Saturday, May 14, 2016

Not "free of corruption"

A friend from Myanmar asked me to explain how Singapore achieves a high standard in being "free of corruption".

I said that the practice in Singapore is not "free of corruption".

Temasek Holdings is run by the wife of the Prime Minister. She is the CEO. Some people asked if she is the right person who has the business and management know-how to run such a large group of companies. I do not recall anyone giving a convincing answer.

The directors fees and the remuneration of the CEO of Temasek Holdings are not disclosed. Some people speculated that the CEO could be receiving several tens of millions in remuneration a year. But, the public does not know.

Friend - Is Temasek a public company? Are they required to disclose the remuneration of their top people?

TKL - It is technically a private company and is not required to disclose these information. However, it is wholly owned by the Government and is, in reality, a public company. All the citizens of Singapore should have the right to know how much the directors and CEO of Temasek are being paid.

Friend - I find this very strange. Perhaps it was embarrassing for them to disclose the actual remuneration, which must be extremely high. A better approach is to pay the CEO  a "reasonable salary" and to have it disclosed to the public.

My Myanmar friend was visibly surprised. Coming from a country that had a high level of corruption in the past, he had expected a high standard of transparency and meritocracy to be practiced in Singapore. He did not expect to hear about the practices that I have described.


Anonymous said...

I fully agree with your comments about the special style of corruption. I am equally puzzled about another multi-million form of unheard of pension payment. It goes like this:
A minister who holds office for two terms was entitled to receive a pension computed at two-thirds of his remuneration even though he had not retired and continue to receive a ministerial salary with one hand, plus the million-dollar pension with his other hand.
Fortunately, at the previous GE (when Workers' Party broke the GRC defence), the scam was bodly removed by the salaries committee. Frankly, which organisation, private or public, in any part of the world pays their big guns a salary into their right pocket and an equally hefty pension into the left pocket all at the same time? And one of the ministers who benefitted from this scam was a human resource manager with a MNC before he joined politics!! If the payment was deem a mistake, not a deliberate attempt to take from taxpayers, then when the scheme was thrown out, the recipients should have the decency to refund all they had pocketed through the years.

Patrick Boo said...

This is call Power of Corruption and it is legal for the PAP government. LKY drafted the Laws of Corruptions for Singapore BUT never draft a Power of Corruption Law.

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