Photo of Lee Hsien Loong from Ministry of Communication and Information

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took a strategic 10-day annual leave, before his corruption bureau (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau) revealed a high-level corruption case in his town council, Ang Mo Kio GRC. The strategic act is however only one of the many orchestrated moves to protect the Prime Minister’s reputation. The other one being the timely release of the expose – a day before New Year Eve – while Lee Hsien Loong take the limelight giving a feel-good speech of the country’s economy on New Year Eve instead of addressing the corruption investigation in his town council.

According to the state media, the investigations started as early as September. With government interference over the mainstream media, the case was covered up and reporters in the know were warned not to expose the case. When handling news coverage of government corruptions, editors from the Singapore Press Holdings have to consult the Ministry of Communications and Information before publication.

Government cover up aside, the Singapore media chose to interview ruling party MPs for comments over the corruption case. It is understood that media reporters have been forewarned not to post questions relating to the case to the Prime Minister.

Lee Hsien Loong is hardly a shadow of his father, who has never taken annual leaves during his premiership. His old man Lee Kuan Yew would have approached the corruption case first hand and made public the case himself. Lee Hsien Loong however prefers to let his government mechanism (state media, MPs and formal press release) to account for domestic matters. On international diplomacy, Lee Hsien Loong fared worse. He would first make personal comments and let his ministers pick up the tab. A good example would be Lee Hsien Loong’s unsolicited frivolous comments on China’s sovereign rights over the South China Sea, earning the wrath of the world’s superpower and resulting in the eventual detention of S$119 million worth of armoured vehicles being detained.