- The Ministry of Law would like to point out that the Facebook and LinkedIn posts (“Posts”) published by Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam dated 27 July 2023, contain a false statement of fact.
False statement of fact
- The Posts make the statement that SLA charged Minister K Shanmugam and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan rent at below market value for 26 Ridout Road and 31 Ridout Road. This is untrue. As established in the review conducted by Senior
Minister Teo Chee Hean, the rental paid by both Ministers were at fair market value and not below market valuation. There was no evidence that the Ministers were given favourable rental rates due to their positions.
- The rental paid by the Ministers for both 26 Ridout Road and 31 Ridout Road were not less than the respective Guide Rents for the properties. A Guide Rent must be calculated for all State properties available for rent and is the key mechanism through
which the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) ensures that State properties are rented out at fair market value. The Guide Rents are determined by professional valuers. These are either valuers from SLA’s independent valuation team or valuers
appointed by professional third-party Managing Agents. Valuers adhere to established principles and methods for valuation. In determining the Guide Rents, the valuers take into account factors such as location, use, floor area, physical condition
of the property and prevailing market conditions. In general, reference is made to rentals of comparable properties.
- For 26 Ridout Road, a professional valuer from SLA determined the Guide Rent for the site, including the adjacent land to the site (“Adjacent Land”). The SLA valuer did not know the identity of the prospective tenant for
26 Ridout Road at the material time, and only learnt that the tenant was Minister Shanmugam after the matter was reported in the media. The market practice is for the rental valuation of such residential properties to be based primarily on the
Gross Floor Area of the property, and the valuation of the rental in respect of 26 Ridout Road followed established market practice. The rent per unit floor area for 26 Ridout Road was the third highest, when compared to that of the other nine
Black and White bungalows in the Ridout Road Estate which were tenanted out in 2018.
- As Minister Shanmugam had stated in his interview with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and explained in Parliament, he had not wanted to lease the Adjacent Land as there would be legal obligations attached to leasing it. However,
SLA's preference was to include the Adjacent Land within the property boundary of 26 Ridout Road. That would make it clear that the responsibility for maintaining the Adjacent Land would fall on the tenant, as would the legal obligations, for
example, the tenant would be responsible for any mosquito breeding. SLA thus negotiated an agreement in which the Adjacent Land would be included within the property boundary, with the tenant responsible for maintaining it. For completeness, Minister
Shanmugam incurred the cost of maintaining the Adjacent Land, which would otherwise be borne by SLA.
- The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Edwin Tong, has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act Office to issue a Correction Direction1 to Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam in respect
of his Posts.
- The Ministerial Statements by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong provided a comprehensive account of the facts and background context of the rentals of 26 Ridout Road and 31 Ridout Road. Parliament spent about six
hours on a reasoned and thorough discussion of the issue, covering matters related to the independent investigation and review by the CPIB and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean respectively, and also matters raised in the public domain.
- More information on the facts relating to the rental of 26 Ridout Road and 31 Ridout Road can be found in the Official Report (Hansard) for the Parliament sitting on 3 July 2023.
A Correction Direction is a Direction issued to a person who has communicated a falsehood (i.e. the recipient) that affects the public interest. It requires the recipient to publish a correction notice, providing access to the correct facts.
The Direction does not require the recipient to take down their post or make edits to their content and does not impose criminal sanctions.