Statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Education Dr Maliki Osman at the High-Level Round Table on Anti-Corruption at the World Forum, The Hague, The Netherlands


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman participated in the Ministerial Session of the High-Level Round Table on Anti-Corruption, hosted by the foreign ministers of The Netherlands, Canada, and Ecuador.

 

Minister Maliki reiterated Singapore’s commitment of our obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and shared on our holistic approach to tackle corruption domestically and internationally through our participation in the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre and other capacity-building and training efforts. Minister Maliki also had separate bilateral discussions with Dutch DPM and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, and Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguín.

 

The transcript of the statement delivered by Minister Maliki is appended.

 

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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SINGAPORE

29 NOVEMBER 2022

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT OF STATEMENT BY MINISTER IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE, SECOND MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECOND MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, DR MOHD MALIKI OSMAN, AT

THE HIGH-LEVEL ROUND TABLE ON ANTI-CORRUPTION

AT THE WORLD FORUM, THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS
ON 28 NOVEMBER 2022

 

Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Wopke Hoekstra,

Your Excellency Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada

Your Excellency Juan Carlos Holguín, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador

 

Excellencies,

 

I would like to thank The Netherlands, Canada, and Ecuador for organising this High-Level Round Table on Anti-Corruption. It contributes to the important conversation on the global fight against corruption, which continues to be a key challenge facing some countries.

 

Singapore’s Approach Towards Fighting Corruption

 

Since independence, Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach against corruption and a firm commitment to upholding the rule of law. The Government, Public Service and our People are constantly vigilant and determined to keep corruption at bay. We do not claim to have the best anti-corruption system, although we find that the following four-pronged approach has worked for us over the years:

 

  1. First, we possess strong political will to fight corruption wherever it exists and in whatever form it takes.
  2. Second, we have robust anti-corruption laws that effectively deal with and deter corruption.
  3. Third, we empower an independent and effective Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau that enforces these anti-corruption laws; and
  4. Last but not least, we maintain a clean and efficient Public Service with a strong ethos of serving our people.

 

We place not just competence but also integrity at the heart of good governance. Over the years, through conduct beyond reproach and a strong devotion towards public duty, we built up strong trust in our system where decisions taken and policies developed were for the public good rather than private or vested interests.

 

This approach has served us well, and Singapore has had some success in combating corruption. In Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Singapore was ranked top in Asia and 4th globally on the list of least corrupt nations in the world. We are however mindful that there is no room for complacency, as the corruption threat is always evolving.

 

International Cooperation on Anti-Corruption

 

Singapore is fully committed to its obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC for short, widely recognised as the pre-eminent international instrument against corruption. We will render the necessary assistance, within the ambit of our laws and international obligations, to any country which makes an official request to Singapore with the necessary supporting information.

 

We are also firm believers that internationally agreed norms and principles must be observed. For instance, the implementation review mechanism of the UNCAC, as agreed by UNCAC States Parties, is essentially an intergovernmental process. States Parties work within such agreed parameters towards better implementation of the Convention and share best practices.

 

In an increasingly complex world, we cannot rest on our laurels, and must continue to stay ahead of the game to detect and deter even more sophisticated forms of corruption. Part of the complexity is that corruption has become increasingly borderless. As an international financial hub, Singapore believes that international cooperation and partnerships are essential to tackling corruption, and is committed to strengthening such linkages. For instance, Singapore is a founding member of the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre based in London, which since its inception in 2017 has played a part towards tackling grand corruption. Working closely with our counterparts from several other countries, our national anti-corruption agency has supported the Centre’s operations through intelligence gathering and sharing relating to requests received by the Centre.

 

Holistic Approach to Combat Corruption

 

Singapore recognises that law enforcement is just one aspect in the fight against corruption. Training and capacity-building programmes to enhance the proficiency of relevant anti-corruption authorities around the world are also important.

 

Singapore is pleased to be able to contribute towards the provision of such anti-corruption training and capacity-building. This is another key thrust of our international engagement in this domain. In recent years, Singapore’s anti-corruption agency, the CPIB for short, has worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to conduct a training course on “Combating Corruption: Financial Investigations Techniques and International Cooperation Mechanisms” which saw participants from over 16 countries. CPIB also organises an Anti-Corruption Executive Programme which brings together management-level anti-corruption practitioners from around the world. The last run was in 2019, and attended by some 34 participants from 28 countries.

 

Let me just end off by saying that involving relevant stakeholders to create anti-corruption solutions is also vital. Domestically, CPIB set up the Anti-Corruption Partnership Network in September 2018, involving private sector companies with the objective of promoting ownership on corruption prevention within the private sector and facilitating the sharing of best practices and experiences by private companies on the pitfalls of corruption and mitigating measures.

 

Let’s not forget that the youths are our future. Corruption prevention and education must also take into account effective engagement of this key target group and instil the right values of honesty and integrity.

 

Conclusion

 

I want to conclude by sharing a book – ‘One Man’s View of The World’. Singapore’s Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew observed that, and I quote: “In the end, my greatest satisfaction in life comes from the fact that I have spent years gathering support, mustering the will to make this place meritocratic, corruption-free and equal for all races – and that it will endure beyond me, as it has”. This did not happen by chance. It is hard-earned, and takes even greater effort and will to sustain. And these efforts will continue in Singapore. Thank you

 

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2M_Photo 1

Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohd Maliki Osman delivering a statement at the Ministerial Session of the High-Level Round Table on Anti-Corruption in The Hague, 28 November 2022.

Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore

 

2M_Photo 2

Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohd Maliki Osman with the participants at the High-Level Round Table on Anti-Corruption in The Hague, 28 November 2022.

Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore

 

2M_Photo 3

Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohd Maliki Osman meeting with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra at the High-Level Round Table on Anti-Corruption in The Hague, 28 November 2022.

Photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore



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