This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

'I have nothing to hide': Shanmugam says he 'kept to the rules' regarding rental of Ridout Road state property

People are naturally entitled to ask questions but "I know what I did. I kept to the rules," said Law Minister K. Shanmugam in a doorstop interview today (May 23) at Yishun.

He addressed some of the allegations regarding the rental of two state properties located along Ridout Road, one by him and the other by fellow Cabinet minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) had said earlier this month that the two colonial bungalows rented out to the two ministers were "performed in full compliance with the relevant SLA procedures".

Shanmugam said that he was away on an official trip last week and he was told about some of the things that have been said.

"But when questions arise, you know how it works. The Government will look into the matter. PM Lee's statement sets that out."

'We cannot let doubts about the integrity of ministers fester': Shanmugam

The Law Minister said that he contacted PM Lee last week and suggested he would like an independent review to look into whether there was any wrongdoing.

This sort of approach is needed, he added, regardless of who is involved, to ensure that the system operates with integrity.

"[We] cannot let doubts about the integrity of ministers fester and be left unaddressed," he said. 

"I have nothing to hide. [We need to] set out the facts, lay them before Parliament and the people; That's the only way to retain trust."

When Parliament next meets in July, questions will be dealt with, he assured. 

On allegations that trees were cut down illegally on his Ridout Road property and that SLA was asked to pay for work done on a car porch, Shanmugam said that he doesn't want to comment much until the review is done. 

"Speaking from a personal perspective, the allegations are outrageous," he added. 

"Let the agencies do their work, and report to PM. Let the review be done, let the facts come out. And then I can respond."

He was also asked whether the questions raised about conflict of interest and code of conduct were fair. 

"These are public properties. I can see how that without full facts, some people may genuinely have legitimate questions," he replied.  

"But you know, there have been some assertions made which go well beyond just asking questions, let the full facts come out, then people can judge for themselves."

The 64-year-old concluded that both properties were empty for years when they put in their bids. 

"But let people judge for themselves, in due time. Allegations were made. We are confident of how we had conducted ourselves. And we asked the PM for an independent review."


Separately, in a doorstop interview over at the Ministry of Communications and Information building today, Vivian only said: "I'm very glad that Prime Minister Lee agreed to have this review and to publish all relevant facts and findings before we have a full debate in Parliament."

He did not take any questions from the media. 

SM Teo to review matter

Earlier today, PM Lee said he asked for reports from relevant agencies last week regarding the properties at Ridout Road that are rented out to the two ministers.

In a statement, PM Lee said that the pair had spoken to him and requested for a review that is "independent of the ministries and agencies they supervise".

PM Lee also asked Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean to review the matter and "establish whether proper processes have been followed, and if there has been any wrongdoing".

"This must be done to ensure that this government maintains the highest standards of integrity," said PM Lee.

"I have asked SM Teo to carry out the review expeditiously and to make the findings public in time for the Parliamentary sitting."

ALSO READ: Shanmugam, Vivian's colonial bungalow rentals in Ridout Road in full compliance with procedures: SLA

No part of this article can be reproduced without permission from AsiaOne.