Singapore Media Watch

Friday, December 15, 2006

Will Temasek CEO do likewise to avoid possible conflict of interest?

I read with concern the article in The Straits Times of 7 Dec 2006, "NCSS concerned over possible conflict of interest".

This is followed by Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society's (THKMS) revelation of its CEO's $7,100 pay package, "Charity tells why CEO gets salary of only $7,100" (ST, 13 Dec).

A reason cited for NCSS' concern was "the highest-ranking paid staff members are related to their boss..." - hence the "concerns over conflict-of-interest issues".

While I am glad that the NCSS and the Commissioner of Charities have taken precautionary measures to prevent such conflict-of-interest issues from potential abuse, will the government at the very top do likewise in another widely reported similar "reporting' structure (where "the highest-ranking paid staff member (is) related to (her) boss...") in Temasek's case where its CEO's boss is her husband, the Prime Minister?

I applaud the CEO of Food From The Heart (FFTH, another NCSS member identified in the article), Mrs Christine Laimer's stepping down after receiving the NCSS letter, "even though she firmly believes there is no conflict of interest at the charity". I believe this is the right move in order to totally avoid even any perceived conflict-of-interest. The challenge is for the CEO of Temasek to do likewise even though she too may firmly believe there is no conflict-of-interest.

As an aside, now that the salary package of the CEO of THKMS is made public (at $7,100 per month), will FFTH do likewise too in making public its CEO's pay? I note their operating cost came up to some $450,000 last year with a staff strength of six.


KAYE POH

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