Give Joseph Schooling, Amanda Lim 'our support and backing', says Shanmugam
"I think they now deserve our empathy and understanding as they seek to bounce back from this difficult episode," said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong.
SINGAPORE: Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Wednesday (Aug 31) called on Singaporeans to be gracious to Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim, and to "give them our support and backing".
His comments came a day after it was announced that the two national swimmers had been investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) for possible offences related to the consumption of cannabis.
"I am sure Singaporeans will be gracious, and remember the wonderful things these two young people have done," Mr Shanmugam said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
“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."
Mr Shanmugam added that the pair had not received any preferential treatment.
"Both Schooling and Amanda have been treated in the same way how others have been treated," he said.
In a separate post on Facebook, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said that Schooling and Lim had made "a serious error of judgment".
"Joseph and Amanda admitted to consuming cannabis. It is a serious error of judgment, and not to be taken lightly."
"It is a mistake, and we all make mistakes. Facing up to their errors is the first step to a proper rehabilitation," he added.
Mr Tong also said that Schooling and Lim had "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," he added.
"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."
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence said that Schooling had admitted to consuming cannabis overseas in May when he was on short-term disruption from full-time National Service to train and participate in the Southeast Asian Games.
Separately, Sport Singapore (SportSG) said that Lim had received a stern warning from CNB under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
It added that it would "thoroughly review the circumstances behind these cases, and determine the appropriate steps to be taken thereafter".