The Republic has developed a system that “eschews corruption” and must keep things that way, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said as he officially opened the Corruption Reporting and Heritage Centre on Tuesday (June 6).
Visitors to the centre at Whitley Road can learn about how the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) tackled high profile corruption cases in the past, as well as report suspected corrupt practices in person.
"We will investigate any complaint on corruption thoroughly," said Mr Lee. "And in fact many successful CPIB investigations, successful ones, arise from tipoffs from the public. So we encourage members of the public who know of or suspect any corrupt behaviour to step forward and inform the CPIB."
In his speech, Mr Lee noted how corruption has been “entrenched” in some other countries despite stiff laws and anti-corruption agencies. Graft has come to be accepted as "the natural state of things" in these countries, with people no longer outraged by corrupt officials.
But Singaporeans “expect and demand a clean system” by not giving or asking for “social lubricants”, and readily reporting corrupt practices when they encounter them, said Mr Lee.
He added: “They trust that the law applies to all and that the Government will enforce the laws without fear or favour.”
In Singapore, the number of graft complaints registered for investigation fell 11 per cent to a record low last year, with the CPIB pursuing 118 cases — down from 132 in 2015. The private sector accounted for the bulk of these cases, at 85 per cent.
Stressing the important role that the public plays in maintaining a corruption-free country, Mr Lee said the new centre demonstrates the Government’s desire to treat each complaint seriously and transparently, while also educating others of the importance to step forward should they suspect any corrupt behavior.
Also key to a corruption-free country are public service officials “imbued with the right values”, and are paid “fair and realistic wages” benchmarked to the private sector, said Mr Lee.
“This reduces the temptation for public officers to accept a bribe and makes the problem of fighting corruption manageable,” he said.
The court, the Government and the police officers must continue uphold the “highest levels of professionalism and integrity”, he said.
Mr Lee added: "Our founding fathers left us a clean system, built up over more than half a century. It is a legacy that we should be [proud of and do our utmost to protect.”