[Updated 17 July 2023, 3:15 pm]
TL;DR – PM Lee Hsien Loong has accepted Speaker Tan Chuan Jin, and MP Cheng Li Hui’s resignation. Country above the Party.
It has just been a week since the arrest of Minister Iswaran by CPIB and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong instructing Mr Iswaran to take a leave of absence during the investigation, two other MPs from the People’s Action Party have resigned as Members of Parliament. In case you haven’t heard, Speaker Tan Chuan Jin, and MP Cheng Li Hui have submitted their resignation to PM Lee Hsien Loong. PM has accepted their resignation.
In a statement to the press, PM Lee Hsien Loong shared that Tan Chuan Jin’s resignation is necessary, to maintain the high standards of propriety and personal conduct which the PAP has upheld all these years.
Here are PM’s letters to the two MPs.
Putting Country above The Party
In a press conference held today (17 July), PM Lee said he had spoken to Mr Tan about this relationship most recently in February. The latter admitted his mistake and offered his resignation at the time.
Mr Lee accepted his resignation but told him, first, the residents of Kembangan-Chai Chee and Marine Parade need to be continued to be taken care of.
“Meanwhile his relationship with Ms Cheng had to stop,” PM Lee warned.
But very recently, PM came across information that “strongly suggested” that Mr Tan and Ms Cheng’s relationship had continued. He decided then that Mr Tan had to go forthwith, whether or not the arrangements were ready. “It could not wait any longer.”
From the removal of Mr Tan Kia Gan, Minister for National Development in 1966, to the resignation of David Ong, MP for Bukit Batok, for having an extra marital affair in 2016, and recent responses to cases of MP involvement in controversies, PAP demonstrates swift and resolute in holding their MPs and members accountable for any wrongdoing in their public duties or personal indiscretion.
The fact that a sitting Minister can be arrested and suspended pending corruption investigations, and that this is announced to the public has to be a testament to the system and how the PAP firmly believes in prioritising the country’s interests above the party’s objectives and individual ambitions!
The political price?
The PAP Government will almost certainly have to pay a political price with several PAP political officeholders involving in controversies over the past few weeks. How it responds to the outcome and manages public perception will be critical to restoring people’s trust and confidence.
“It saddens me to discover that these two PAP MPs have fallen short of the high standard of propriety and personal conduct that we expect from all PAP MPs. When such a situation arises, it is my duty as secretary general of the party to deal with them and put things right. This means to counsel, to correct, to admonish, and ultimately, if necessary, to remove the MP from the party and parliament. The PAP has to maintain party discipline and standard of conduct. Our duty is to parliament and the people of Singapore, and that is paramount.” PM Lee Hsien Loong