Singapore PM Lee reassures public amid political scandals, inflation


Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks during a press conference after the resignation of two senior lawmakers, at the Istana

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks during a press conference after the resignation of two senior lawmakers, at the Istana in Singapore, July 17, 2023. Singapore Press Holding Media Trust/Lianhe Zaobao/Ray Chua via REUTERS/File Photo

SINGAPORE, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday sought to reassure the public after a spate of political scandals rocked his ruling party in recent months and amid continuing worries over inflation in the city-state.

In remarks made on the eve of Singapore’s national day, Lee said his government would maintain “high standards of honesty, integrity, and propriety” after the anti-graft agency launched a rare investigation into a cabinet minister, and two lawmakers from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) were forced to resign over an inappropriate relationship.

“Let there be no doubt: my government is determined to keep our system free of corruption and wrongdoing,” he said in a televised address, wearing a shirt with Singapore’s national colours of red and white.

Singapore is due to hold elections by 2025. The PAP has maintained a grip on power since Singapore became an independent nation in 1965.

Lee also addressed rising living costs in a country already considered among the world’s most expensive.

“Inflation is still a problem for us, as it is for many countries,” he said.

Singapore’s yearly core inflation rate – which excludes private road transport and accommodation costs – eased to 4.2% in June from 4.7% in May.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) chief Ravi Menon said last month that Singapore’s inflation would ease significantly thanks to a tight monetary policy stance, but the central bank would “not switch from inflation-fighting mode to growth-supporting mode”.

The MAS left monetary policy settings unchanged in April, after tightening five times in a row since October 2021, reflecting concerns over the city-state’s growth outlook.

Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and William Maclean

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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