Despite a high-profile scandal on lapses and weak governance costing taxpayers tens of millions, there is no punishment or corruption investigation on the statutory boards and ministries. Not a single Minister whose ministry is affected spoke out and explain the lapses – a stark contrast for the lapses found in the Opposition Town Council which was earlier criticised as dishonesty by Law Minister K Shanmugam, Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Minister Lawrence Wong. Even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself is keeping his mouth shut over the scandal.
The Education Ministry has around S$8 million accounted for at Nanyang Polytechnic; the Defence Ministry invested S$50 million without approval; the National Art Council paid S$410,000 in consultation fees for a S$470,000 project; the Manpower Ministry wasted S$430,000. Almost all organs of the Singapore government presented a lapse leading to losses due to dishonesty or sheer complacency.
How Singapore rank so highly in corruption-free index is not puzzling. Corruption practices are legalised in Singapore, and other countries are learning how Singapore do it. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak siphoned US$681 million from the state fund 1MDB, but he has been repeatedly been cleared of corruption by his own government. In Singapore, the salaries of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the world’s highest – more than 4 times the salaries of US President Obama’s and he been in power for more than 12 years because there is no legislation limiting the service term. Every legislation was passed to approve the pay raise – an easy feat considering his single party domination in Parliament. His wife, Ho Ching, is CEO of the country’s sovereign wealth-fund company Temasek Holdings and yet nobody question the powerful couple out of fear from defamation lawsuits and the all-encompassing sedition law.