Large or small, a bribe is still a bribe

We thank Mr Keith Heah for his letter ($2 hongbao is a bribe? Really?; Forum Online, June 8).

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) appreciates all feedback and works with the public to safeguard Singapore's integrity.

Mr Heah is concerned if the authorities in the 1970s were overreacting in a case of a postman accepting a $2 hongbao.

In the anecdote that our retired CPIB officer, Mr Raymond Ng, recounted (No bribes allowed, not even a $2 hongbao for postman; June 7), the postman had corruptly received the $2 hongbao as a gratification for recipients receiving their letters intact and on time - a service he should be providing as part of his duty.

Unlike Mr Heah's understanding, the $2 hongbao was not intended nor received as a traditional greeting during Chinese New Year, but was corruptly obtained in return for favours.

A major factor that contributed towards Singapore's transformation into a clean country with low levels of corruption is our culture of zero tolerance towards corruption.

As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated in his speech during the opening of the Corruption Reporting & Heritage Centre, our founding leaders left us a clean system built up over more than half a century; we should be proud of this legacy and do our utmost to protect it.

We all have an important role to maintain our social norms to eschew corruption. The CPIB strongly encourages all members of the public to report any suspected instances of corruption.

The CPIB takes a serious view of any corrupt practices and will not hesitate to take action, regardless of the form of gratification or size of the bribe amount involved.

Clare Tan (Ms)

Senior Assistant Director (Corporate Relations)

Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'Large or small, a bribe is still a bribe'. Print Edition | Subscribe