Singapore MP files motion to suspend Indian-origin minister from Parliament. Image Source: IANS News
Singapore, Sep 8 : An opposition MP in Singapore has filed a motion requesting suspension of Indian-origin Transport Minister S. Iswaran from Parliament, following his investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
In a Facebook post shared on Friday, Hazel Poa of opposition Progress Singapore Party said that the motion will be debated in Parliament on or after September 19.
“I filed a motion for Parliament to suspend Mr S Iswaran from the service of Parliament for the remainder of the current session of the 14th Parliament, so that he no longer receives his MP allowance of SG$192,500 per year while he has been requested by the Prime Minister to not perform any official duties during his investigation by CPIB,” Poa said.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament last month that Iswaran was currently interdicted with a reduced pay of S$8,500 a month until further notice.
According to the city-state’s Public Service Division, this sum works out to be about 15 per cent of the benchmark level of a ministerâ€™s monthly salary at SG$55,000,Channel News Asia reported.
In addition, Iswaran is still allowed to draw the annual MP allowance of SG$192,500 because it differs from a Ministerâ€™s pay and does not come under the Prime Ministerâ€™s discretion, Loong had told Parliament.
Referring to past cases where ministers had been investigated for corruption, Loong said that to remove the MP’s allowance, Parliament has to move a motion to interdict the MP as an MP.
Poa said she will also introduce a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act 1962 at the parliament’s next sitting.
This, she said, would “ensure that Parliament has the power to back-pay Minister Iswaran should he subsequently be cleared of any wrongdoing and resume his official duties”.
The demand for Iswaranâ€™s suspension comes just days ahead of the 14th session of the Parliament, which starts on September 18.
An MP from the ruling People’s Action Party, Iswaran, 61, was arrested on July 11 and released on bail.
His passport was impounded and he has since been placed on a leave of absence.
His political career spans more than 26 years, and he was first elected in 1997 as an MP for West Coast GRC.
In May 2021, he was appointed Minister for Transport and has been concurrently minister-in-charge of trade relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) since May 2018.
CPIB’s probe into Iswaran also involves billionaire Ong Beng Seng, who is credited with bringing F1 racing to Singapore.