Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Political Shadow-play

The late US President Abraham Lincoln once said :"You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Whether this saying is relevant in this case is for the informed Singaporeans to decide.

The Ho Ching saga has been the subject of speculation for politically-conscious Singaporeans since she was appointed as chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings more than six years ago. Although it was strongly speculated at the time that it was a political appointment (due to the fact that she was the wife of the then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong), Mr. Dhanabalan, Temasek's Chairman, vehemently denied it and maintained that she was appointed solely on her merits. The debatable question is would she have been appointed over other equally or more qualified candidates if she had not been the wife of DPM (now PM) Lee Hsien Loong?

Of course, Mr. Dhanabalan had such singular foresight of character and Ms. Ho Ching subsequently proved to be so efficient that she incurred losses of hundred of millions of dollars for Temasek, which has been well recorded. It was obvious that there could not have been any official inquisition for these losses. And so were they written off and was it taxpayers money?

Now after a prolonged period of honeymoon, there now seems to exist a change of heart. Ms Ho Ching has suddenly decided that she has rendered more than sufficient meritorious service to Temasek and is content to find someone to inherit the depleted Temasek portfolio. The lucky successor and the man of the hour is none other an American,a Mr. Charles W. Goodyear (not a fall guy), who is a former CEO of BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining and resources company based in Melbourne and London. He will take over officially on October 1.

Ms Ho Ching has not indicated any future plan but said she felt relieved, which is quite understandable considering her distinguished career. We wish her equally eminent success in any future endeavour.

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