'No clear evidence' of current drug consumption by swimmers Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim, says Shanmugam
SINGAPORE — There was no clear evidence that national swimmers Joseph Schooling or Amanda Lim had been taking drugs, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Thursday (Sept 1).
Mr Shanmugam, who is also Minister of Law, wrote in a Facebook post that the urine test results of the two swimmers were negative for drugs and therefore, the evidence against them was “inconclusive”.
“They were, however, honest and admitted to having taken drugs in the past,” he said.
Mr Shanmugam added that Lim was also found to have a drug utensil in her possession, and she received a stern warning from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
As for Schooling, he was handed over to the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) to be dealt with since he is still a full-time national serviceman.
“Mindef decided on the steps to be taken and has announced what it has decided,” Mr Shanmugam said.
Mindef said on Tuesday that a warning had been issued to Schooling and he has been put on a urine test regime for six months.
He will also no longer be eligible for leave or disruption to train or compete while in National Service.
Mr Shanmugan also clarified in his post that Singapore does not place people in drug rehabilitation centres, or even give warnings, in the absence of a positive drug test result.
However, if there is “clear evidence of current use of drugs”, CNB will take action against the individual, regardless of whether the consumption took place in Singapore or overseas, he added.
“So don’t assume that if you consume drugs overseas, you will be let off with a warning.”
Mr Shanmugam’s comments on Facebook were written in response to questions he had received on why Lim was let off with warning, and no action was taken against Schooling by the CNB, given Singapore’s tough anti-drug policies.
The questions were in light of Tuesday’s announcement by the authorities that Schooling had confessed to the use of cannabis overseas in May, although his drug tests were negative.
Mr Shanmugam stressed that although Singapore is tough on drug traffickers and those in the drug trade, including imposing capital punishment, how it treats “pure drug abusers who haven’t committed any other offence” is different.
“Since 2019, our approach is to treat such pure drug abusers as persons who really need help.” he said. “They will not be imprisoned or have a criminal record, even though consumption is an offence.”
Instead, Singapore will take steps to “help them rehabilitate” — which could include being placed in a drug rehabilitation centre or being put under supervision.
“This would help them to reintegrate into society more quickly and effectively,” he added.