SINGAPORE – Law Minister K. Shanmugam has responded to perceptions that national swimmers Joseph Schooling and Amanda Lim were let off lightly after they were investigated for the consumption of cannabis.

On Tuesday (Aug 30), 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 Ministry of Defence as he is undergoing National Service and the incident occurred while he was on short-term disruption due to the Hanoi Games. He was placed on a six-month urine-testing regimen and his leave and disruption privileges revoked, meaning he will not be able to travel for next year’s SEA and Asian Games. 

National agency Sport Singapore stated that Lim, 29, was issued a stern warning by the Central Narcotics Bureau under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Both tested negative for controlled drugs but issued apologies for their mistakes.

Mr Shanmugam had, on Wednesday night, said that both Schooling and Lim had been treated in the same way as others. He had also called on Singaporeans to give the pair “support and backing” as they seek to recover from the episode.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, he again addressed the perception that “Amanda was let off with a warning, and no action was taken against Schooling by CNB, given our tough drug policies”.

He wrote: “In the cases of Schooling and Amanda, there was no clear evidence that they were currently taking drugs – the evidence was inconclusive. Their urine tests were negative. (They were, however, honest and admitted to having taken drugs in the past.)

“Amanda had a drug utensil – and she was warned for that.

“Schooling, based on the law, was handed over to Mindef, since he is a full time NSF. Mindef decided on the steps to be taken, and has announced what it has decided.”