“Meritocracy” Triumphs Yet Again as Josephine Teo’s Husband Is Snapped Up by Another GLC
State media mouthpiece TODAY announced on Monday that Josephine Teo’s husband, Teo Eng Cheong, had been appointed as the head of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and Investment Development Co (SSTEC). Strangely they omitted to mention his connection to the Manpower Minister, Josephine Teo.
SSTEC is a 50-50 joint venture between Singapore and China, with Keppel representing SIngapore. The actual corporate structure and business model is unsurprisingly opaque. Keppel Corporation was one of Temasek’s earliest subsidiaries and was listed in 1975. Temasek reduced its shareholding to just above 20% though. while remaining the biggest shareholder, and last year made a partial offer to take majority control but pulled out when Keppel breached one of the pre-conditions. However Temasek’s and the Government’s influence over Temasek is much greater than its 20% shareholding would suggest. Its Chairman, Lee Boon Heng, is a former Minister and its board is packed with former MPs and civil servants who hold directorships at other Temasek Group companies.
Josephine Teo’s husband was last in the news when he resigned abruptly and unexpectedly as CEO of Surbana Jurong after Parti Liyani, the foreign domestic worker who was employed by Surbana’s Chairman, Liew Mun Leong, was acquitted in September 2020. The shockwaves from that judgement claimed the scalp of Liew Mun Leong. Curiouser and curiouser, to use a phrase appropriate to the PAP’s looking glass world where greed is self sacrifice and meritocracy is appointing your relatives and spouses to gorge at the public trough, was the resignation of Teo Eng Cheong a few days before the judgement was officially announced. ( I wrote about it in The Curious Case of Josephine Teo’s Husband’s Resignation from Surbana Two Days Before Liew’s Maid Was Acquitted)
I said there that there were important questions to be answered that were brushed under the carpet with Teo’s resignation. Parti had made a complaint to MOM about illegal deployment in 2017. This was resolved in 2018 with MOM only issuing a caution to Mrs Liew and an advisory to Karl, who as the black sheep of the family seems to have accepted the role of fall guy for his dad. I questioned why Mr Liew, as the employer was not prosecuted (which would have resulted in him being forced to step down as Chair of Surbana). I also pointed out the egregious conflict of interest in the fact that Josephine Teo was Second Manpower Minister from May 2017 and full Minister from May 2018 and thus would have been in a position to influence any decision as to what action to take in the case of Parti’s illegal deployment. At the same time Liew Mun Leong was the Chairman and thus in a position to decide her husband’s position and remuneration.
While it cannot be proven that Teo Eng Cheong’s resignation was directly linked to the Parti Liyani case, it certainly looks like it. It also begs the question as to why there were no repercussions for Josephine Teo. Any interruption to the power couple’s star earning power from public funds was short-lived however as Mr Teo has bounced right back landing not only on his feet but with his mouth connected once more to the overflowing teat of the Government cash cow. I hasten to add that this cash cow of inflated salaries and perks is only for PAP Ministers, MPs, spouses, relatives and assorted cronies and hangers-on.
This gushing state cornucopia is in stark contrast to the austerity inflicted on ordinary Singaporeans in the name of preventing welfarism and the lies and subterfuge about the reserves. I remember Goh Chok Tong in a National Geographic documentary from some fifteen or twenty years ago saying that JBJ had to be crushed because he advocated greater welfare for the people.
Furthermore, as everyone knows from my father’s fate and that of other dissidents like impoverished blogger Roy Ngerng, if you dare to oppose the PAP the Government will do its best to use its totalitarian control over the economy and society to deny you the means of making a living. Goh Chok Tong even took to Facebook recently to taunt me on my brother’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Reading between the lines, his post was clearly meant to highlight the rewards of not criticising the PAP and a warning of what will happen to you if you do.
From the PM’s appointment of his wife as CEO of Temasek, on a secret remuneration that is rumoured to be $100 million p.a. and her occupation of the post for sixteen years despite mistakes that would have seen a private sector CEO dismissed a long time ago to countless other examples of PAP couples and relatives with mediocre qualifications occupying top positions, even the pretence of meritocracy has been abandoned.