Singaporean Ingrates Who Don’t Appreciate PAP Ministers, Spouses and Relatives Working Selflessly on Their Behalf for (Almost) Nothing Will Be Sued till Their Pants Drop! You Show Them Josephine!
Singaporeans are an ungrateful lot! Unlike Foreign Talents and Western media who have been singing the praises of our Indivisible and Eternal Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Goh) for the last fifty years and telling us that we have the best Government in the world (after all Lee Kuan Yew created a gleaming metropolis out of a mangrove swamp in less than 6 days-in fact in the 1920s Singapore already had the highest per capita income in Asia), some Singaporeans (at least 30% or maybe 50% if you exclude new citizens beholden to the PAP) do not seem to appreciate the huge sacrifices that our talented Ministers and their spouses and relatives who occupy the top jobs in Ministries, the Civil Service, statutory boards, agencies, MAS, Temasek, GIC and the vast network of state-owned companies that comprises up to 70% of Singapore’s economy. These churlish ingrates do not seem to appreciate how lucky they are to even have a place to live since our Government owns 70% of the land and generously permits our citizens to pay “market”(not much of a market when the state owns all the land and can set the price anywhere it wants by restricting supply) prices for a 99 year rental.
The PAP elite’s sense of entitlement was on full display in Josephine Teo’s decision yesterday to send lawyers’ letters to two ordinary Singaporeans, activist Jolovan Wham and someone called Donald Liew over his allegations that “Mrs Teo had improperly benefited herself and her family financially, as a result of her mismanagement of the dormitory infections relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the development of emergency housing facilities by infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong.“
At the same time Surbana issued a statement saying “These allegations are not only untrue, they are disrespectful of our colleagues who have made enormous sacrifices, including putting their health at risk, to deliver the projects under challenging conditions, for the benefit of our community.” Immediately I felt an enormous surge of gratitude towards Josephine’s hubby. Not only is he working for (almost) nothing in a very demanding role but he is risking his life on a daily basis, not sitting in an office or centrally air-conditioned landed property, putting together quarantine facilities with his bare hands to house large numbers of Covid-infected migrant workers. Never mind that his wife’s incompetence or callousness as Manpower Minister towards the living conditions of migrant workers led to a situation where the dormitories were like a vast Petri dish. Clearly he is a living saint, like US ex-President Jimmy Carter, who into his 80s worked building houses for the homeless.
I would like to nominate some of the other members of Surbana’s board for Humanitarian of the Year, in particular Yaacob Ibrahim, the ex-Minister of Communications and Information. This selfless individual has achieved much in spite of or rather because of the Covid Pandemic. In fact with the help of the virus he was able to clear a whole field of migrant workers thus pleasing his constituents and presumably ensuring his re-election.
It is no doubt technically correct that Josephine Teo played no role in the selection of her husband as the number 2 or 3 in Surbana Jurong. No doubt there is no smoking gun just as I am sure that there is nothing that directly implicates Lee Hsien Loong in the selection of his wife to be head of Temasek. However the way in which PAP ex-Ministers, their spouses and relatives are so frequently at the top of Government-owned companies or appointed to lucrative roles cannot be explained by randomness alone even if one allows for the influence of qualifications which frequently are at worst mediocre, at best average, whether one looks at Mrs Lee’s CV or Mr Teo’s. The PM and his Ministers may shout “meritocracy” to explain why they should bag all the top prizes for their families but this looks increasingly threadbare. Even the Seat Warmer-in-Waiting, Heng Swee Keat, only got a Second Class degree from Cambridge.
Furthermore these people keep their jobs seemingly regardless of performance. Ho Ching (whose salary remains a state secret which no one in the Government appears to know and which is defended by the use of POFMA even though the Government maintains Temasek is a “private” company) has kept her job through the financial crisis of 2008-09 and despite many high questionable investment decisions such as to take Olam private at a premium when the company would likely have gone bankrupt. Her job at Temasek is apparently so easy and that she can spend all day on her Facebook account apart from when she accompanies her husband on state visits. In other countries the spouse of a MInister or PM would normally have to pay their own travel expenses unless her or his presence was in the national interest.
There is an interesting parallel with the UK PM. He was reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct by the Opposition (in Singapore there is no independent agency to report Lee Hsien Loong to since the CPIB is part of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Director reports to him) over his relationship with an American entrepreneur who received public money while he was mayor of London. On Thursday the UK Independent Office of Police Conduct decided after a long delay that Boris Johnson would not face a criminal investigation.
The Financial Times said:
The IOPC said it had found no evidence to indicate that Mr Johnson influenced the payment of any sponsorship moneys to Ms Arcuri or that he influenced or played an active part in securing her participation in trade missions. But it added: “There was evidence to suggest that those officers making decisions about sponsorship monies and attendance on trade missions thought that there was a close relationship between Mr Johnson and Ms Arcuri, and this influenced their decision-making. ”
No one can doubt that employing people connected with the PAP, and in particular spouses and relatives of Ministers, is seen as a smart move even if there is no evidence the Ministers concerned directly influenced the recruitment process. Before he fell out with his brother, Lee Hsien Yang was appointed CEO of SingTel and then later Chairman of Fraser & Neave before he returned to the state sector as head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
But while recruitment of people in the private sector may be more of a private matter, even though companies should be subject to anti-discrimination legislation, it is inexcusable that state companies (which are responsible for as much as 70% of the economy) should make decisions based on people’s political connections and who they are related to.
The shameless narcissists in the PAP, including Josephine Teo truly believe that Singaporeans should pay homage to them as performing some selfless public service and sacrifice when the reality is that their hands are always out for handouts from the public purse.They even ensure that their children take a disproportionate share of Government scholarships which should go to the needy, thus putting their offspring on an accelerated path to million dollar salaries. In my view the only politician who truly sacrificed himself for Singapore was my father whom Lee Hsien Loong and his Ministers worked assiduously to bankrupt and to deny him the ability to earn a living.
Rather than show her true colours as a bully, in the mould of her mentor the PM, Josephine Teo and the other Ministers should provide evidence to demonstrate that their spouses, children and relatives truly earned their positions in Government-owned or linked companies on merit through an open recruitment process that was not influenced by who they were related to. An interesting experiment, rather like those that have been done in the US to prove discrimination, would be to enter their CVs under false names and see if they survived the initial sifting or fell by the wayside. Like the sheep in Animal Farm which set up a tremendous bleating of “Four Legs Good Two legs Bad” and later “Four Legs Good Two Legs Better” whenever anyone dared to timidly criticise the pigs, the PAP similarly shout their critics down with cries of meritocracy and threats of lawsuits. Singaporeans need to wise up before GE2020 and realise they have been played.