Given the revelations of the scandalous deal between Temasek Holdings and Shin Corp which continue to trickle from Bangkok, it is impossible for Singaporeans not to take notice.
The transaction has not only provoked outrage among the Thai people, leading to the souring of relations between Singapore and Thailand.
This reinforces the Singapore Democrats’ stand that the Government has to get out of being directly involved in business as it arouses, not without reason, suspicion in the countries in which it makes deals.
In addition, with the questionable performance of the Temasek-linked companies and some high profile debacles, including
– The sinking of Micropolis which cost Singaporeans $630 million
– The ill-advised acquisition of Optus by SingTel which stands to face a write-down of between $5 billion to $8 billion,
– And the present eruption of the Shin Corp deal in which due diligence was not exercised which may yet incur a loss of up to $3 billion
it is clear that Madam Ho Ching, wife of PM Lee Hsien Loong, has failed as head of Temasek. Her decision to buy into Shin Corp has even provoked a criminal investigation into the deal in Thailand.
And while Mr Thaksin Shinawatra and his family are laughing all the way to the bank, Temasek has lost the hard-earned money of Singaporeans which now looks unrecoverable.
While all these developments have taken place, the Government and the company continue to remain tight-lipped apart from the few platitudes offered by the Prime Minister that serve no purpose or have any meaning.
In light of all this the SDP calls on Madam Ho Ching to resign as chief executive of Temasek Holdings.
In addition, in the interest of transparency and accountability Singapore should hold its own public inquiry into the affair and have Temasek come clean about all the related matters. There are reports that the non-transparent deal was influenced by members of the Lee family.
If Temasek is indeed a commercial entity that adheres to the corporate code of conduct, then it will make itself transparent to its shareholders, that is, Singaporeans.
Singaporeans must be given all the information to determine for themselves if there were any wrong-doings by all the players involved.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party