Singapore Media Watch

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Nation: A question of misjudgment

Temasek's attempt to try and peddle influence in Thailand by hiring a former royal employee has backfired


The scandal involving former royal aide MR Tongnoi Tongyai, accused by HRH Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn's Personal Affairs Office of making false claims about his employment status to pursue his own business interests, is worrisome.

The idea that Tongnoi had the temerity to misrepresent himself as a former deputy principal private secretary to His Majesty the King and adviser to the Crown Prince to peddle influence has caused a damaging misunderstanding and public confusion.

On Saturday, the Prince's Personal Affairs Office issued a statement attacking Tongnoi and clarifying that he was no longer in the employ of the Royal Household. The statement described Tongnoi as "a cunning man and personally immoral".

Last Tuesday, Temasek Holdings of Singapore, which faces possible investigation for alleged improper use of nominees in a complex deal to take over Shin Corp from deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's family, announced that Tongnoi was to be appointed as chief adviser of the company's planned Thai office.

It was obvious Temasek had been seeking a connection with Tongnoi, believing his high standing and prestigious connections might be able to provide some sort of protection from current investigation by the Thai authorities.

A suit has been filed with the Supreme Administrative Court over whether the Information and Communications Ministry and the PM's Office should revoke the satellite and TV licence held by subsidiaries of Shin Corp as Temasek had breached the 49 per cent foreign ownership limit. (Read more...)

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