Political scandals rock squeaky-clean Singapore

Singapore is in damage-control after two scandals involving high-profile lawmakers emerged in recent weeks.

The scandals:

  1. 🏨 Transport Minister S Iswaran and hotel magnate Ong Beng Seng are facing undisclosed corruption charges, and
  2. 🏩 The city-state’s parliamentary speaker has resigned over a years-long extra-marital affair with another lawmaker.

The scandals risk eroding trust in the long-ruling People’s Action Party, as speculation mounts around the succession plan for Prime Minister Lee (71).

Intrigue’s take: Singapore has long given off some pretty strong Ned Flanders vibes, with its reputation for clean and competent (if ‘partly-free’) government. And the resulting public trust partly explains why the ruling party has held power since 1959.

But all those years in charge mean the party faces limited checks on power, so it’s often up to the party to police itself. But as these scandals mount, some Singaporeans might wonder if the party is still up to the task.

Also worth noting:

  • In an effort to curb corruption, Singapore pays its leaders more than any other country (the PM earns $1.7M and ministers make up to $822k a year).
  • Singapore remains among the least-corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Index.