Lee Kuan Yew on CPF

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1. LEE KUAN YEW on CPF:

“This is your wealth, the savings of people in individual accounts are not government reserves.”

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Screenshot: LKY’s Speech | Page 13

Source: Speech by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, at The Fullerton Square Rally on 19 December 1984 (NAS)

2. BOARD OF DIRECTORS on GIC:

GIC is a sovereign wealth fund (i.e. government-owned investment fund) established by the Government of Singapore in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign reserves. GIC and Temasek Holdings are the soverign wealth funds owned by the Government of Singapore.

GIC’s Corporate Gorvernance page states that “the government holds the GIC board accountable for portfolio performance, but does not interfere in the company’s investment decisions.”

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Screenshot: GIC Corporate Governance (1 Aug 2015)

The page goes on to list the GIC’s Board of Directors.

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Some of GIC’s Board of Directors | Source: GIC

How is the government supposed to “not interfere in GIC’s investment decisions” when government members such as the Prime Minister and several Ministers are on the GIC’s Board of DIrectors?

Is the Prime Minister not supposed to discuss GIC and Temasek Holdings with his wife, Ms. Ho Ching, who has been the CEO of Temasek Holdings since 2004 and is the world’s 59th most powerful female according to Forbes?

As Roy Ngerng says in a recent blog post:

“Can the GIC claim not to have any regard to the sources of funds it receives if the government also sits on the GIC’s board of directors?

Can the GIC claim not to know if it is using Singaporeans’ CPF to invest?”

(Source: Roy Ngerng / The Mysterious Circumstances of How GIC was Formed)

3. OTHER PERSPECTIVES:

A modest selection of commentaries on CPF.

a) Leong Sze Hian

I thought it may be in the public interest, to try to summarise some of the questions on CPF that Roy Ngerng and others have been asking.

  • Is there any other country in the world that keeps so much of the returns from the national pension fund – from the people?
  • Is it true that since 1999, the CPF had the lowest real rate of return amongst all national pension schemes in the world?
  • . . .Does it mean that we may have lost [about] 84 per cent of our total CPF funds of $151.3 billion in 2008 (CPF Trends, October 2013) in just one year?

(Source: Leong Sze Hian – What are Roy’s Questions about the CPF?)

b) Roy Ngerng / CPF Blogger

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Roy Painting | Source: SG Daily / FB

i) “DEMAND FOR TRANSPARENCY: What are the losses that GIC and Temasek Holdings have made since their inception? What have they done to manage the losses? How much “capital” has the government injected into the GIC and Temasek Holdings since their inception? Where does this additional “capital” come from?”
(Source: Roy Ngerng / 30 June 2014)

ii) As most Singaporeans would know by now, our CPF is being taken by the PAP to be invested in the Temasek Holdings and GIC. In 2008, Temasek Holdings lost $58 billion, which is equal to 40% of the value of our CPF (Chart 76). When this money is lost, who has to pay off the loss and the debt? It’s not them.

Short Version: When The PAP Started Turning Against Singaporeans

Video Version: When The PAP (Video)

iii) “This is the top viewed article on my blog and has been viewed more than 550,000 times. Many Singaporeans are angry because: the government said that since we borrowed our own pension funds to buy housing and they cannot pay us the interest on the money withdrawn, when we sell our homes, we will have to pay back this interest into the pension funds. This is possibly the article which started the government watching me.”

Article: Truth Exposed: The Dirty CPF-HDB Scheme To Trick Singaporeans

Video Version: Truth Exposed (Video)

iv) “This is my second attempt after I got sued, to trace how the government has been taking our pension funds to earn and use since the 1980s.”

Article: What PAP Has Done to Your CPF (The Real History)

v) “The Rothschild family used to control large swaths of the banking industry in Europe and effectively controlled their governments. In 1982, the PAP started working with them.”

Article: How the PAP Started Turning against Singaporeans from the Mid-1980s

c) Phillip Ang

i) PM Lee’s famous words which I think Singaporeans will now find them hard to believe: “Never forget that we are servants of the people. Always maintain a sense of humility and service.
(Phillip Ang, 1 July 2015)

ii) “The total balance of our CPF is not $282 million but $282 BILLION. GIC should not be allowed to continue managing our CPF without providing a proper set of accounts as it would be logical to suspect something’s not right.”
(Phillip Ang, 30 June 2015)

iii) “There wasn’t a whisper heard in Parliament on the CPF issue until Roy came along. And what’s more outrageous – PM Lee did nothing because he had probably assumed zero transparency and zero accountability did not matter, as during his father’s time.”
(Phillip Ang, 4 July 2015)

d) Christopher Balding

i) “The claimed 17% earned by Temasek in SGD belongs to the people of Singapore who provided the public surpluses and capital investment to build companies.”
(Christopher Balding, The Real CPF Scam)

ii) “I have said many times that if I am wrong, it is easy to prove me wrong with very simple and data that should have no reason to be secret. They could easily prove me wrong if the truth was on their side. It isn’t. I know it and they know it.”
(Christopher Balding, In Singapore: Truth is No Defense)

e) Kenneth Jeyaretnam

“GIC has confirmed what I wrote that in fact GIC’s funding comes from CPF. They say so here: GIC, along with MAS, manages the proceeds from the Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) that are issued and guaranteed by the government which CPF board has invested in with the CPF monies.
(Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Exposing the Problems with CPF / March 2015)

f) Chee Soon Juan

“PM LHL’s proposal to return retirees 20 percent of their savings upon retirement does nothing to resolve the problem of inadequate CPF funds. This move is symptomatic of Mr Lee’s leadership – trying to appease the public while sticking to unjustified, and unjustifiable, policies.
(Chee Soon Juan / SDP / February 2015)

g) Martyn See

“There are over 450 comments to this open letter titled DEAR CPF: GIVE ME BACK MY MONEY!, virtually all of which support the writer’s plea. Many also describe their personal stories of financial struggle. There is no better way to understand the lives of the working class Singaporean than to start here.”

Excerpts: Compiled by Martyn See (FB)

Saw Phaik Hwa, Former SMRT CEO

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* Thanks to SGClub Forum for the images.

A few choice excerpts on Ms. Saw Phaik Hwa, former CEO of SMRT.

1) “The rot really started with the appointment of Ms. Saw Phaik Hwa as CEO. Her only experience was in the retail business and she knew next to nothing in the running of SMRT and its maintenance. She was however successful in making hugh profits for the shareholders, especially Temasek Holdings, mainly through rentals of SMRT properties and for a time she was able to ride high in the organisation.

It’s amazing that the Government had not learned from the bitter lesson of Ms. Saw Phaik Hwa. The point is as long as the SMRT is privatised and profit-oriented, the poor and unfortunate commuters will suffer from frequent rail breakdowns, not excluding massive disruptions.”
(Source: Singapore Recalcitrant)

2) [Saw joined SMRT] in December 2002. Her appointment raised eyebrows then as her background was mainly in retail and marketing, and she had no experience whatsoever in running a public transport business.

In early 2002, she was retrenched when the global airport retailer [DFS] consolidated its businesses. She then started her own consultancy business in international retail before applying for the SMRT job. “I didn’t have to learn to be a CEO, all I needed was to learn a new trade,” she says matter of factly.
(Source: AsiaOne, 2011)

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3) When asked to describe her management style, Saw quips: “My dream management style is not having to do anything.”
(Source: AsiaOne, 2011)

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Financial Information | Image from SMRT

4) “Since SMRT is a Temasek Holdings owned company, would Ho Ching herself have a say as to whom she appoints to head SMRT as CEO? Can anyone verify whether Ho Ching is good friends with Saw Phaik Hwa on a personal basis?”
(Source: travelbug)

5) Saw, who lives in a landed property off Lornie Road and owns two luxury cars, a Ferrari California and Mercedes-Benz 500, earned $1.85 million in 2010. She also said she had earned her right to spend. . .on her million-dollar pay package, she said, “the package is benchmarked to the job that I do. . .and the pay is not top-end. It’s not top-end.”
(Source: Yahoo, 2012)

6) YouTube video of Ms. Saw with 8 Hunks. Video creator says: “Shouldn’t the profits from SMRT go towards helping the old and needy in Singapore, rather than spending it on a meaningless annual dinner?”

All in the FamiLee

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Associated words used by netizens: FamiLEE, LEE-gime, LEEgalised corruption, LEEgacy, and Marry-tocracy.

I was very curious about a Lee Family Tree graphic that was created by Alternative View SG.

I have gathered some excerpts from reliable sources which verify most of the family ties in this Lee Family Tree image.

If readers know of any inaccuracies, please contact me to verify the data. Thank you :)

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* SECTION 1: RUMOURS AND SPECULATIONS

1) RUTH LEE = LKY’s Niece

Wong Kan Seng is married to Ruth Lee Hong Geok, who is rumoured to be the daughter of Lee Suan Yew (Lee Kuan Yew’s brother). If this is true, it makes Ruth Lee LKY’s niece.

Here are a couple of pictures of Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng:

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Wong Kan Seng with his wife, Ruth Lee Hong Geok. Image from Veritas.

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Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng. Image from RememberingLKY.

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Lee Kuan Yew extended family picture, taken on Chinese New Year’s Eve (1993). From LKY’s memoir, “The Man and His Ideas” (pg-246).

In the above picture taken in 1993, it looks like the woman to the right of Ho Ching is Shermay Lee (LKY’s niece). Her parents are Pamelia Lee and Lee Suan Yew, who have four children.

In a Straits Times interview, Shermay Lee said she has an older sister and younger twin brothers. (Note: I am guessing these younger twin brothers are in the 1993 black and white picture above, in front on the right.)

Pamelia Lee is standing and in the centre of the 1993 photo. Looking at this pictures makes me wonder if the woman to the left of Pamelia Lee is “Ruth Lee,” the older sister that Shermay referred to.

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* SECTION 2: VERIFIED BY RELIABLE SOURCES

This section contains excerpts and screenshots which verify the other family ties in the Lee Family Tree graphic.

1) HO SING = HO CHING’S Younger Brother

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Ho Ching (left; image from SI). Ho Sing (right; image from YTL).

A 2010 Today Online article mentioned that Ho Sing, then 44, is the brother of Temasek CEO Ho Ching.

Ho Sing has worked with several Singapore Technologies-affiliated companies. At YTL, Mr. Ho oversees a growing list of assets in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China and Japan.

Ho Ching was the CEO of Singapore Technologies Group from 1997-2001. A 2007 NYT article mentioned that a Temasek spokesman was unwilling to reveal Ho Ching’s age or date of birth, although a Temasek bond document in 2005 said she was 52.

As the following netizen says: “I don’t understand why all the secrecy.”

2) HO PENG = HO CHING’S Younger Sister

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Ho Peng. Image from ST.

A 2005 Fortune Magazine interview mentioned that Ho Peng, who was then working as the Curriculum Planning and Development director at the Ministry of Education (Singapore), is Ho Ching’s sister.

Ms. Ho Peng was appointed Director-General of Education in April 2009. She retired from the MOE in March 2015.

3) GRACE FU = DAUGHTER OF JAMES FU

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James Fu was Mr. LKY’s press secretary from 1972 to 1993.

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Grace Fu. Image from Wiki.

Grace Fu, senior minister of state, is the daughter of James Fu.

In 2012, she wrote about the difficulties of “the recent pay cut” in ministers’ salaries. With a 37% pay cut, entry-level ministers would get an annual salary starting from S$1,100,000.

4) KWA CHONG SENG = NEPHEW OF LKY’S WIFE

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Kwa Chong Seng. Image from PSC.

Kwa Chong Seng, PSC member, was the Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited from 1997 to 2012.

“It was in the immediate wake of the HPL affair of 1996 that LKY initiated a series of changes to the relationship between the DCAC and the GLCs — changes that were part of a broader overhaul of the financial sector that finally came to fruition in 1999. Lee Hsien Loong as Deputy Prime Minister was given special responsibility for this project and set about changing the structure — and the personnel — in the GLC sector.

This activity marked a major shift of institutional power away from Goh and Richard Hu and to members of the Lee family and a few Lee loyalists. First the power to appoint board members and non-executive directors of GLCs was transferred from the DCAC to Temasek holdings.

This is significant because it occured around the same time (1996) that LKY loyalist S. Dhanabalan was appointed Chairman of Temasek Holdings and LKY’s wife’s nephew, Kwa Chong Seng, was appointed Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (1997).

It may be significant that at about the same time (1997) Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, was appointed Executive Director and CEO of the Singapore Technologies Group, which is the Temasek-owned holding company for defence-related GLCs.”

(Source: The Ruling Elite of Singapore, by Michael Barr)

5) KWA SOON BEE (LKY’s Brother-In-Law)

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Kwa Soon Bee. Image from KeppelLand.

“Many senior business figures in Asia are related to other prominent figures by blood or by marriage. The connections in Asia are often not obvious to outsiders but they can be a minefield for the unwary.

The mix of marriages and blood relations in Asia can make for some complex webs. Here are a few examples that involve some of Asia’s biggest business names:

Lee Kim Yew, Chairman of the Singapore food company Cerebos Pacific, is a brother of Singapore’s Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Kim Yew’s wife is Gloria Lee, the founder of one of Singapore’s most prominent stock brokerages Kim Eng Securities.

A third brother is Lee Suan Yew, a past director of Singapore’s Hotel Properties Ltd. His wife, Pamelia Lee, has been a senior director at the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. Kwa Soon Bee, the brother of Lee Kuan Yew’s wife Kwa Geok Choo, is a former permanent secretary of health and a member of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board.

Lee Kuan Yew’s sons Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang are deputy prime minister of Singapore and head of Singapore Telecom respectively. Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, is head of Temasek Holdings.”

(Source: Big in Asia, by Palgrave Macmillan / 2003)

6) TAN CHIN TUAN (OCBC Pioneer + Tony Tan’s Uncle + LKY’s Uncle-in-Law)

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Group Photograph of Founding Members of OCBC, 1932, showing Tan Chin Tuan (front row; fourth from left) and Kwa Siew Tee (back row; third from left). Source: Veritas / NAS.

  • Kwa Siew Tee is Lee Kuan Yew’s father-in-law.
  • Lee Kuan Yew’s mother-in-law, Wee Yew Neo and Banker Tan Chin Tuan’s wife, Helen Wee (a banker’s daughter), are half-sisters.
  • Which makes Tan Chin Tuan LKY’s uncle-in-law.
  • Tony Tan is Tan Chin Tuan’s nephew. Tony Tan was sworn in as President on 1 September 2011.

This is a picture of Kwa Siew Tee and Wee Yew Neo:

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President Yusof Ishak with Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew’s Parents, Kwa Siew Tee (left) and Wee Yew Neo (right), 1968. | Image from National Archives of Singapore.

This screenshot from Geni (a genealogy directory) states that Helen Wee and Wee Yew Neo are half-sisters.

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Wee Yew Neo. Image from Geni.

These screenshots show that Helen Wee was married to Tan Chin Tuan.

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Family of Tan Chin Tuan. Image from NLB.

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Tan Chin Tuan. Image from Geni.

According to the blog Veritas:

Without the Kwa family network of powerful families, it is questionable whether LKY could have emerged as the leader of the PAP in the 1950s, given that there were many other extremely capable and charismatic leaders in the party. The nexus of Kwa family probably also helped LKY to win the trust of the British, which handed over to him the control of security apparatus. That is the key with which LKY was able to arrest his political opponents.

7) TEO CHENG GUAN (father of DPM Teo Chee Hean):

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Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of SG.

Teo Cheng Guan was the sixth chairman of OCBC Bank, and the father of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

He was on the same management board as Tan Chin Tuan, Tony Tan’s uncle.

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* SECTION 3: SAY THE WORD AND GET SUED

Definition of “Nepotism”: The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. (Oxford)

A summary of how “nepotism” is a sensitive word in Singapore — including publications that were sued for alleging that high-ranking Singapore officials got their jobs through nepotism.

1) “Days after political website Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) revealed Mr Richard Wan as of one of its editors, lawyers acting for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued him a five-page letter in 2012, demanding that the website remove an opinion piece that contained comments which alleged “nepotistic motives” in the appointment of Lee’s wife as head of sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. After retracting the article, Wan published an apology on the website, and urged TRE readers to refrain from making similar comments.”
(Source: SG Rebel and Asia Sentinel)

2) “The problems created by Lee Kuan Yew’s urge to control most aspects of Singaporeans’ lives are more subtle than nepotism. Lack of political and economic freedom [is] the cancer at the heart of Singapore.”
(Source: WSJ)

3) “In its apology, Bloomberg said its article had implied that Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had put the Lee family’s interests above the country’s in allowing Ms. Ho’s appointment, and that her husband and father-in-law were guilty of nepotism. Lawyers for the three men accused Bloomberg and Mr. Smith of acting maliciously. The article has been removed from Bloomberg’s Web site and subscription service.”
(Source: NYT)

4) “The Financial Times has apologised and paid libel damages and costs to Singapore’s prime minister and the country’s founding father after accusing them of nepotism.”
(Source: Guardian)

5) “The International Herald Tribune apologised, settled the $678,000 in libel damages, and, as part of the settlement, [columnist] Bowring agreed that he would not say or imply that Lee Hsien Long took office through nepotism.”
(Source: Foreign Policy)

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* SECTION 4: IS NEPOTISM CORRUPTION?

According to Wikipedia:

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement.

Some other excerpts:

1) “Corruption comes in different forms and nepotism is one of its most subtle and overpowering forms. . .it marks the destruction of a meritocracy which should be the basis of admissions or employment. The problem with nepotism is even though only a few people in power have the ability to use nepotism for their own gain, its effects are widespread and affect many people.”
(Source: DNA)

2) “Favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism all interfere with fairness because they give undue advantage to someone who does not necessarily merit this treatment.

In the public sphere, favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism also undermine the common good. When someone is granted a position because of connections rather than because he or she has the best credentials and experience, the service that person renders to the public may be inferior.

Also, because favoritism is often covert (few elected officials are foolish enough to show open partiality to friends, and family), this practice undercuts the transparency that should be part of governmental hiring and contracting processes.”
(Source: Santa Clara University)

3) “When patronage, nepotism, and cronyism become popular mechanisms for government to select appointees for important positions, the corruption of collusion (i.e. conspiracy) will unavoidably take place.”
(Source: Government Anti-Corruption Strategies)

4) “There needs to be a change. Singapore is not the Lee Family and we need to get rid of the climate of fear.”
(Source: KJ in IB Times)

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* SECTION 5: CLOSING COMMENTS

Chris Ho on Nepotism:

“Is nepotism not considered corruption? Just consider: LKY’s son is PM, his other son was head of Singtel and is CEO of Civil Aviation Authority, his daughter-in-law is in charge of the sovereign wealth fund, his relative is President. I could go on but it is absolutely clear that the entire family benefited enormously from his ruthless control of the government. The gov lost 40% of the vote in the last election & yet still retains 82 out of 89 seats in parliament? Why? The electoral system has been gerrymandered & twisted to the ruling party’s benefit entirely corruptly. No corruption? Absolute rubbish & nonsense.”
(Source: Chris Ho)

Former ISD Director on PM LHL and Ho Ching:

“She did not marry me and become 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.
(Source: SG Recalcitrant)

Comment:

“You can see they all ‘kaki lang‘ (one of us) — damn jia lat (this is serious).”
(Source: breakaway)

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MORE INFO (re: the “wider” family tree):

1) Why It Might Be Difficult For The Government To Withdraw From Business
(Singapore-Window)

2) “The Lee Dynasty of Singapore”
(Comment)

3) The Beginning of The End of Lee Kuan Yew’s Dynasty?
(CSIS)