Parliament rejects proposal to suspend Iswaran as MP; will 'consider the matter' after outcome of graft probe

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SINGAPORE: Singapore's lawmakers on Tuesday (Sep 19) rejected a motion by an opposition party to suspend Transport Minister S Iswaran from parliament, and voted instead to consider the matter when corruption investigations against him conclude.

During a two-hour debate, Leader of the House Indranee Rajah said the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) would consider a clawback of Mr Iswaran’s MP allowance if justified, such as if he is given criminal charges.

The Progress Singapore Party motion had called for Mr Iswaran to be suspended as an MP for the remainder of the current session of parliament. He was arrested in July and is under investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

But Ms Indranee filed a counter-motion for parliament to consider the matter when the outcome of ongoing investigations against Mr Iswaran is known.

PAP MPs voted for Ms Indranee’s motion, while the Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) two Non-Constituency MPs – Ms Hazel Poa and Mr Leong Mun Wai – voted for their own motion. 

All eight opposition MPs from the Workers’ Party (WP) voted for the PAP’s motion, and against the PSP.

Ms Poa said she was filing the PSP motion so that Mr Iswaran would no longer receive the MP allowance while he was not performing his duties whether in parliament or in his West Coast constituency.

“This motion is therefore about the prudent use of taxpayers’ money, not a presumption of guilt,” she said.

She also filed a second motion for permission to introduce a Private Member’s Bill proposing amendments to the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act, so that Mr Iswaran could be reimbursed for his MP's allowance if cleared of any wrongdoing.

Ms Indranee's counter-motion, meanwhile, also affirmed the need for MPs to uphold integrity and conduct themselves lawfully, and the need to deal firmly and fairly with any MP being investigated for possible wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, parliament debated Ms Poa’s and Ms Indranee’s motions simultaneously, but MPs ...

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