Perspectives on the Iswaran Investigation

We ran a quick poll to sense local perspectives in the wake of former Minister of Transport S. Iswaran being officially charged with 27 charges relating to bribery and corruption.

Respondents were provided basic information about the latest updates as of 18 January 2024 when Iswaran was charged. Of the 200 respondents we polled, a significant majority (82%) have been following news and updates relating to the CPIB investigation, while 62% say they are invested in the outcome of the case.A majority of respondents (71%) agreed that the CPIB investigation was conducted appropriately. However, when asked about their confidence in Singapore’s current corruption control system to keep elected officials in check, a relatively smaller proportion (35%) indicated confidence. While this suggests a level of uncertainty or trepidation, the small percentage of respondents with completely no confidence (9%) suggests that this uncertainty might not represent a complete mistrust of the system.

A small majority (51%) felt that the PAP Government responded well to the CPIB investigation, with 33% feeling “neutral” and 12% disagreeing. This mixed bag of reactions lines up with a similar mix of feelings regarding trust levels. While a majority of respondents (49%) indicated that their levels of trust in the PAP Government remains unchanged by this case, 39% felt that at least some trust was lost. The 12% of respondents who gained trust further suggest that responses to the investigation are varied. Finally, when asked a similar question about trust levels in the role of Minister, we observed a small but visible difference. While 39% indicated lessened trust in the PAP Government, a higher proportion of 48% did so for the role of Minister, possibly stemming from differing expectations or associations between the two.

In summary, our brief look at local perspectives immediately after the 18 January updates suggests that a good number of locals are engaged with the investigation and are shifting their perspectives in reaction to news that an elected official has been charged with bribery and corruption. It remains to be seen how subsequent updates to the charges will continue to alter local perspectives, but this poll also suggests that certainty and clarity are required to strengthen trust in different institutions; from CPIB to the PAP Government and the role of Minster.



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