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HomesingaporeSingapore 'will never let the system go corrupt', says PM Lee

Singapore 'will never let the system go corrupt', says PM Lee

SINGAPORE: Singapore will never let the system go corrupt and all businesses, be it local or foreign, must know “this is how things work” here, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (Nov 5).

Citing the recent billion-dollar money laundering case as an example, Mr Lee noted that law enforcement agencies first picked up suspicious warning signs two years ago.

“We watched carefully to learn more about the network and then at the right moment, we swooped down simultaneously and crippled it,” he said.

The police conducted raids on Aug 15 and arrested 10 people linked to the case. Since then, nearly S$3 billion worth of assets have been seized or frozen, including houses, luxury cars, gold bars, watches and handbags.

“We will never let the system go corrupt,” Mr Lee said. “Everybody who does business here, whether you’re a non-Singaporean or a Singaporean, must know – this is how things work in Singapore.”

Speaking at the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) conference, Mr Lee, who is the party’s secretary-general, stressed the need to keep Singapore’s system clean, including keeping corrupting influences out of Singapore.

Mr Lee mentioned how he was asked by a journalist if Singapore – when promoting family offices and its financial industry – is letting standards slip in order to “attract unclean money” to come to the country.

“My answer was, ‘not on your life’. We will never let our standards slip. It is not worth it.

“If we let it happen … the doubtful characters would come, they will spend generously to make themselves appear respectable, to show that they love Singapore, to ingratiate themselves to us, to try to get PR (permanent residence) and citizenship,” he said.

“They will cultivate ministers and officials. They will donate to good causes. They will make themselves useful in all sorts of ways … and very soon our whole system will be tainted, and then corrupted. It’s not worth it.”

Mr Lee said the PAP must prove itself especially when it is tested, by putting principles into action “regardless of any embarrassment or political cost” and dealing with the issues “without fear or favour” while getting to the bottom of the matter.

The party must “show Singaporeans and the world that after half a century, the PAP’s standards remain as high as ever”, he said.

He added: “Singapore is a small place; our system works. If you do something improper, sooner or later it will come to light. When it does, you will be investigated.

“And if it is proved that you did something wrong, you are out and consequences will follow.”

This applies not just to its ministers or party leaders, but to every party member.

“Our integrity and honesty must never be compromised and only in that way can we do justice and uphold the trust that Singaporeans have given us,” Mr Lee said.

Also read:

PAP must improve how it communicates, highlight differences between its policies and opposition's: Lawrence Wong

PAP stance on corruption 'has not changed under my charge, and it won’t under my successor': PM Lee
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