Updated: 07/13/2013 07:58

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says good politics is first and foremost about integrity.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says good politics is first and foremost about integrity.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang cannot leave grave doubts about the integrity of his fellow MPs unresolved.

Earlier this week, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that Workers' Party MPs Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh were untruthful regarding the hawker centre saga in Aljunied GRC.

A day later, Mr Low referred to Dr Balakrishnan's comments as personal attacks.

Mr Low also questioned if Minister Balakrishnan's statement was good politics for Singapore.

The Prime Minister said Mr Low was wrong to have done so.

On Tuesday in Parliament, Dr Balakrishnan circulated a dossier setting out evidence that Aljunied-Hougang Punggol East Town Council's Property Manager Mr Tai Vie Shun and its contractor tried to make the hawkers pay extra to clean the high areas. 

The documents, Mr Lee said directly contradicted the statements by Ms Lim and Mr Singh that the Town Council and its contractor had not asked the hawkers to pay extra for the cleaning. 

The core issue - Mr Lee said - is honesty and integrity. 

And that good politics is first and foremost about integrity.

Mr Lee said Singapore has succeeded because it has honest, upright people in politics: 

people who can be trusted to uphold the public interest, to speak the truth even when it is inconvenient, and to admit mistakes when things go wrong. 

And that is why Singapore must must take accusations of dishonesty against political leaders very seriously. 

Mr Lee said if any of his PAP colleagues is accused of lying, he will investigate and get to the bottom of the matter. 

If he has lied, there is only one option - he has to go. 

If he is innocent, Mr Lee said he will insist that he clear his name publicly - the matter has to be resolved one way or other. 

Conversely, before any Minister accuses any one of dishonesty, he must make sure that he is fully able to back up his charge. 

Mr Lee said Dr Balakrishnan's statement in Parliament was not just his personal opinion, but the government's official position which the Cabinet had approved. 

Mr Lee added that in Parliament, Mr Low maintained that he had neither spoken to Mr Tai nor previously seen the documents in the dossier. 

Mr Low also promised to try to find out who had actually asked the contractor to quote for the cleaning. 

But the next day, Mr Low said that he would not conduct any investigation, without explanation. 

Mr Lee described this as troubling in light of previous similar incidents.

He said in the Budget session last year, Mr Singh plagiarised an article from the Internet, passing it off word for word as his own speech.

Mr Lee stressed that this is not how members of a First World Parliament should conduct themselves and that neither is this the sort of politics Singapore needs.

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