Done wrong? No govt link can save you

IF YOU commit a wrongdoing, you are unlikely to go scot-free, regardless of your status or links with the Government, Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday.

"Whether you are connected to the Government or not, whether you are the chief of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) or not... if you do something wrong, it is likely that you will be caught, and the system will proceed against you," he said.

Mr Shanmugam, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, spoke at the launch of an exhibition on the history of public transport in Yishun. He was commenting on former MP and union leader Phey Yew Kok, who fled after he was charged with misusing more than $100,000 in union funds in 1979.

Last Monday, Phey, now 81, gave himself up after 35 years and was charged the next day.

"This wasn't just any MP, he was handpicked to lead the entire trade union," said Mr Shanmugam. "He was very senior and was close to many ministers."

Mr Shanmugam said corruption can never be eliminated, but the Government has a system that "substantially reduces" it.

"Most people don't even think of being corrupt. And for those who want to go down that road, whoever they are, however powerful, they will be charged. And then the courts will decide if they are guilty or not," he added.

CALVIN YANG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2015, with the headline 'Done wrong? No govt link can save you'. Print Edition | Subscribe