut off from official resources and will be prohibited from entering any government buildings for the duration of his leave.
The CPIB disclosed on Wednesday morning that the Transport Minister is actively cooperating with their investigation into a case that the bureau had identified. However, the anti-corruption agency remained tight-lipped about the specifics of the investigation.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has directed Mr Iswaran to take a leave of absence pending the conclusion of the CPIB probe.
As Mr Iswaran steps aside, other Members of Parliament from his West Coast constituency will take up his duties.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong acknowledged the challenges posed by this situation, stating it would be “difficult” for him to personally undertake those responsibilities.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat has been assigned to temporarily take on the role of Acting Minister for Transport in Iswaran’s absence.
Apart from his Transport Ministry duties, Mr Iswaran also oversees trade relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). A spokesperson from the ministry assured CNA that during Mr Iswaran’s leave of absence, other political officeholders will handle his portfolio.
The extent and duration of the investigation remain uncertain at this time, and it is unclear when Mr Iswaran will be able to return to his official duties.
In the wake of these developments, the government has reiterated its commitment to upholding transparency and integrity within its ranks, underscoring that the investigation will be conducted thoroughly, regardless of the individual involved.