PM Lee: Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean to review rental of Ridout Road properties

PM Lee said he had asked Teo to make the findings of the review public by the next Parliamentary sitting.

Matthias Ang | May 23, 2023, 05:20 PM

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has issued a statement on the rental of properties at Ridout Road by Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam and Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

PM Lee said that he has asked for reports from the relevant agencies setting out the facts of the matter last week.

PM Lee also shared that Shanmugam and Vivian had spoken to him to request for a review that is independent of the ministries and agencies they supervise.

He has since asked Senior Minister (SM) and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean to review the issue, and establish whether proper processes have been followed, and if there has been any wrongdoing.

"This must be done to ensure that this government maintains the highest standards of integrity," he said.

SM Teo to carry out review "expeditiously"

The Prime Minister added that he had asked Teo to carry out the review expeditiously and to make the findings public in time for the next Parliamentary sitting in July.

He noted that the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) had issued a statement on the matter and that Members of Parliament had also filed questions on the issue.

What did SLA say?

Earlier on May 12, the SLA gave a statement to the media that provided the circumstances and timeline of how Shanmugam and Vivian rented their properties.

The statement did not list how much rent the two ministers were paying for the properties.

In the case of Shanmugam, 26 Ridout Road had been vacant for more than four years since December 2013 before it was tenanted to him in June 2018, SLA said, adding that the minister was the only bidder for this property.

His offer, made through an agent, was higher than the guide rent, which was not disclosed to him.

Shanmugam also notified a senior Cabinet colleague that he was making a bid for the property, the statement added.

Shanmugam renewed the tenancy for this property in June 2021 for another three years.

As for Vivian, 31 Ridout Road had been vacant for more than six years since July 2013 before it was tenanted to him.

Vivian put in a bid in November 2018 that was above the guide rent, which was not disclosed to him, SLA said.

It added that he was the highest bidder.

Tenancy was granted with effect from October 2019 and Vivian renewed his tenancy in October 2022.

The guide rent is a reserve rent based on market rates determined by qualified valuers.

SLA added, "More details on this issue will be provided during the next parliamentary session in July 2023."

Top Photos via Google Maps and Teo Chee Hean's Facebook