Without elaborating on the specifics of the case, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Wednesday he has asked S. Iswaran to take a leave of absence after the Indian-origin transport minister was implicated in an anti-graft agency investigation.
Iswaran and several other unnamed individuals are currently assisting the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in a probe, Lee said in a statement. Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat will become the acting minister for transport for the time being, he added.
It comes weeks after a review on allegations of corruption and abuse of power made against Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam regarding their rental of government-owned colonial bungalows.
The review found no basis in the allegations. Neither of the two cabinet ministers were asked to go on leave. In relation to the probe involving Iswaran, CPIB said it acknowledges the interest by members of the public and will investigate the case thoroughly.
Since getting elected as a member of parliament in 1997, the Indian-origin minister has worn several hats in government. On top of holding the transport minister’s position, he is also overseeing Singapore’s trade relations.
The Southeast Asian city-state pays its top officials the highest salaries in the world. It’s known for low corruption and ranks as the world’s fifth-least corrupt country by Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.