Welcome Address by Mr Eric Tan, Director CPIB at the CPIB's 60th Anniversary Celebration
Our Guest-of-Honour, Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, our most honourable special guests, the former prime ministers of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Emeritus Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong, distinguished guests, fellow colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, a very good afternoon and a warm welcome to CPIB’s 60th Anniversary cum launch of the Bureau’s Coffee Table Book.
2. In 1951, a $400,000 opium heist involving several members of the Police created a major scandal for the local authorities. As a result, in 1952, the British Colonial Government formed the CPIB, arguably the world’s oldest anti-corruption agency. Today, we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of CPIB. Singapore has six decades on, progressed from a third world country where corruption was rampant to a developed nation that is perceived to be amongst the least corrupt in the world.
3. Singapore and CPIB have much to be thankful for since we gained independence. Singapore has been blessed with strong political leadership with a fervent desire to do what is right in the fight against corruption. As our first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew led his pioneers on an anti-corruption platform to self-government. They laid a firm foundation that still remains with us. Their strong stance was evident and entrenched our zero tolerance approach towards corruption. “Stay clean, dismiss the venal” was the guiding principle. Without hesitation nor interference, several ministers were investigated by CPIB and dealt with for corruption.
4. Singapore’s second Prime Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong, also continued to display strong political will and cemented the clear realisation that CPIB’s independence is critical. The related Constitutional amendments in 1991 that established the Elected President, introduced necessary safeguards to the appointment of Director CPIB, and his ability to pursue investigations without any inhibitions. The Bureau continued to function without fear or favour, and several senior civil servants and influential businessmen were taken to task.
5. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, similarly continues to provide the strong support to CPIB that is so crucial in our efforts to keep Singapore free from corruption. Recent high profile cases demonstrate the unwavering political will to deal resolutely with corruption even when such investigations may cause some embarrassment to the government.
6. As CPIB reflects on its accomplishments through this Coffee Table Book and celebrate its 60th Anniversary, we acknowledge the key ingredient behind the success of CPIB ie. its most valued assets – the many dedicated, scrupulous and courageous officers who have diligently worked away from the limelight. These officers, past and present, have always had an unparalleled commitment and dedication to fight corruption fearlessly. The CPIB family remains closely knit, cherishing its independence and integrity. With a strong sense of purpose, we pledge to remain steadfast yet nimble as we meet new challenges in combating corruption through “Swift and Sure, Firm but Fair Action”.
7. It is now my pleasure to invite Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to address us.