Singapore Transport Minister resigns amid graft charges
Singapore's Transport Minister, S. Iswaran, has resigned after being charged with 27 offenses in a graft investigation, marking one of the highest-profile cases involving a minister in the Asian financial hub in decades.
Iswaran, who was arrested in July last year, is alleged to have received kickbacks worth S$384,340.98 ($286,181) from property tycoon Ong Beng Seng in exchange for advancing Ong's business interests. The charges include corruption and obstructing the course of justice. If convicted, Iswaran could face a fine of up to S$100,000 or seven years in prison. The case has captured the attention of Singapore, known for its clean government and low corruption levels.
Civil servants in Singapore receive high salaries to deter corruption, with many cabinet ministers earning over S$1 million annually. In 2022, Transparency International ranked Singapore as the fifth least corrupt country in its International Corruption Perceptions Index of 180 nations.
Iswaran, 61, served in various ministerial roles since 2006, and his resignation comes as Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) faces the impact of the graft probe and the resignations of two senior PAP lawmakers over an "inappropriate relationship." The PAP is also preparing for a leadership transition, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong set to hand over leadership to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong by November.
Wong expressed disappointment over Iswaran's departure but emphasized that the PAP's stance on corruption remains unwavering. He reaffirmed that the leadership transition plans remain on track, emphasizing the party's commitment to maintaining high standards in government, even after decades in power.