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Things That Make You Go “Err”: According to Taiwanese News Ho Ching Is Paying Herself a Cool US$100 Million a Year Out of Public Funds


Despite being an unelected public servant appointed as CEO of Temasek by her husband, with a track record that would have got her fired long ago at a private equity or hedge fund, Ho Ching has never been shy about making political statements. In the last election in 2015 she put up posts supporting the PAP and her husband. Recently she defended Lee Hsien Loong’s salary while refusing to tell us what she earns. Notwithstanding what must be a herculean workload and heavy responsibilities, she still has plenty of free time to accompany the PM on most state visits using ST Aerospace’s Gulfstream, meeting foreign heads of state like the Obamas (where she used a $15 handbag made by an ITE student in a ludicrous effort to convince Singaporeans she was just a regular HDB dweller). She also appears to participate in summits and play an active role in the nation’s foreign policy. Her extraordinary multitasking skills are also evident in her management of her social media as she (or her team of taxpayer paid media consultants) make Facebook posts several times an hour. Clearly she has very little to do at Temasek other than count her money (wonder how many woman-hours that would take?).

Now she has interfered in foreign affairs yet again, making the instantly famous and ungracious “Errr” comment on Facebook in relation to news that Taiwan was donating medical masks to Singapore.


Apparently this was because Taiwan had placed an export embargo on medical masks made by ST Engineering in that country. However the fault really lies with her husband’s Government. Given Singapore’s previous experience with SARS why did the Government not establish production lines in Singapore and putting all the eggs in their basket in Taiwan? Why was Ho Ching as CEO of ST Engineering’s parent not insisting they manufacture part of their output in SIngapore. The whole episode is just another example of the incompetence of our elected and unelected leaders.

Any suggestion that Ho Ching’s comment was accidental or unintentional was dispelled two days later. She edited her post to say a “huge thank you” to “all our friends and friends of friends in Taiwan” but also used a post about a Singaporean mother’s gratitude to Taiwan for looking after her son to share a crude anti-Tsai and pro-Chinese propaganda video.

This prompted a Taiwanese news channel to run a story on the controversy where they apparently mentioned Ho Ching’s salary as being $100 million a year (presumably USD so roughly S$143 million a year):

I do not know where they got their figure from and am using my Taiwanese contacts to get in touch to ask them for their source but S$140 million a year would be in-line with what I have previously estimated given my knowledge of remuneration in the hedge fund and private equity world, though somewhat on the low side. While her headline salary may be around $100 million or even substantially less she will likely have money in the long term bonus pool that could run into billions of dollars.

Contrast Ho Ching’s reported $140 million a year, on which she probably pays little or no tax) with the less than $1 million a year earned by the head of Norway’s much larger State Pension Fund, Yet the performance of the Fund (which is totally transparent about its holdings) has been much better than Temasek’s during Ho Ching’s tenure as CEO.

Since 2009 I have led practically a one-man crusade for transparency at our sovereign wealth funds and for Ho Ching’s remuneration to be made public. Here are some of the links below to articles dating back to 2015 where I questioned why her pay is a state secret:

https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2015/03/20/will-the-taxpayer-end-up-subsidizing-ho-chings-bonus/

https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2019/07/04/why-ho-ching-must-declare-her-salary/

https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2019/05/20/how-many-more-years-will-go-by-before-we-learn-how-much-the-lees-have-paid-themselves-while-in-public-office/

https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2018/11/07/should-pm-lee-be-forced-to-reimburse-the-taxpayer-for-his-wifes-earnings-at-temasek/

https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2015/06/25/singaporeans-would-be-doubly-angry-if-they-knew-how-much-singtels-ceo-was-really-getting/

https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2019/07/17/why-temasek-as-a-vehicle-to-allow-the-lees-to-secretly-extract-money/

Finally the rest of the world has started to take notice and even Singaporeans are starting to cotton on, particularly after I pushed Sylvia Lim and the Workers Party to ask questions in Parliament. The only reason the first couple are able to get away with paying themselves and their cronies obscene amounts out of public funds is because Singaporeans are kept in a state of ignorance. If Lee Hsien Loong refuses to give us the information we have a right to know (including his wife’s remuneration, the state of the reserves and whether our CPF is still safe) Singaporeans need to vote out this Government and replace it with a new one. At the very least ensure that at least 34% of MPs are proper and not fake Opposition. If they do not then they have no excuses.

4 Comments »

  1. I didn’t understand why voters didn’t push you into Parliament. You have the training and experience to pry open their secret vaults, bust their myths once and for all. You are definitely a formidable opposition, in my opinion. Parliament will be extremely vibrant if you make your presence known. Hope voters don’t miss your out on your talents and more importantly, your vision for a more accountable and transparent Singapore. Excellent job. Excellent arguments.

    Like

  2. Brother! we need you in Parliament as soon as possible, sincerely we hope this time you get a seat to put wrong doers acts to be punished! Our Best Wishes To You for the coming election next month May’2020.

    Like

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