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Breaking: Iswaran appears at State Courts a week after CPIB completed probe. *Update: Iswaran resigns as PAP minister/MP and PAP member.



True Believer

Iswaran is obviously rattled by the 27 corruption charges. This is made plain by how he appears to stutter when speaking. If he keeps stuttering like this, he won't be able to complete his (jail) sentence.


Most of those things he received were merely tickets to shows and events.

If the value of those things were significantly lesser e.g. subtract one zero, $38.4k, would there have been such a public crucifixion? Public servants are not allowed to receive thank you gifts? Or just certain types of gifts from certain kinds of people? :wink:

His defence would be that these were merely relatively small treats/gifts from a friend, and that OBS got nothing in return from Iswaran's position as a decision-making ministar. In fact, Iswaran also gave OBS some treats/gifts, which will likely be stated during the hearing. The two of them are simply buddies who give each other little treats. :unsure::sneaky::biggrin:


Alfrescian (Inf)
Daft Sinkies believe that only Iswaran is the 'dirty' one.

Let's see what the 'Health' minister did during the scamdemic. :cool:




'Easier to say no': Public servants would rather decline gifts than go through declaration process​

It is advisable to reject a high-value gift, especially if intended for a specific employee, says a human resources (HR) expert.


SINGAPORE: It is best to decline gifts when offered to avoid any appearance of impropriety, said public sector employees, following the prominent case of a minister who has been accused of graft and other offences.

In cases where public servants have "no choice" but to receive presents, protocol mandates that all items must be declared to the relevant department, they said.

The issue of gift-giving in the public sector was spotlighted after it emerged that former Transport Minister S Iswaran could have accepted "valuable things" while in the capacity of a minister.

Iswaran was charged on Thursday (Jan 18) and allegedly received items worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from billionaire hotelier Ong Beng Seng, including more than S$347,000 (US$258,528) worth of Singapore F1 Grand Prix tickets.

He is also said to have corruptly obtained from Mr Ong a paid-for trip to Doha in exchange for advancing the tycoon's business interests.

Ministers and public servants are governed by their respective Code of Conduct which espouse the same principles.


For ministers, a Code of Conduct detailing how they should act and arrange their personal affairs has been in place since 1954 and last refreshed in 2005, according to Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing, who spoke about the issue in parliament in August last year.

The Code of Conduct states that all gifts from members of public should be refused and returned to the donor without delay, with a personal explanation that "while the recipient appreciates the gift, its acceptance would be a breach of this Code".

If returning the gift is impractical, or causes offence, the minister is required to hand the gift to the permanent secretary of the minister’s ministry for disposal.

If the recipient wishes to keep the gift, he should buy it from the government at its cash value after an official valuation. If the gift costs less than S$50 (US$37), the recipient may be allowed to keep it without payment. Otherwise, the gift may be displayed or officially used in the Ministry's premises.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated a similar protocol for People's Action Party MPs in a letter addressed to them following the 2020 General Election.

In it, he told MPs to be wary of those who might try to cultivate them for favours.

"Gift hampers on festive occasions, dinners and entertainment, and personal favours big and small are just some of the countless social lubricants which such people use to ingratiate themselves to MPs and make you obligated to them," he said in the letter, released to the media.

MPs must be seen to be beyond the influence of gifts or favours "at all times", Mr Lee added, cautioning MPs against accepting gifts which might place them under obligations that conflict with public duties.

Gifts not from close personal friends and relatives must be declared to the Clerk of Parliament, who will have the gifts valued. Similarly, MPs who want to keep the gifts have to pay the government at the valuation price.


Under Singapore’s public service rules on gifts, civil servants cannot retain gifts worth more than S$50 unless they pay the market value of the gift to the government, and if it does not affect the integrity of the civil service.

Public servants CNA spoke to - all of whom declined to be identified - said it was easier to decline presents outright to avoid complications.

One who used to work in a statutory board under the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth said: "From past experience, it is easier to reject outright and let (donors) know that we are not able to receive these gifts."

The public servant has returned gifts such as Chinese New Year and Christmas hampers on behalf of a superior.

The process to declare a gift involves filling in a form which asks who the donor is, what the gift is and for what occasion, she said. The form must then be submitted to the relevant department.

"From what I know, first thing we need to do is to politely decline," she said, describing the process as a "best practice".

In cases where she has "no choice" but to receive gifts, such as plaques from foreign dignitaries, these must also be declared and may then be displayed in the office.

A civil servant who joined the sector less than a year ago said that newcomers had to undergo a virtual course detailing what they can or cannot receive.

"(There are) too many details and I've got too much work to handle, so I think it's easier to just say no," the civil servant in his 30s said.

"I haven't received any gifts personally, but seeing how onerous it is to declare gifts it's better to just reject it outright. Best to play safe. (You) can't run afoul of regulations if you say no."

His team has been told to put perishable food items, such as biscuits and mooncakes, in the common pantry for sharing. "Please don't give civil servants anything ... it's (very) troublesome," he said.

Asked about his statutory board's guidelines, another public servant said: "It's very strict actually. Officers are prohibited from accepting gifts, in cash or kind. 'Gift' includes money, goods, services, passage or any form of benefit. The wording basically covers any form of gifts."

"But if it is impractical or inappropriate to refuse the gift because of the context and circumstances, then the officer must report and declare," the public servant in his 30s said.

Staff from the statutory board, which is under the Ministry of Education, are required to do a yearly declaration, refresher and quiz on the Code of Conduct, which covers potential conflicts of interest.

"To be on the safe side, one would strongly encourage any civil servant to reject all forms of gifts," noted independent political observer Felix Tan, adding that this might come across as "draconian" or "pedantic".

"I think what is important here is not whether they should stop all forms of receiving gifts or otherwise, because sometimes in the diplomatic circles, we do have exchange of gifts right? I think essentially it's about declaring and accountability, and being honest and upfront about such gifts."

Dr Tan stressed that a gift should never be a personal gift, but rather a gift given to the ministry.


The private sector generally follows the same guidelines on receiving gifts.

The Singtel Group Code of Conduct, for example, prohibits the acceptance of gifts, hospitality events or invitations due to potential conflicts of interest.

Where it is difficult to reject a gift, the gift - unless a perishable or of a "token value" - must be declared to a supervisor and human resources (HR). When in doubt, employees should declare, according to the Code of Conduct.

ST Engineering's regulations state that gifts given or received must not be "excessive, inappropriate or inconsistent with customary practice".

These presents must not influence or be perceived by others to influence any judgment or actions in the performance of official duties. They must also not place the recipient or the recipient’s company under any form of obligation or be susceptible of being construed as a bribe.

Institute for Human Resource Professionals Senior Professional Li Fengling said companies should be clear in setting the boundaries of accepting gifts, which include specifying the level of approval needed and the threshold of gift value.

"Documentation is a good way to promote and enhance transparency and governance. Companies can also conduct training and share communication about ethical behaviour to help foster a culture of integrity," the head of human resource and admin said.

Asked if it was common practice for employees to reject gifts rather than accept and declare them, Ms Li said this depended on the value and stature of the gift.

"If it is priced at a high value, it is advisable to reject the gift, especially if it is intended only for a specific employee.

"Employees can avoid the perception of impropriety by consistently adhering to the company's gift policy and maintaining transparency by declaring gifts when necessary and ensuring that accepting a gift does not influence their business decisions or actions," she added.

True Believer

His defence would be that these were merely relatively small treats/gifts from a friend, and that OBS got nothing in return from Iswaran's position as a decision-making ministar. In fact, Iswaran also gave OBS some treats/gifts, which will likely be stated during the hearing. The two of them are simply buddies who give each other little treats.
Iswaran is not an imbecile; he was fully aware that he could never accept the freebies Ong Beng Seng offered to him. However, this greedy and dishonest Iswaran willingly accepted them with both hands. If he does the crime, he has to do the time!