SINGAPORE - In his first public comments on the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) investigation concerning national swimmers Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim for the consumption of cannabis, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam on Wednesday (Aug 31) night said the duo did not receive any preferential treatment.
He also urged Singaporeans to support and back the pair.
In a Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam wrote: "These swimmers have worked hard, given much. They brought glory to Singapore.
"Schooling in particular scaled heights which I never imagined: Olympic Gold and that too in swimming. I would never forget him lining up against legends - the finals had so many superstars. And he beat all of them.
"Both Schooling and Amanda have been treated in the same way how others have been treated.
"I am sure Singaporeans will be gracious, and remember the wonderful things these two young people have done. And give them our support and backing."
In a statement released by the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday, it was revealed that Schooling, the country's only Olympic gold medallist, confessed to consuming cannabis when in Vietnam for the SEA Games in May.
The 27-year-old has been dealt with by the Mindef as he is undergoing National Service and the incident occurred while he was on short-term disruption due to the Hanoi Games.
National agency Sport Singapore stated that Lim, 29, was issued a stern warning by the CNB under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Both tested negative for controlled drugs but issued apologies for their mistakes.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong on Wednesday described their actions as a "serious error of judgment, and not to be taken lightly".
Mr Tong, who is also Second Minister for Law, posted on Instagram: "They know that they have let Singaporeans down, and, as role models, also disappointed many in the sporting community.
"They have owned up to it. They were both contrite, took responsibility, and have apologised.
"It is a mistake, and we all make mistakes. Facing up to their errors is the first step to a proper rehabilitation. SportSG will also look into this carefully, and determine the appropriate follow on actions.
"Joseph and Amanda have given a lot to Singapore in swimming, made many sacrifices and endured hard training as they brought glory to Singapore. We all enjoyed the glory that they have brought to our country.
"In turn, I think they now deserve our empathy and understanding as they seek to bounce back from this difficult episode.
"I have said before – we cannot be fairweather fans. Let’s get behind our swimmers, and back them to now make it right."