Non-existent transparency breeds mistrust

A lackey of Temasek has responded to a pertinent letter about its feast-and-famine approach to things by not only listing platitudes and the obvious but a cover-all phrase that obscures:

“We also don’t manage government surpluses, the official foreign reserves, or CPF savings.”

Someone could ask so what are the ‘unofficial’ foreign reserves that you may be dabbling with?

From the original letter as discussed in the previous post (Lack of transparency and accountability: the feast-and-famine approach) :

“As public monies are involved, the public needs greater accountability and clarity on how the country’s surplus funds are being managed to get the maximum returns within acceptable risk parameters.”

Said lackey justifies his paymaster’s position with:

“Overall, we are comfortable that we have a resilient portfolio, which can deliver over various market cycles.”

Like hell.

From the Temasek website:

“In addition, as a key institution in Singapore, Temasek is also designated a Fifth Schedule entity under the Singapore Constitution, with certain safeguards to protect its past reserves. For instance, any transaction which is likely to result in a draw of Temasek’s past reserves is also subject to the approval of the President. The right to appoint, terminate or renew board members is subject to the concurrence of the President of Singapore.”

Why is this so?

Does this not show that there is direct governmental and national impact where what happens in Temasek is concerned and who is appointed there?

In other words, to those still thinking and questioning: this is a matter of public interest.

On Incompetence:

“Temasek’s 2006 acquisition of Shin Corporation, owned by the family of then Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was particularly controversial, with protestors burning effigies of [Mr] Lee and [Madame] Ho on the streets of Bangkok. The deal was a factor in exacerbating the Thai political crisis, which eventually led to the downfall of Thaksin and a review of the transaction’s legality. The military junta that overthrew Thaksin, later tried unsuccessfully to force Temasek to divest a large part of its investment in Shin Corp. As of 2015, Temasek’s stake in Intouch Corporation (as Shin Corporation was renamed) had reduced to 42%.

Fortune magazine described the investment in Shin Corp as a ‘spectacular misjudgment.’

In 2016, Temasek sold a 21% stake in Intouch Holdings, the Thai telecoms conglomerate formerly known as Shin Corp.”

From the Ministry of Finance:

“It is the size of the Government’s funds managed by GIC that are not published. What has been revealed is that GIC manages well over US$100 billion. Revealing the exact size of assets that GIC manages will, taken together with the published assets of MAS and Temasek, amount to publishing the full size of Singapore’s financial reserves

It is not in our national interest to publish the full size of our reserves.”

Citizens with common sense will understand the point about GIC but why are the salaries and bonuses of certain elites then a state secret?

This is not just about how the money is managed (which is crucial) but why so much remains festering in the dark.

Lack of transparency is now a hallmark of Singapore governance which is not helped by the Incompetence of top meritocrats.

Time to shine a light within The System.

Sanjay Perera

*Writer, and founding editor of Philosophers for Change. First posted at: Facebook; related post: Transparency is the way to earn trust. For a collection of related posts: Kafkaville.

(Sources: Temasek too conservative?

Temasek FAQs

MOF: What comprises the reserves and who manages them?

Temasek Holdings)

[Picture: AdobeStock.]

 

 

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12 Responses to “Non-existent transparency breeds mistrust”

  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    The people are considered a herd of Dafts that needs Spurs on their Hides to MOVE them into action so says a Bastard who murdered his own by the tens of thousands through his LEEgal ABORTION to rid these herd of Daft created by lesser Mortals …

    Unlike his Breed of White Horses that at worse Breed greys…

    The BREED at Termesek and their entities are supposedly well-bred stock from the Stallion who also breeds Freaks are in CONTROL of the Herd of Dafts that needs Spurs on their Hides that I call Sheep…

    Destroy this Breed of Evil Donkeys and we may see the Light of Day again

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  • My Thoughts:

    Has got to ask “KongHee” why the needs for such big wide loops of 2 Pte Ltd and exempting themselves on accountability for fake news?

    Let’s ponder a scenario plot – LT takes over, the money [portion] suddenly becomes Pte Ltd, and unaccountable/disappeared in thin air, holding everyone to ransom? LT becomes handicapped like Neighbor situation, affecting his leadership and control?

    Could it be impossible, I ask? But, Politics are so bloody dirty as history has shown. Let’s hope “NOT” turns into bloody HK mess.

    You can’t blame anyone from such speculation OK, because of such lacking in transparency / clarity.

    You see what had ignited my speculation – Husband Up wife collect [with committees recommendation/help] – unnecessary speculation on conflict of interests isn’t it – one of them must automatically resign for the benefits of Sound Integrity and Uprightness, I say, for Singapore goodness, you ought to do it.

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  • oxygen:

    BRILLIANT writing, Sanjay.

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  • Longan Prostate:

    Questions about transparency, GIC TH have been asked since three decades ago.

    Do we see what is the issue?

    The issue is the Singaporeans don’t show they want to know especially the 70%.

    Articles have been published long ago asking and asking.

    Do we see that articles have no effect ?

    Something NEW has to be tried.

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  • Haigen-Diaz:

    Sanjay Perera:
    On Incompetence:
    “Temasek’s 2006 acquisition of Shin Corporation, owned by the family of then Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was particularly controversial, with protestors burning effigies of [Mr] Lee and [Madame] Ho on the streets of Bangkok. The deal was a factor in exacerbating the Thai political crisis, which eventually led to the downfall of Thaksin and a review of the transaction’s legality. The military junta that overthrew Thaksin, later tried unsuccessfully to force Temasek to divest a large part of its investment in Shin Corp. As of 2015, Temasek’s stake in Intouch Corporation (as Shin Corporation was renamed) had reduced to 42%.

    Temasek adopts a series of control enhancing tools. They include: in absolute control, pyramiding structure, golden shares, increasing control of parent company, influence on a third party and Use of Nominees.

    This mechanism ‘Use of Nominees’ is applied especially by Temasek when investing in foreign countries. A few investments in foreign countries made by Temasek are controversial. Of particular was Temasek’s acquisition of Shin Corporation, which was owned by the family of then Thai Prime Minister, in 2006. The deal exacerbated the Thai political crisis and eventually led to the step-down of the Thai Prime Minister.

    Temasek‟s cash flow rights in total over Shin Corporation were 75.8% and control rights were 41.8% (the Cypress link was not considered since Cypress was not the largest shareholder of Cedar, which owned a majority stake in Shin Corporation).

    In fact, the controversial point was the identity of the individual controlling shareholder of Kularb Kaew, Mr. Surin Upatkoon. Kularb Kaew was defined as a nominee company according to the revised Foreign Business Act of Thailand and Mr. Surin Upatkoon was a nominee of Temasek. If considering Mr. Surin Upatkoon as a nominee of Temasek, Temasek then held 92.6% cash flow rights and 87% control rights in Shin Corporation.

    https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2007/09/27/surin-i-will-answer-thai-police-charges/

    https://asiancorrespondent.com/2007/10/selective-prosecutions-and-shin/

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  • Dun Bluff:

    Does 70% really exist? if they do, then singapore education must be one of the worst in the world to create a nation of idiots. Unbelievably stupid and brainless.

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  • Scary:

    Re Sporean education creating a nation of
    unbelievably stupid pple.
    Its hard to disagree with this when you
    listen to pple. They just simply agree w
    the govt even as all around them real life
    contradicts what is being said.
    We have also bred a bunch of clueless,
    very fearful pple who look like they will
    believe Any rubbish they’re told — and
    who have been doing so.
    No wonder people want to hire foreigners.
    The locals just cant and dont Think!!

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  • UniQ:

    When people’s rightfully earned blood monies are involved, which their livelihood or even very existence of being a human is being snatched, its legitimate for the people to know where their monies are ?

    Why would they pay such high price on public housing and interest rates beyond saving rates ?

    Why would they pay so high for medicare and even forked out cash when there are substantial sums in their accounts ?

    Why would there be tax for basic essentials like water, salt, rice, etc ?

    Why is public utility rates ever increasing and comparatively hundreds of folds beyond our neighbouring countries ? which we do not have natural disasters to repair them or as reserve during crisis ?

    Why would any government ‘locked’ away the people blood monies and depict how it shall be spent, when the people are already suffering from all the wrong policies employed ? Where are the trusts ?

    Worst of all, the people are seeing public servants are being paid extremely handsomely (in Millions of the people’s Monies). How would you expect the people to swallow such indignities ?

    Basically, the above are some of the pulses any normal Sinkies would experience everyday at the office, during social gatherings, etc. Unless, you have the voted and entrusted people that are not even interested in the job that they are voted in to serve, I don’t see why the people should continue down this choice in the next GE.

    Go Figure.

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  • Greed with Sin.:

    Does this not show that there is direct governmental and national impact where what happens in Temasek is concerned and who is appointed there?

    In other words, to those still thinking and questioning: this is a matter of public interest. Y that bast**d b*t*h dare not declare her salary? Her husband getting 3hudred over million per annual. so she must have taken thousand over million per annual.Her saalry can supress her husband. The Ashamn (LKY) kenna con.

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  • Singaporean Kong Come:

    @Scary:All this stupid, daft cum Asia sickman, they R yaya papaya,they thnk they R smarter than U. waiting others people to give goodies to them. That $8 bypass minister said, those has less CPF is lazy, is true. these stupid n daft pretender R self contended. so I advise U not to anyhow trst all these bast**d Singaporean. They rather exchang their worth few hundred $$$$$ votes in exchange for small goodies.

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  • On overloaded hypocrites:

    See, sons, what things you are,
    How quickly nature falls into revolt
    When gold becomes her object.
    (Shakespeare)

    “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not turn to the proud, nor to those who worship false gods.”
    - Psalms of David 40:4

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  • Sinkie:

    @ Sanjay Perera

    It would be more germane if the price Temasek paid for ShinCorp (which was 49.25 Baht) is given and Shin’s share price at the bottom (between 15 & 16 Baht)… a paper loss of more than 2/3. The price TH paid to Thaksin was so attractive that TH landed up with 96% of Shincorp (according to the Star newspaper link given by Haigen Diaz. (Just showed how inept TH was!)

    Under Thai listing rules, a party is not allowed to hold more than 85% (or could it be 90%?) & TH had to off-load around 10% of its holdings at a huge loss.

    I lost track of the development as Shincorp changed name to Intouch, which I believe its share price has risen after Yingluck became PM.

    Anyway, the Shincorp saga is not that important……….think of TH’s huge realised loss on Merrill Lynch taken over by BoA.

    However, there is more any critic can make of the TH’s letter in the ST……..such as the paper loss on Bayer which is current & shows up the deficiencies, if not failures of TH…………….I’ll let others do the writing.

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