Bicycle and golf clubs: Alleged freebies worth SGD 19K fetch 8 new charges for Iswaran

Indian-origin Singapore politician S Iswaran, the former transport minister now under investigation, has been handed eight new charges in court today. These charges pertain to gifts — some golf clubs and a bicycle, among other things — amounting to nearly SGD 19,000 that were allegedly received by Iswaran.

S Iswaran
Singapore politician S Iswaran in a video promoting cycling in Singapore. Screenshot courtesy: Instagram/s.iswaran

The reason for these new charges is that the gifts were allegedly given to Iswaran by a person named Lum Kok Seng, and this individual was part of a business that had a connection with Iswaran’s work as transport minister.

Under Section 165 of the Singapore Penal Code, it is an offence for a public servant to receive any gifts from anyone who is connected to the public servant’s official work.

These new charges now take the total number of charges against Iswaran to 35. The former minister pleaded not guilty to the new charges in the court of District Judge Brenda Tan.

According to a report in The Straits Times, a statement released today by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau informed that Iswaran had allegedly received goods worth SGD 18,956.94 from Lum Kok Seng, and that these gifts were given between November 2021 and November 2022. One of the most expensive items in the list of gifts is a Brompton bicycle worth SGD 7,907.50.

Iswaran in a cycling promotion video
Singapore politician S Iswaran rides a bicycle in the promotional video. Screenshot courtesy: Instagram/s.iswaran

What makes these alleged gifts go against Singapore law is that Lum Chang Building Contractors had a contract with the Land Transport Authority for carrying out work on the Tanah Merah MRT station and existing viaducts.

Lum Kok Seng is described the managing director of Lum Chang, which is a property management, interior design, and construction firm, as per the ST report. Therefore, the gifts that he gave to Iswaran violated the code of conduct for public servants.

Lum Chang Building Contractors has also been a contractor for other infrastructure projects in Singapore, including the Bukit Panjang station on the Downtown Line.