Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Plausible Revelation

She did not marry me and became Temasek Holdings' Chief Executive Officer. I married her because she had the talent of a CEO. This was the dramatic revelation of PM Lee Hsien Loong in referring to his wife, Ms Ho Ching, in an interview with Mr. Phil Ponce, host of the Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11 last Thursday. Apparently, this was said to pre-empt Mr. Ponce from popping the question of nepotism in the Singapore government.

At first glance, the startling revelation seems in order. But upon closer examination, it could hardly stand up to scrutiny. Like the Chinese saying: It simply breaks without being attacked (不攻自破)。 First of all, when did PM Lee first discover that Ms Ho Ching possessed CEO talent? Had she ever served under him before she married PM Lee so that her display of outstanding talent akin to that of a CEO in the course of her duty could not have been missed by the eagle-eyed PM Lee? If not, unless he had clairvoyant power and could have seen things where other people could not, it may seem a bit far-fetched for PM Lee to make that kind of claim.

If the claim of Ms Ho Ching being CEO-talented before her marriage to PM Lee is lacking in proof, then the question of nepotism in connection with her Temasek CEO's appointment as a corollary cannot simply be wished away. Singaporeans will be wondering whether, with her disastrous stewardship of Temasek Holdings involving colossal losses, Ms Ho Ching really has the talent for the post. The lack of accountability for these losses has not given confidence to Singaporeans, especially the taxpayers, that Temasek Holdings is in capable hands. The question uppermost in their mind, despite government's vehement denial, is whether Ms Ho Ching would have been appointed Temasek's CEO if she had not married PM Lee. This is still a moot point with Singaporeans.

The question of nepotism is not confined to Singaporeans. Singapore ministers going on official overseas assignments were often asked this question, maybe in a diplomatic way. Even the PM in American this time if he had not had the foresight to bring it up first. So in the world of politics, you can plead being above board in nepotism and corruption but you cannot completely eradicate cynicism shown by some of the sceptical citizens. And this can have a multiplying effect in certain circumstances.

Well, the die is cast. We will wait and see how the PAP will fare in the General Election which can be called as early as this year. They are likely to face a formidable realigned opposition with the avowed aim of denting the invincibility of the PAP.


Gary said...

It's not too difficult to see who wears the trousers at home. Remember a press report where he said he took charge of the IT while she is a handyman around the house! Which I thought was quite hilarious admission.

HC's track record as a CEO is at best checkered. She first made news about her CEO 'ability' when the Finance Minister announced in parliament the loss of over $200m in a deal involving an IT company called 'Micropolis'. The Finance Minister even stooped to saying that it was a 'minor' issue! See what happens when you are a member of the right family!

Collin Ng said...

Damn if he says; damn if he doesn't..., is having one party rule that bad for SIN? Are we actually facing crisis of sorts due to lack of strong opposition in the house? Support PM Lee or not, it depends on which side of the fence one is in, really. Imagine, having this Chee chap voted in and based on his pathetic records including going on sickening hunger strike, do we actually believe he can improve situation here as if PAP has done a bad job so far? Opposition yes, the credible types like Chiam or Low please. I am still weighing both far, one-party rule is not that bad either.

Alan Wan said...

I think PM Lee is trying to have the cake and eat it too.

Let’s say that his wife Ho Ching was really selected based on her capability which is the basis of what we called meritocracy.

And now that Temasek have suffered such a massive loss in its foreign investments for the last few years, does it prove that his wife as the current CEO of Temasek is a capable CEO or not, by any standards ?

So on the same token of meritocracy may I ask our PM Lee, why is it that his wife is not sacked for causing Temasek to suffer such a huge loss during her tenure ? Can he now defend that it was not a case of nepotism ?

Gary said...

Collin Ng,
Ghandi was a caricature going by your words about Chee -bare bodied, loin cloth, sandles and circular glasses.

One can see how little you have really thought the real issues. How can you tell what Chee and the rest of the opposition cannot do without evidence?

Conversely, LKY's spoke much about freedom when he accused the Brits of precisely the very same things he has perpetuated since coming into power. That's the proven evidence we of what he is capable of once, his track record.

Please take your phoney attitude elsewhere.

none said...

"I married her because she had the talent of a CEO."

Huh?? He married her for this and not because he wanted to bed her down?
What is this world coming to?

"...unless he had clairvoyant power and could have seen things where other people could not..."

Of course he has clairvoyant powers. He is after all his father's son:
"forecaster"..."clairvoyant". Don't you see the similarity?

Collin Ng said...

Noted your 'wisely' comments. To me, the highly revered Ghandi was a god-send to India whose hunger strike then was for the future of the nation. For Chee to mimic the great Ghandi is not only disgusting, simply outrageous to the core. Bottomline, he failed and failed miserably.

none said...

Saiz who???