The Online Citizen

Temasek, “no regrets” for $6.8bn loss?

May 16
13:19 2009

From Gerald Giam’s blog:

While I believe Singaporeans accept that in all investments there will be ups and downs, Temasek and the government cannot hide behind this flimsy excuse for realising as large a loss as this. This is a national scandal! Where is the accountability? None whatsoever, it seems.

The CEO of the company is allowed to retire gracefully, saying she has “no regrets”. So what will cause you to leave with regrets, Ms Ho Ching? A $10 billion, or a $100 billion loss of our future generations’ money? Since Temasek is a wholly owned company of the Ministry of Finance, I don’t think they can just claim they are a private company that is accountable only internally.

The Minister of Finance must answer to Parliament and to the people for this staggering loss of Singapore’s reserves. The government needs to be reminded that the reserves belong not to them, but to the people of Singapore, and more importantly, our children and future generations. —-

From the Financial Times:

Temasek Holdings, the Singapore state investment company, has pulled out of its investment in Bank of America, selling its 3.8 per cent stake in the US group.

The disclosure on Friday of the sale follows an announcement by Ho Ching, Temasek’s chief executive, that the company is to cut its target for planned investments in developed economies and invest more in emerging markets.

Temasek is estimated to have lost at least $2bn on an investment foray that began with it taking a stake in Merrill Lynch in December 2007 for $5bn.

Temasek injected another $900m into Merrill last July and became its biggest shareholder, with a 13.7 per cent stake. It held 219.7m Merrill shares at the end of 2008.

  • tew ah seow

    I thought not long ago MM Lee said it is a long term investment , perhaps 30 or 50 years, before we can see the fruits, but how come out of a sudden, Temasek has to sell the BOA shares ? Please opposition MPs, raise this matter in the parliament.

  • Dr Frankenstein

    Ah Seow, why wait for someone else to air your view? Start a petition lah

  • Zelphon

    Well done !!!
    4.6B can do wonders to our economy…

    Bet they wanna say sgporeans can live even longer to age 110, cleaning toilets and clearing tables in kopitiam, so that we can build up our reserves for them to waste away like tis..

    Wat a highly paid bunch of crap investment analysts we have in Temasek ?!?!

    They should be booted out or given token salary of SG$1.00 and we benchmark our top notch ministers to this pay !!!

  • jumbo

    The reality is still the outcome from the balot box showed they’re the best to govn. Until then all the talks will land on deaf ears.

  • http://www.oneworldtalk.freeforums.org Yuchengko

    Temasek and GIC have been spooked, now trying very hard to make amends, win back confidence and go for safer investments. Only $3 billion loss is chicken feed compared to other losses estimated at > $50 billion on paper. It’s a gamble and gambling is risky business.

    http://oneworldtalk.freeforums.org/why-temasek-exiting-developed-moving-to-emerging-markets-t2581.html#7037

  • SZ

    Some people in the past has defended the lost as paper lost and will be recovered in time. however, the lost incurred by this fiasco has been set and the money has gone from paper lost to genuine lost….great!

  • CJ

    Halleluya to you all 66.6%…

  • Yang

    Loss is Loss. So what do you want all parties involved to answer. Pay back all salaries that they earn. Maybe or may not. Some one will to answer to us (Taxpayer). Maybe they think this peanuts.

  • Yogi Bear

    This is unacceptable!! Which other investment agency (anywhere on the planet) buys at the high and sells at the low? The record speaks for itself. If one were to remove the continual capital injection, what is the ACTUAL growth of Temasek and GIC?

    As the president and constitutional custodian of the reserves, Nathan is beholden to the People to commission an inquiry into this and other bad investments. We must ask and demand answers to the tough questions, including possibly abolishing both Temasek and GIC. Accountability NOW!

  • mice is nice

    dun worry lah, its not like the money was lost on betting tables in the up&coming IR.

    if we’re lucky we win, if not, we loose. we’re currently waiting for the upswing in luck on the global economy also. cant be helped, luck not on our side, many things not within “our” control (that’s the answer liao, how more accountable you all want?). what is there to regret, tried & failed. thats life lah…

    so better pray hard for good luck!!

    …. & get ready to swallow for more bitter “pills” in time to come.

    [mice is nice] standy by a glass of water to go with the pills. lol…

  • Yang

    Sorry folks. If all of you want GIC to answer for it. Wait till our next life. They will give you a lot of grandmother’s storys. Ha Ha Ha!

  • TrueBlood Singapore

    Singapore = PAP = Lee’s Family not= to Singaporean(You are just unequal gene to compare to Lee’s Family and you are not ShareHolders of Singapore)

  • to Yogi Bear

    You are wrong my friend, of course there is growth for Temasek and GIC, compliment from our month CPF contributions. The more and higher you contribute, the faster their growth, which is why citizenship is given so freely nowadays.

    taking in consideration total employement in singapore at 3mil at lets say an avg salary of $2500, there will be at least 2bil going into the coffer every month or 24bil every year for them to wage their investment battle from.

    Now that is growth my friend. :)

  • tew ah seow

    lose 6.8 billion no regrets.If the CEO is other unknown person, i think long time ago, head chop off liao loh

  • SWN

    I wonder if anyone could recall whether those ministers/government leaders who said the investments are for long termm, when was it done?Is it done while the selling of the BOA shares by Temasek was ongoing??

  • hobo

    Sometimes it makes you wonder…the efforts the press used to unravel NKF expenditure and the efforts used to prosecute the parties involved. Look at the tepid reporting on this issue. Compared to what happened at Temasek, we could literally have a 1000 “NKFs” and not reach the magnitude of the loss suffered Temasek with BoA…Imagine if the money invested, was simply used to prop up the local economy or just given to upgrade schools or the ST Pocket Money Fund…Yes investments are risky and yes investments do lose money…but when the funds are in essence the people’s money, and the policy enunciated for such investments are not followed, there must be a cogent explanation given to the citizens. In a city that extolls the virtues of meritocracy, the repercussons of failure must also follow. Perhaps more than 1 person should leave Temasek…have their salaries and bonuses recouped (a la NKF-TT Durai) whatever the case is, citizens are entitled to know what happened…no hiding behind “telling you too much we will reveal our investment policies to others” rhetoric anymore…No worries here mate, the policies have revealed themselves to be flawed, no reasonable person is likely to follow them…so what happened?

  • andylau

    no regret? simple, then pay us back with ur personal saving. doesnt matter how many generations, our decendents can always wait .

  • I_want_meatball

    >>Temasek, “no regrets” for $6.8bn loss?

    ‘that’ name will forever be ‘remembered’ in history

  • Simply

    Its so typical of the country that we are living in now. They make their decisions and back it up with various comments and reasons. When facts showed that mistakes were done, immpressive amounts of excuses and reasonings were given through its media.

    Don’t expect any apologies or anyone coming out and say, ‘we are wrong, it was a mistake, we have to be accountable’.
    This will never happen unless someone else is in charge. And this will only happen if everyone is aware and vote to show that our views should be taken seriously.

  • doctorwho

    In the near future, a new National Museum of Shame open in the heart of Singapore. There lies the statue of famous SG people, who wash the most national money down the singapore river.

    All citizens are welcome to hit it with water balloon for a small fee of 10 cents. All donation would go to the maintenance of the museum, and no single cents will go into my pocket.

    Any1 know how to make such a virtual museum, or a website to host it?

  • woodpecker

    Makes me wonder if proper “due diligence” was completed before the large purchases. Did the decision makers have access to the crucial material information about the risks involved?

    I remember those mega billion dollar deals were completed rather quickly. The question now is whether proper assessment of the risk of the purchases were made or was protocol overridden by a few powerful decision makers.

    On a similar note about whether there was any due diligence done before each deal, Temasek’s purchased Australia’s ABC Learning for A$402 million in May last year which was recently sold to a charity for A$1. That’s around S$500 million loss in less than a year!

    If the fund managers inside Temasek knew about the risk that such company are likely to be so bad within a year, would it have been professionally negligent for them to have gone ahead with the deal?

    Assuming the number crunchers who studied the viability of the target company did not throw up the risk factors that ABC Learning would be in such deep problems within just a year, shouldnt they or their company be sued for professional negligence too?

    http://www.asiaone.com/News/The%2BStraits%2BTimes/Story/A1Story20080228-51786.html

    http://yoursdp.org/index.php/news/singapore/2322-abc-learning-centres-sold-to-charity-for-1-each

  • ArtReach

    Two wrongs.

    Bought too early and sold early.

    I am glad she is gone. It doesn’t matter what’s the true reasons for her departure. She will not touch our reserve anymore (hopefully), that’s important.

  • http://TOCSingapore Edward

    #1) tew ah seow
    #2) Dr Frankenstein

    Don’t just depend on the two opposition MPs who are outnumbered by the 82 PAP MPs. Those who were involved in the NKF fiasco were made to pay back millions or made bankrupt.. Why don’t those PAP supporters ask the ministers and PAP MPs to pay back some of their millions?

    Those who believe in democracy in Singapore should do more than just write in this blog. There are many ways you can help. Think out of the box.

  • Daniel

    Ho Jinx surely has “no regret” leaving Temasek knowing that the mess she created will blow out one day, piece by piece.

  • liesbuster

    6.8 billion? That is 680 million ten dollar notes. If you scatter 680 million pieces of $10 notes on the streets, our cleaners will probably take weeks to sweep up the “mess”.

  • BD

    The irony of this situation is that Temasek/GIC made the investments in major developed market banks to satisfy the egos its big shots. Anybody who was watching the markets or even someone who took an introductory finance module at university was aware that the purchase was wrongly timed. Instead the plan backfired and now the Temasek/GIC big shots have lost face.

    I am certain the decision to make these investments weren’t based on rigorous financial modelling and economic analysis.

    The banks have the world’s most highly paid and successful salespeople. All they had to do was massage the egos of the Temasek/GIC big shots and convince them that an investment in such a reputable bank would be the feather in the cap of these Temasek big shots. Alas they were duped and now Temasek/GIC is the laughing stock of the financial world.

    Of course, the financial world has to keep telling Temasek/GIC that they made the right decision and it was just their bad luck. Otherwise the next time a big bank needs a bail-out they won’t be able to con Temasek/GIC so easily.

  • shameless ho

    no accountability =< corruption + scandalous. Great, only the members of LEE are able to achieve and get away scot-off.

  • notalone

    Can we have voting on ‘The most THICK-SKINNED family in Singapore’?

  • I_want_meatball

    say ‘no regret’ no enough, still receive ‘best award’ for contribution at work somemore….just how thick are the skins anyway? even a average joe with common sense knows where to stop…or maybe these people are wired in the head like the astar phd nudist at holland village

  • Puzzled Singaporean

    Can somebody enlighten how the SINGAPORE and TEMASEK system works? Who is responsible to raise the query when TEMASEK when they suffered so much loss? I think these are the money belonging to Singapore reserves and people and country? Are any one of the below who is responsible to monitor Temasek work?

    [1] MAS
    [2] Prime Minister
    [3] Minister of Finance
    [4] Parliament
    [5] The President
    [6] etc etc etc

    Can somebody help to clarify?

  • Fulushou

    THEY can bluff all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time but you think THEY can continue to bluff all the people all the time. Sinkaporeans, sleep enough already? Time to wake up liao!

  • Thinktok

    First and foremost we must realise that we are playing with big bucks. So if we keep gribing that our ministers pay are too high think again.

    In one swoop the loss in BOA counter alone goes into billions. Divide that by the total ministers’ pay and you see the point.

    So citizens of Singapore, don’t pray pray, don’t anyhow talk, don’t anyhow scold. We are contributing to the fiasco.

    Now back to HC. When she lost money in Micropolis she said she would do it again if given the same whatever it was.

    Now would she say the same for BOA??? I wonder.

    I am not a wizard. But the moment the assessment of ML was proven wrong when ML CEO lied and it’s share halfed to US$20+, every effort should be taken to exit because:

    1). Temasek is over exposed in US stocks,
    2) We have been proven wrong to buy ML at US$40+ a share,
    3) We are given a reprieve when ML refunded the difference, and ML was absorbed by BOA. There was a gain of US$1 billion. Getting out at break even would be a good option just to reduce exposure and also that we had been wrong the first instance.

    I hope they learn. I still think HC is brilliant and to change horses at midstream is disconcerting. I am sure if she stayed she can recover the losses in no time provided she stays professional and focussed.

    Regards

  • lactobacillus

    I happened to remember a quotation from our wise man:

    “You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government.You get that alternative and you’ll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again… and your asset values will disappear, your apartment will be worth a fraction of what it is, your jobs will be in peril, your security will be at risk and our women will become maids in other people’s countries, foreign workers.”

    Seem like whatever the wise man said is happening under his party charge.

  • Daniel

    Can we have voting on ‘The most THICK-SKINNED family in Singapore’?

    You have been too merciful. It should been “‘The most THICK-SKINNED family in World?” This family has been the envy of larger nation like US, China, Russian where their politicans are pay pathetically compare to the imperial family and yet their responsbilities and problems are far larger than the happy family.

    Where else can the politicians aka businessman , admonish, exploit and mock the very citizen who may or may not vote them. Such luxury can only be found in Singapore. The gahmen here have it too easy. Face threat , face troublemaker ? Just make a new kangaroo law that can be passed in a day. Best job in the world.

  • atrocious

    Just a fraction of the lost into healthcare for singaporeans and many would not have to worry about falling sick. I’m lost for words… buy high and sell low. How can you be more wrong tha that.

  • cracked balls

    Pop the champagne…another 1st for singapore!

  • David

    So it goes to prove that our retirement monies are locked and cannot be taken out because of such huge losses. How can Ho Ching said she has no regret when she has gambled away million of taxpayers and workers livilhood? Does she think the money belongs to her and the LEE family? If this happened in China, she would have stood in front of the firing squat by now and her life ended with no question asked!!! But in Singapore she get away with it with a golden award, if this is not insulting to Singaporean, than I am not sure what it should be.

  • ironman

    Does $6.8B inflict pain? perhaps, perhaps not to the people running Temasek. They might think it is all part of business – you win some, you lose some.

    Do they really have to account to the Parliament and to the people of Singapore? I am not sure. As you may recall, the finance minister once said that the government does not interfere with the business decision-making at the two state-owned funds. I do not know if that also means there is no accountability as well.

    Anyway, I think is better for Temasek to cut loss now than face the possibility of being asked to put MORE money in if BofA were to do a mega-scale rights issue or fund raising (which is almost a certainty). Hopefully, their investment in CCB (from BofA ironically) is done after due diligence and not simply because they had to “rebalance” their Asia exposure

    For case of BofA sale, it was perhaps bad timing to sell, but who would have foreseen the rally that follows right after. Perhaps it was fated.

  • BlindMan

    Hi does anyone have a track record of all the losses made by temasek ?

    Also how would this losses affect the Singaporean like me and you?

    As many would have thought, the long haul now looks like short haul, am very curious to know what would trigger Temasek to sell at this point in time, given their announcement that they were looking at long term , 10 – 20 -30 …..

    Money well spent!! it would be good to know what this money could have done for needy Singaporeans…..

  • http://parkablogs.com Parka

    This is a really dumb move. America has already deemed BoA too big to fail with all the financial help. Temasek could have held on longer.

    Again, the same problem lies with accountability. What happen to the people to decided to invest in BoA? Is it just another day’s job?

  • http://parkablogs.com Parka

    Just to add.

    Quiting or getting fire is the easy way out.

    That’s what happens to people who don’t do their jobs properly, even if they are just earning $6 per hour.

  • Wanna

    when you look outwards for $$$ you kena burnt!……….Charity begins at home! imagine that amount of loss could feed the poor in Singa City………………..

  • mice is nice

    by comparison NKF really is peanuts. lol…

    the losses should be recovered ler, ask account for freee lobang to work out an installment plan anot?

    i think i should ask my HR to update my contract without CPF (the vault) contribution, i want 100% cash-up-front!! i rather loose my own money, than let others do it.

  • small engineer

    “You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government.You get that alternative and you’ll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again… and your asset values will disappear, your apartment will be worth a fraction of what it is, your jobs will be in peril, your security will be at risk and our women will become maids in other people’s countries, foreign workers.”

    Hello… who r u trying to fool, plse don’t take the average Singaporean for a fool. Even before anything happened, I don’t think any normal S’porean buy into that crappy, illogical explanation. But now we know, they are DEFINITELy replacable ANYTIME!!!

  • anomynous

    21) woodpecker : “Makes me wonder if proper “due diligence” was completed before the large purchases. Did the decision makers have access to the crucial material information about the risks involved?”

    What about the boss made a decision first and the subordinates then built a business case to support that decision? e.g. President Bush (boss) & CIA (subordinate) on Weapon of Mass Destruction.

    The sequence is very important: (a) Decision first – assessment second or (b) Assessment first – decision second. We, the lesser mortals, think that Sequence (b) is the logical way. But who knows what great mortals think!!??

  • kf

    The BOA investment was to my knowledge about 5.9b. So if 4.6b was lost, it’s not hard to work out the mathematics i.e. what % of the investment remained. We didn’t lose 4.6b over a 59b investment…… we also did not lose 4.6b over a 590b investment……

  • DavidSeeLeongKit

    1 Aiyah! Aiyoh! Alamak! Wah lau! Wah piang! What The FISH!
    This 61-year old educated/thinking Senior Citizen almost kena heart-attack at all those Trauma-sick Mindboggling Monumental Financial Fiascos — involving millions/BILLIONS of the hard-earned monies of S’poreans !!!

    [ If so, I wanna hire Queen's Counsel to sue them for causing my early death --- 'cos I wanna live as long as that 85-year old Singapore Soothsayer Sage who talked so much about "golden period".]

    2 THIS PARTICULAR Monumental Blunder of S$6.8 BILLION divided quickly by 4 million citizens = S$1,700 LOSS per citizen.

    3 BUT if you add up the bloody long list (eg Micropolis, Optus, Dao Heng, Chartered Semi-Con, Shin Corp, ABC Learning….ad infinitum, ad nauseum), a quick estimate could well turn out to be S$100,000 LOSS per Singapore Citizen ???
    [ For a typical family of five ( 2 parents, 3 children), that's HALF-A-MILLION BUCKS OF COLD HARD CASH !!! ]

    4 Political Sick Joke:
    To promote Singapore as Financial/Business Hub as well as “Good Corporate Governance”, her former Finance Minister hubby had constantly preached “transparency and accountability; level playing field; checks and balances; encouraging whistle-blowers to report mismanagement; blah,blah,blah…”
    BUT apparently all these talk does not apply to his lovey-dovey wifey !!!

    5 NATO = No ACTION*, Talk Only [*ACTION as in Peoples' ACTION Party?]
    TCM = Talk-Cock Minister [not Traditional Chinese Medicine]
    SG = Screwed-up Gabra-men [not Singapore Government]
    MSG = Money-Sucking Government [not Mono-Sodium Glutamate]

    6 During my primary school days, I was a “British Subject” and sang “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN”.
    Now a Singapore Citizen (who was among first batches to complete full-time NS), looks like I will have to sing “GOD SAVE SINGAPORE”.

  • very hsien

    the 66.6% are the sabo king. those who supported pap, are partly to blame. our future generations have been cursed.

  • A&E

    Why the discrepancy between the latest closing price of BOA and the price of this temasek sale. Bloomberg reports an almost 1 bil USD discrepancy.

    Did Temasek try to right a wrong by selling early the last quarter, only to miss the march rally?

    OR, was there an urgent need for liquidity elsewhere that forced the sale?

  • yankee

    What is 6.8bil? peanuts! based on our cpf contribution, our goverment can rake in this amount easily in 2 to 3 months, and if factor in taxes, they might even get it back in one month.

    one thing i am curious is that why sell at that time? I thought we are looking at 300, wrong, 30 year? after that infamous speech by our lky, we cut loss after less than 6 months? maybe nowadays because of the voliatility of the market, 6 months is consider long term?

    The most mysterious is at what price does Tamasek dispose their BOA shares?

    according to ST, the shares were sold during jan to mar this year. When BOA took over ML, Tamasek could have easily made 1bil on the price then if they sell then, but they did not. When the market was coming down in Jan and feb, they won’t be selling and would use a wait and see method. If they want to sell, they would have done that earlier.

    When the market starts to recover in Mar, they wouldn’t be selling at that point too, as no experience investors would cut loss on the way up. If they did, they would not have cut all but keep some for futher upside.

    base on the above, Tamasek would most likely be cutting lost during the bottoming of the global stock market at the end of feb, when BOA hits $2.50 at one point. That is like a herd stampede where all investors would want to get out at all cost.

    They might even be force to sell due to leverage on other investment, and having no more money to top up? If that’s the case, it would be a sad day for all singaporean.

    Well done, our top scholars and elites at Tamasek. Lets move on..

  • I_want_meatball

    All the anger here are for nothing, politics is simply not for the average man on the street. What we can conclude is that LHL is not even 1/2 as capable as his old man.

  • WeiHan

    To invest in BoA, in the first place, is a bad investment.
    To deicde to cut lost now is indeed a very smart move! After this bear market rally, the DOW is going to plunge to greater low. Basically, all the big american banks are bankrupt. How can the US government say that it is too big to fail? The only way is that they will print more fiat currency out of thin air to support the bank. However, that is not true wealth. That is diluting the present value of the currency and will eventually cause the greenback to devalue. I am glad that GIC has quickly use this rebound to get out of this investment.

    I’ll be even more happy if GIC will spend a few millions S$ to buy an investment report from me before they make any such big investment. If only they have done so, it will safe Singapore from all this big losses.

  • WeiHan

    Oh!

    I see. They have missed the march rally? OMG goodness…their investment acumen is really bad. This bear market rally is almost predictable. They should wait for the rally and then get out in May-this month.

    I think they should really pay me for some investment reports befor ethey make any move.

  • tiredsingaporean

    Just get these irresponsible ruling party out of the office and stop sucking blood from the citizens and throw them into the ocean bed and still can boast how efficient they are in governing the nation. In no time, the country is going into bankruptcy soon.

  • tiredsingaporean

    48) very hsien on May 17th, 2009 12.31 am
    the 66.6% are the sabo king. those who supported pap, are partly to blame. our future generations have been cursed.

    They made a big bludder and we the citizens have to suffer for their mistakes. What the hell is this supposed to be? just throw them out for good.

  • I_want_meatball

    between pap & others what is ur choice? understand the underlying meaning,

    pap=LHL, LKY, GCT
    others=rojak of uncertainties but unrelated to LKY

    to choose pap is to continue to let ur daddy take the steering wheel but there’s zero option on destination, to choose others is to learn to take control, but inevitably there will be a transient stage where things will run amok e.g. riots, chaos, lootings…these things also happened before LKY’s team took full control

  • SS Stirrer

    My fellow Brudders,

    talk is cheap… dont just bitch about things. do something about it when you have the opportunity

  • aiyoyo

    aiyoyo

    there goes commoners $$$, any recovery plans by the elite(s) that made mistake?

    resolutions? what’ll happen to our CPF? take out when 80years old?

    s$6.8bn how many jobs can be saved? (not sure how much SPURS is offering?)

    aiyoyo

  • Iskandar

    Let us be objective when criticising the government. There is too much emotion here.
    It seems to me very unreasonable to ask the policy makers to pay back when investments go bad. It is not the same as NKF case. One is about bad judgement the other is about deceit for personal gains. It is not reasonable to ask any office holder to pay back from her personal funds money lost ,if the manner in which the lost occured, was not executed under criminal intent. At most we can ask for their resignation or demotion.
    The Finance Minister said that though Temasek lost the money, they did “far better than other investors”. There was no statistics to back this. Does anyone know where to find the statistics? If the statement is false we need to expose it and start another round of discussion. If the statement is true, it is something we just have to accept, just like good healthy people being killed by SARS..

  • aloha

    andylau – no regret? simple, then pay us back with ur personal saving. doesnt matter how many generations, our decendents can always wait .

    You heard this chinese proverb: 羊毛长在羊生上? High losses will drain our returns on CPF. This is why the government is raising HDB to exhorbitant prices such as $700k HDB, money will be trapped and never able to be withdrawn. Higher losses will force the government to take them back from the citizens. Once affordable HDB is now beyond many.

  • kf

    Iskandar, #59
    The point is not the get statistics to back up the claims that we (as a singapore sovereign fund) did less worse than other investors.
    I can agree with you that such investments were not made with criminal intent. However, there is no logic in paying a person an exorbitant salary, if all he/ she could do is chalk up losses (whether they are better or worse) than other investors. There is no school of thought in the business world that teaches us that. Ask anyone who is in business or commercial world, and they will tell you that you pay the person to add business value, (not to perform less worse than others). In this case, financial returns.
    To any policy maker/ head who tries to give a different spin to this, I say please…. take responsibility and don’t turn us into a laughing stock further when the damage is done.

  • unabel

    Unlike the British, Europeans and Japanese whom have a culture of shame on wrongdoings, and offenders will remoresefully relinquished their positions voluntararily(some Japanese even commit suicide), Sporeans generally lacking in social gracious, will just withstand the shamefullness, poker-facedly.. Aping the economic policies of the Americans, we have turned out to become shameless cheats like them.

  • Tony Fatt

    Times magazine named Ho Ching top 10 women in the world 2 yrs back.She should now rank No.1 for lossing billion of S’pooreans’ money.Why there isn’t any Commissiom of Inquiry held to investigate this wrong doing. Is it because she is PM’s wife.I suggest we stage a protest at Hong Lim park to demand govern conduct in inquiry into this matter.The Lee’s family should make to pay back what they had lost.

  • Andrew

    Pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

    We pay big bucks, still get monkeys. How to justify the multi-million pay packages we are doling out?

    Since, we are always talking about outsourcing. Maybe, we should just do it!

    Look a T Holdings now, we are using a foreigner to run and manage. If assuming he does perform. Great!

    If not, just another scapegoat with multi-million golden handshake.

    Where are we headed?

    We are all doomed mates!

  • Iskandar

    Re. #61, #59
    Everyone can agree that The policy maker made a bad mistake of judgment. I also agree that same should step down graciously… which she did. What else does the public want? Hang her like somewhat said here.. .. This is barbaric criticism. As long as it is not a criminal intent, and the loss of public funds does not result in personal gain, i believe even in china if someone make a mistake like this, there can’t be hanging. The culprit should be sacked and shamed in public at worst. .. if there is evidence that he/she ignored advice of contrary views.

    Yes i agree that she should not get voted in to get those awards and it was not gracious of her to accept them in the light of such losses and public sentiments, but let’s stop all this childish stuff about hanging her and getting her to pay back from own pocket.

    Actually I dont agree that the westerrners or other leaders are more gracious than singaporeans. Bush hoodwinked the whole world to believe that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction. Did he apologise to the world? OK, Saddam Hussein was not exactly a saintly leader anyway, but that’s not the point.

    THERE ARE NO SAINTS OUT THERE. Vote in an opposition into singapore parliament, they also will end up behaving like swine just like the incumbents. I have a very negative view of politicians. In this dog eat dog world, don’t expect too much even if there are opposition in parliament. The will go down and down and down anyway, it is a horrible life to lead in these days. Life was much better and fairer 20 years ago. Do remember.. year 2012 is doomsday… check out the internet on more information on this.

  • thumos

    The government keep saying that Temasek performance is comparable or better than other investment company, but let them be reminded that Temasek is NOT like other investment companies. Temasek money is from the hard working people of Singapore, unlike investment companies who invest on behalf of the rich people. The risk that Temasek takes MUST NOT be the same or higher than that of investment companies. There MUST be accountability and heads must roll. The president is suppose to look after our country reserves, so please speak up!!

  • In what ways does this Loss affect Singaporeans? Many do not understand

    Can someone advise how does this affect the mere mortals ?
    I mean singaporeans are pragmatic.
    They only will be interested in things that affect them.
    They simply dont care if its non of their business.

  • yankee

    64) thumos on May 17th, 2009 1.04 pm

    sorry, no offence… but puppet are suppose to do as told, and not ask questions… if you want to be entitled to your 3mil. you know what i mean? :)

  • yankee

    63) Tony Fatt on May 17th, 2009 12.22 pm

    this is the price to pay for being the 3rd most powerful woman in the world 2007, as according to forbes magazine. it might be that they are dangling the carrot in exchange for all those investment. title doesn’t comes cheap you know? ask any datuk around…

  • Iskandar

    re. 65
    Thumos>> it is true that head should roll if the investment gone awry due to bad judgement. But the onus is on us to prove that it was bad judgement, under the circumstances of world chaotic situation. Since it is very difficult to prove whether Temasek acted in foolhardy manner, and we have no idea whether or not it is true that Temasek did a lot better than other investors, i opine that it is not fair to put Madame out on a pedestal and throw stones at her .. at this juncture in time. We need more evidence. That is why we need to examine the Finance Minister’s statement that Temasek did much better than others. I want and demand evidence and statistics from the ministers.

    Secondly, I think whether or not the company handling the investments is handling Sinaporean’s money or private investors’ money, is also not a relevant issue. Investment company must earn high interest to justify their existence, regardless of whose money it is. Heads to roll if the investment company lost 31% of the investment, but if it can be proven that everybody else on the planet lost 50% thereabouts, then ok lets forgive Madame and wish her happy retirement.

    And who says the Temasek money is poor singaporeans’ money? Temasek money is every CPF account holders’ money. It includes also Madame’s cpf money, The old man’s cpf money, the money of rich singaporeans, smart singaporeans, stupid singaporeans, PAP singaporeans, SDP Singaporeans et all.

  • http://TOCSingapore Edward

    #63) Tony Fatt
    ‘The Lee’s family should make to pay back what they had lost.’
    …………………………………………………………

    The old man will say to you,”Shut up and sit down. I built up Singapore from scratch. There was nothing much at the treasury in the beginning. Without me there is no Singapore. No reserve to talk about now.”

  • sgcynic

    Start practising our shoe throwing. Wait till HC gives a public speech. LOL

  • http://nil budamax1952

    To Iskandar (61)(67);;;;Your naive and idiotic comments reminds me of “TIDAK-APA” attitude that u and your kind were very good in historically;;;;;Your silly defence of the undefensible and your disregard of the billions of taxpayers money down the drain shows up your “ANGKAT-BODEK”mentality. Save us from any more of your comical rantings.

  • Daniel

    If they make money consistently, they says that they cannot reveal “sensitive” information and the “secret recipe” must be kept secret, then that’s okay. But they consistently lose large sum of state money and yet paid themselves so handsomely, they no longer have the right to say that they cannot reveal the secret recipe and information pertaining to the loss because that will make them the CON-man. They should stop behaving like con-man now, and start giving accountability.

  • RighteousSinga

    Amidst the emotions of seeing $7B of our money thrown away, we have lost sight of the greater picture. Let’s put it in context shall we… According to Temasek’s 2008 annual review, total assets were 295B. A 7B loss is a 2.5% drop in the portfolio. 7B is a huge number in absolute terms but it is important to keep perspective of the context. As our portfolio continues to grow, the absolute gains/ losses will too. 1% of 10B is less than 1% of 100B.

    For all those who are upset about the loss (I am too), asking ministers to give an account/ apology won’t achieve much. What are they going to say? They’ll just give some standard answer…For the right answers to be given, the right questions need to be asked.

    1.)Valid concerns have been raised about the silence of the sales. For a firm that claims transparency, such a big sale should have been declared after all that has happened.
    2.)What can be done about the investment making process to ensure that we won’t do this again?
    3)Some Sovereign Wealth Funds’s did terribly, but some came out relatively unscathed. How can we learn from them? Eg Norway. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/business/global/14frugal.html?ref=business

    For me, I am disappointed about this debacle but like Iskandar @ 59 and 67, the only fair way is to judge them by the overall performance. I will withhold final judgment until I see how the rest of the portfolio performed in 2008/9.

    Iskandar- A good way to judge would be to wait for the annual report for 2009 review to come out and then to judge based on how the world indexes have done and also other SWF’s performances.

  • http://nil budamax1952

    To Iskandar(59)(65)(70);;;”And who says the Temasek money is poor singaporeans money? ;;;;Bro check out the stats before u make such comments;check out the % of the poor people here and the amount of GST and other taxes they pay for your “Temasek money”!!??Or —is it the people’s money??

  • 1cent

    Unfortunately, what Mr Tharman said today in the newspaper was wrong. Singapore’s SWF performance was one of the worst. Please see this link: http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_337821.html

    I have done you guys a favour with this extract:

    “The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) said on Tuesday it had lost US$30.73 billion (S$46.38 billion) from March to December last year. The Council on Foreign Relations, an independent New York-based organisation, estimated that the KIA’s portfolio shrank from US$262 billion in December 2007 to US$228 billion a year later.

    Earlier this week, it was revealed in Parliament that Temasek’s net portfolio value dropped 31 per cent between March 31 and Nov 30 last year, from $185 billion to $127 billion. The value of GIC’s investments also declined last year but the numbers were not disclosed.

    Even the world’s largest SWF – the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority – has not been spared and may have lost US$125 billion last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report. The report said its portfolio of assets is estimated at US$328 billion.

    Gulf-region SWFs could lose as much as US$450 billion this year due to the global crisis – equal to the region’s oil income for an entire year – according to remarks made by Mr Henry Azzam, Deutsche Bank’s chief executive for the Middle East and North Africa, to CNBC Arabiya.

    Norway’s Government Pension Fund – the third-biggest SWF – has had the worst quarter in its 18-year history, losing 14.5 per cent of its value in the three months to Sept 30 last year. The fund has assets of about US$300 billion. These figures do not take into account steep market falls in October and November. It took a US$500 million hit last year after sinking US$1 billion into refinancing six European and American banks, including Lehman Brothers.”

  • http://nil budamax1952

    To Iskandar(70)you said “i think whether or not the company handling the investments is handling singaporean’s money or private investor’s money is also not a relevant issue”;;;;;;Bro if the loss of billions of our singaporean’s hard earned money is not a relevant issue, can u enlighten us as to what is the relevant issue

  • WeC

    “I can live with a few more years of LKY but not one more second of LHL”…

    LKY please come back and kick that useless, worthless and no-good son of yours all the way to the moon. He and his wife is THE shame of Singapore.

  • hobo

    @Iskandar: Read the facts of NKF carefully again. TT Durai did not take money. That is why all they could get him on was some misleading $20k and $5k invoices. He spent money on himself and others, which was all cleared by the board of directors. Some expenditure was perhaps wrong, some perhaps over the top…think John Thain’s million dollar office renos at Merrill. But TT Durai was never convicted of those things. Just $25k. A conviction for $25k, this must be the biggest fraud in Singapore history! I don’t know him nor do I support him. I am just looking at the facts!

    Now assume the Temasek board said yes to the Temasek boss (for reasons best know to the board) Now how many billion is lost again? The magnitude of the loss over the period in question, is on its face, grounds for good concern. TO SAY “But the onus is on us to prove that it was bad judgement,” is absolutely bizarre! How would anyone every prove what went or did not go on in the boardroom? Its disclosure that is required, unless of course we unleash the sae fury that NKF received on Temasek (with the media hounds unleasehed of course) But will that happen? Say the decision to buy ML was a frolic, say an OTT frolic, again remember, I can decide not to donate to NKF, can I decide not to contribute to CPF??? So which error or breach was more egregious on its face? Which party should be more accountable, which loss was greater from both an absolute and comparative viewpoint?

    Sometimes its not always about how who else in the market did? And we must bear in mind most countries have press hounds that are not subject to the Newspaper and Printing Acts or have a viable opposition or just pressure groups that actually work.

    What is being asked is accountability, and accountability requires disclosure. Just consider the problems the ALL UK MPs are going through now. The UK Parliament refused disclosure on expenditure previously. They said trust us. Look what happened when pursuant to the relevant Freedom of Information Act all ther receipts were disclosed.

    I am not saying some skullduggery took place in the Temasek case, but the magnitude of the loss cries out for disclosure! Or is that too much to ask and we should wait for a $100B loss first.

  • I_want_meatball

    >LKY please come back and kick that useless, worthless and no-good son of >yours all the way to the moon. He and his wife is THE shame of Singapore.

    if old man see this, old man will get heart attack & die eye open wide

  • brainwave

    Wonder why she is called Ho Ching?

    In the 14th century, there was a eunuch admiral called Cheng Ho, who spent his life at sea visiting and touring the world, at the expense of China for over 30 years.

    He could convinced the dynasty that these voyages were good for diplomatic causes and could bring back interesting artifacts like a giraffe. But basically, he was just happy to put a financial strain on China with no results.

    Finally the third generation emperor put a stop to this senseless squandering…

    Umm.. maybe reincarnation is true after all… and history does repeat itself ..

  • http://TOCSingapore Edward

    #80) hobo
    ‘ @Iskandar: Read the facts of NKF carefully again. TT Durai did not take money.’
    …………………………………………………

    At last we have one citizen brave enough to speak the real truth and not the half truth by the media and the general population. I have heard neighbours, friends, colleagues and educated people comdemning him a cheat who had squandered millions of donated money.

    What is the moral of the NKF story? Unless you are a staunch PAP member don’t sit on any NGO committee. This adivice is too late for R Yong, now a bankrupt.

  • Wanna

    Imagine what the big loss can do:
    1. Help the blind not to sell tissue paper at hawker centres
    2. Help the handicapped and blind musicians stop their entertainment …..ugly sight @ MRT stations and Underpath.
    3. Help poor retirees make ends meet
    4. Help retrenched workers
    5. Help loan seeker not to resort to loan sharks
    6. Help those who need help…………….etc…..etc

  • Iskandar

    Re. #61, #59, #70, #76, #78, #80 ……… #75

    First of all let me clarify that i am NOT in support of Madame for losing billions of dollars, never mind it is poor singaporeans money or rich singaporeans money. Every cent is important, any investment banker who performed badly for its clients must surely account to the clients for the manner in which the losses occured!!!!! Let ‘s not be partisan and divide and say with much emotion, you (“Madame”) lost the poor man’s money, you (“Madame”) pay up. A rich man whose money is lost by Madame has every equal right to demand for accountability. We must not get emotionally involved, or else the incumbent will have every reason to think that the opposition are stupid. We need to be more objective and not make careless statements to the tune of ” Shoot Madame~!! make her pay!!”. “These are uncivil and un-intellectual approaches, simply because there is not an iota of evidence that personal gains were made. She was doing her job, of course in a way which leaves much to be desired.

    Whether she did a bad job or a good job , you cannot ask her to pay the losses, as she did her job with no pre-meditated, evil, intent of personal pecuniary or other gains. And since she stepped down voluntarily, it is a gracious move to some extent , but to close the gap we definitely need to catch her before she leaves, to give a full disclosure of the circumstances leading to the loss, as #80 had so clearly expressed.

    Yes there is an urgent need to REQUEST FOR FULL DISCLOSURE and also evidence that our Investing authorities losses are “far better than others” as spoken by Finance Minsiter. If the statistics show otherwise, there is good ground to demand to sack him because it is telling outright lies to the population of singapore. This is an objective approach and more logical way to proceed.

    PS>>>> I applaud the mail of #75 RighteousSinga which answers my original question to some extent; i wonder if #75 will be so kind as to calculate for us in percentage terms what Kuwait Authority, and the Norway, etc. others mentioned, as the figures in his mail, were absolute numbers and we can;t test whether our Finance Ministers’ figure of 31% lost is really “not as bad as others”.

  • Dow Wager

    3) Zelphon on May 16th, 2009 1.39 pm Well done !!!
    4.6B can do wonders to our economy…

    ———————————–

    Your statement not clear as you did not specify the currency.
    In Sing Dollars, based on my mere mortal mental calculation, it is around
    SGD$ 6.66 Bn .

  • Cant believe that …

    Ok, usually I am at the sideline listening to grudes and complaints in TOC. But this incredible huge loss at the Temasek really pissed me off and prompt me to write something to flush off my anger.

    First, Temasek made the mistake by buying too early into US financial stocks, such as Merill, and at the same time, GIC bought into Citi, UBS, etc. Monthly later when the financial storms became worse, GIC (Lee Kuan Yew as chairman) & Temasek (Ho Chiong as CEO) excuses themself by saying it it for LONG LONG term investment, so there is nothing to worry about.

    Now, when the US financial stocks was at its low in 1st quarter, then Temasek sold them off taking huge loss (~S$7 billion, enough money for $3500 for every singaporean). After that, US financial stocks surged like no tomorrow.

    Then they came out with stupid execuse — diversify. I want say, diversify your FOOT. Even amatuer can tell the bad timing they sold the stocks and hence to alleviate the damage, they use Staits Times to mislead people believing their exit strategy is right.

    Now, the one thing that anger me so much, is that there is no accountability !!!! WTF with singaporean nowadays? Its such a huge loss and yet, no one, no opposition MP, no who what so ever seem to be openly voicing out their dismal. Posting in TOC is not going to help in anyway. We need to strongly and aggresively criticise these top people in Temasek & GIC for their worst performance as CEO or fund managers, and ask them to account for it. Resign of whatever.

  • http://nil budamax1952

    Well said MR HOBO(80);;;To people like Iskandar and Righteous Singa(75) who purport to take the centrist position on this issue,stop beating around the bush because there is no middle ground where this issue is concerned for the very fact that LKY and his PAPy party ,during the last 40-50 years of his imperial rule never ever gave anybody the middle ground to stand on–it was always”you are with us or you out”—therefore,at this juncture the people has had it to the hilt —and what goes around comes around–sooner or later

  • RighteousSinga

    Iskandar @ 85.
    I admire your stand but unfortunately your voice of rationality is being lost in “the Crowd” . You would be advised to understand the futility of doing so.

    http://www.amazon.com/Crowd-Study-Popular-Mind/dp/0486419568/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242571413&sr=8-2

    SWF’s are not transparent at all and only Norway and Singapore reveal their performance.

    Firstly,

    From the article provided by 1cent @77:

    Abu Dhabi Investment Authority lost 38% last year. ( I wouldn’t trust the article though because the figures aren’t from the source directly. Just some estimate from the council of world relations

    Norway (You can get this off their site) : Down 23% last year

    Singapore: We don’t have their annual figures yet but according to minister. Down 31% from March to Nov 2008

    MSCI world index: Down 42% last year

    You now have the basis of comparison. The question is who do you want to compare Temasek with? I suspect friendlier people will choose the MSCI World Index and Abu Dhabi while less friendly people will choose Norway.

    Note to readers: Norway’s fund in my view is truly a model of transparency. Their performance wasn’t great last year but they did very well relative to their peers.

    http://www.norges-bank.no/templates/article____41397.aspx

  • 1cent

    Also to add to RighteousSinga @87, KIA lost about 12%.

    Anyway, Temasek lost 38band GIC lost 25%. Therefore, in total these 2 lost about 100b. In our terms, if we divide our population by 5 (est. size of household), we will see that each household lost about $100K. Almost the price of a 3 room flat they are charging.

  • kf

    Iskandar, #85,
    My advice is for you to read my threads very carefully please, else, we are just going round in circles.
    I said nothing about hanging her.
    I also said nothing about getting her to cough out money for the losses.
    I merely addressed the issue from a business performance perspective, and when either the individual/ company makes a blunder like this, just take responsibility, instead of merely using other records to mitigate the perception on damage.

  • http://nil budamax1952

    Some brainwashed dudes, who think they are ‘rational’ but actually are beating around the bush remind me of that old story where this guy has got his house on fire , but instead of calling the fire-fighting people ,he goes around asking ;;how did my house catch fire huh? did they use kerosene to burn my house down huh?who burn my house down huh?will they black or white huh?

  • jj

    PAP should submit application for Guiness World Records:

    (1) Biggest loss in Singapore corporate history.

    (2) Biggest loss yet no regret CEO in Singapore corporate history.

  • The SS

    to 64) Andrew,
    ‘pay peanuts get monkeys, we pay big bulks we still get monkeys’ – hahah.. looks like we pay more big bucks and we get GOLDEN monkeys !

    Some questions need to be answered by the caretakers of the People’s funds:

    -Why is that the Finance Minister failed to disclose this exit from BOA in the April sitting of Parliament? Because no one asked? Look at this. T only answered when queried by Bloomberg !

    -Where is the accountability to the People of Singapore – Can those who voted PAP go and look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself this question:
    If someone you authoriesed to use money from your account (nevermind that they tax you from all over the place to get this in actuality) for investment and lost it. Don’t you think you would expect them to tell you?

    Have a sense of proportion please. You are killing the rest of us by your blind support.

    WAKE UP now or your children Will Suffer MORE !

  • Iskandar

    Let me summarise by throwing all or most of the personal attacks-postings and immature comments. I find that the main issues of substance are as highlighted by #77 1-cent , #87 Cant believe that., #80 hobo and #89 RighteousSinga. (Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong, where are you… please, consider to use these material as base for finding out more about this terrible losses of singaporeans’ money)

    Firstly that the Finance Minister appears to have given distorted information saying that our losses are less severe than other investment agencies of other governments. (PS> I also noted a comment that suggested that the losses has to be adjusted to the size of the population. If this argument is turned the other way, that means, if we have a small population size, we are not allowed to think big and expect big returns… or another way of saying if you are a poor man please dont think of becoming multimillionaire, work according to your size…. It is threading on thin ground…) Reference: mail #77

    Secondly, from 87) Cant believe that, who is perhaps an expert investor, it appears that the Govt must be fools to buy high sell low. Though i am not savvy in these matters, it makes me wonder why they can be so stupid. Are there mitigating factors we do not know about?

    Thirdly, it is the government’s duty to disclose and also ensure accountability.

    I think it is important for opposition parties and concerned citizens to take up the challenge on urgent basis,.. to expose the truth. Of what use is the opposition party, and of what use is this TOC forum, if no objective, non emotional approach ensues to get to the root of the problem. We have ourselves to blame for years of the incumbent’s iron grip, if we continue to remain silent or if we continue to pass emotional personal comment whenever incumbent makes mistakes. Let the personal, emotional, hate comments be confined to kopi-tiam chats but we have to the raise the standards of debate when in comes to writing, to effectively challenge the incumbents, otherwise there is absolutely no hope for Singaporeans, now or ever.

    Remember Dec., 21st, 2012 is doomsday, so what the heck. Sudah-lah!

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3895341627365179412

    Thank you.

  • Short sell Citi Now

    I think we are only hearing the first part of the story. What abt Citi shares? C’mon, they are intelligient enough not to pour out all the big news all at the same time.

    Short sell now !!!!, this is a profit of a life time without any risk.

    We also can use the word “No regrets” but instead for the profit at their expenses.

  • aygee

    Yes, they did far better than other investors. Like Warren Buffett who from the start said they’re toxic investments at the start?

    Did we get our position on the Board at these banks? did we get our strategic place among these huge banks?

    anyway, easy to criticise when in retrospect. But i just cant help it – finger pointing is such a singaporean pastime isnt it? The govt went in with their eyes open, so what to do, its happened and we should move on.

    just pity how much that $6b could have done for fellow struggling singaporeans.

  • ABC

    The only words I can say to the elites sitting in the glass tower is STUPID…STUPID.

  • Alex the peasant boy

    People, don’t let emotion overtake your judgment; yes, I know that Mdm Ho lost many Gazillions of dollars for us but I think asking her & family pay up is definitely not the answer. And believe me, there’s no way she & her next 10000 generations could repay that amount!! Perhaps, someone with divine power gave her an exit door for her to disappear gracefully & hope this will just blow away, but trust me, this will remain long in the minds of Singaporeans or at least those other 34%.

    I am just an ordinary guy like most of you & the only thing I wanna know is WHO made those decisions & I really mean WHO really is the decision-maker in all those losses? Is it really Mdm Ho or could it be she has been misled by some ivory-tower million dollar scholars all this while (these useless buggers are everywhere, isnt it!!). It’s not just the bad decision to invest in those banks but also investments in ABC Learning, Micropolis, Dao Heng, ShinCorp & many others. I do believe that investments are like gambling; you win some & lose some. However, it seems like whatever Temasek invested in, it’s always going broke or some sort!! !! I am just wondering which company would give awards to its employees for doing a horrible job; if I were that person; I would be too ashamed to even wanna be nominated!

  • mentee

    it’s obvious the person who blows that billions away was Lee Kuan Yew himself.
    Ho Ching listens to this old man.

    Mr Lee says one thing to the people in his ward (about long term investment), he does another thing behind, thinking nobody will notice.

  • toohot

    So this is what you call “long-term investments”??

    Why, the stocks “too hot” to hold??

  • gemami

    Every time I see a photo of Ho Ching I get the shivers. I get the shivers because every time I see her face, I see the same face that has been splashed across our tv screens, of a man who stretches his hands out to ask for the piggy bank belonging to his daughter.

    The words that ring in my ears are so traumatic that I am going into depression very soon: “I promise I will give it all back“. These are words of one who takes a long term view on investment, even if the investmest can be clearly seen by sane and sober people, as outright gambling.

    Yes indeed. In the long run, the gambler is going to hit the jackpot! Well, if he still have enough money to feed his gambling disease. Ho Ching is such a gambler and I am shivering. You should too.

  • just me

    89) RighteousSinga on May 17th, 2009 11.08 pm
    Iskandar @ 85.
    I admire your stand but unfortunately your voice of rationality is being lost in “the Crowd” . You would be advised to understand the futility of doing so.

    I really admire you guys for your patience. Many times, I just give up. (Someone should set up a forum that encourages people like me to post)

    As long as “the crowd” is still large enough to pose a risk during election, it is unlikely that PAP would improve their transparency. Right now, the only feasible source of power to open up comes from economic partners.

    People should think what they really what, and how best to get it. Alright, I admit — I’m being emotional to try again to tell emotional people how to behave…

  • mice is nice

    re Iskandar,

    ////We have ourselves to blame for years of the incumbent’s iron grip, if we continue to remain silent or if we continue to pass emotional personal comment whenever incumbent makes mistakes. Let the personal, emotional, hate comments be confined to kopi-tiam chats but we have to the raise the standards of debate when in comes to writing, to effectively challenge the incumbents, otherwise there is absolutely no hope for Singaporeans, now or ever.////

    very well, said. & that you have a much more level head than most here, including me. :)

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    re Gemami,

    no wonder today rain so heavy & now so cool. if shivering now, time to wear a sweater or jacket to keep warm.

    …. & guard that piggy!! :P

  • ErniesUrn

    Wow ..with such losses, how does one not make a rope and hang herself… but still live on.. and still have accolades to collect?

    Dead blood money in my book and also other Singaporeans books.

  • in the shadow

    #89 – You now have the basis of comparison. The question is who do you want to compare Temasek with? I suspect friendlier people will choose the MSCI World Index and Abu Dhabi while less friendly people will choose Norway..

    The pragmatic approach is to choose alternatives within one’s reach. One can invest in the MSCI World index, but can’t invest in the Norwegian fund. If one wants to invest himself, then don’t expect the government to regulate “foolish” investments.

    I hope “the crowd” see my point.

  • Jim Raynor

    PAP = Pay And Pay

  • Gilbert

    To be fair to the fund, every other fund also lost money some to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. It was that bad this year.

    What irked me was that they remained nonchalant and no one dared tocome out and apologised or at least talk about such losses.

    For that, Ho Ching got her gold medal May Day award and got to leave the company in good stead handing over to someone to take the rap. This is unacceptable even though she is the PM’s wife.

    Now she is determining the next investment phase for Temasek before she departed from a company that she nearly bankrupted.

    The way we are governed, I foresee that we will face massive problems in future. There is a real lack of transparency here and officers got away from responsibilities. No one seemed responsible here and we always make scapegoats of junior officers.

  • Wee Long

    why you guys complain? if anyone of you is in the job, do you think you can do better? Ho Ching lose just a few billions. Others may lose hundreds if not thousands of billions more. Who are you to say Ho Ching is not the best. So shut up and sit down!

  • Harrison

    It is interesting to note that Temasek Holdings’ astronomical loss did not have to be answered by Ho Ching, the paid CEO. In recent days, finance minister Tharman said that he is prepared to answer any questions relating to Temasek’s loss in parliament. Not too long ago, Tharman did express that Temasek is independent from the govt and makes investment decisions on its own.

    Mr Tharman, are you now being made answerable for Ho Ching’s mess because of your superior’s request?

    By the way, have we come to terms with the fact that just 1% of the investments is worth more than $100 million already?

  • DavidSeeLeongKit

    Re 107) Jim Raynor PAP = Pay And Pay

    Latest versions: PAP = Pathetic And Pathetic
    PAP = Pissed And Pissed

    PAP say: Pay peanuts, and you will get Corrupt Monkeys!
    S’poreans say: Pay big bananas, but still get Incompetent Chimpanzees!!!

  • ACACIA

    The time will come in our life time when Ho Ching, Temasek and GIC will be investigated, history has a funny way of paying back the good and bad in all situations. More pressure and sensible arguments must come from the net to get answers. When it comes to the country’s monies there is no such thing as being independant or secret. it is our money too indirectly and we want to know where it went and how, what are the safe guards for future monies and investments. What pisses me off is this, we have not benefitted at all from all these investments. Why are we still struggling , increases every year, where are we heading to? It’s like this. A country with oil but the prices at the pump are sky high, pray tell?

  • gj

    #Wee Long(term)
    Dont be silly,nobody,nobody can do worse!

  • Tony Tan

    This episode shows a lack of accountability and leadership.

    We all can accept that mistakes can be made. But it is not acceptable if people make the mistake (e.g. like failing an exam and pretending to score As) and want to wish away the responsiblity by giving poor ungrounded explanations in the Straits Times.

    I believe Singaporeans just merely want to know the truth, and know how the bad mistakes are made and what we are doing to prevent recurrent of such mistake. We always pride that we have system that works. In this case, it fails as the decision should have been vetoed.

    Secondly those that make mistake should be held responsible. This is about leadership. Make a poor judgement & you have to pay for it – it is NOT your money. Afterall, you have been handsomely paid for the job. Hiding in the shadow further teaches our future generation that it is ok to make mistake after you are high up in the corporate ladder. You will be protected.

    I will not want such people to lead the country or corporations as they breed the thinking that leadership is about protecting yourself.

  • Gilbert

    One wonders whether the huge losses incurred will make an impact on the forthcoming election?

    I am sure it will.

  • Yang

    Gilbert, before the next election. All of us will be feed with a lot goodies and will forget what had happened in the past. History repeat itself in S’pore. Human beings tend to forget the past when present time is good. I would urge all capable S’poreans to stand up for the next election so that we can monitor what is going on in the government operation. There must be some kind of check in place! Good Luck and Stand Up For S’pore.

  • aiyoyo

    aiyoyo

    not sure if elites stand up & take actions on this?

    aiyoyo

  • gemami

    #113) gj,

    You are very wrong! There are people who will do worse. Those who still support such bad invesments and give reason that no one could have done better. Gosh! No one is Singapore is smarter than Ho Ching. A nice big cake to swallow!

  • toiletmatter

    why you guys complain? if anyone of you is in the job, do you think you can do better? Ho Ching lose just a few billions. Others may lose hundreds if not thousands of billions more. Who are you to say Ho Ching is not the best. So shut up and sit down!

    how much hc pay u to write this piece of xxxx

  • mice is nice

    since investing is made to be such a hit-&-miss job with so many variables beyond one’s control, many would be qualified & cost way less.

    … or maybe a team of (apolitical) professionals from diverse backgrounds each dealing with a specific discipline could make a more sound judgement? afterall its everyone’s money.

  • Dear Mr. Iskandar

    95) Iskandar on May 18th, 2009 9.11 am
    “Let the personal, emotional, hate comments be confined to kopi-tiam chats but we have to the raise the standards of debate when in comes to writing, to effectively challenge the incumbents, otherwise there is absolutely no hope for Singaporeans, now or ever.”

    Dear Mr. Iskandar,

    I am much mesmerised by your non-emotional & rational story, albeit from the kind of difficult-to-explain hynotic effect. After all this from you, I still do not see any tinge of effect on them (i mean the incumbents).

  • Daniel

    That’s terrible ! Look like the world knows about the Temasek jinx. Anything that Temasek touch will be jinxed, and the moment it sell all stake of BOA, the share price goes up. Maybe the world knows that whatever Temasek invest, it will go low, and when it uninvest, the company’s share price will go high. Yes, Temasek must now reveal their strategies as which invested companies to dump its share so that investors can buy more of that companies.

    Actually, we cannot blame Temasek for bad timing of offloading its share of BOA because it may due to Temasek offloading all stakes that the share price goes up as the world know of the Temasek Jinx. So anyone want to be smart investor might want to find out which is the next companies Temasek is going to offload their share.

    Wow… uniquely Temasek.

  • amandai@fisian.com

    Temasek is not the Jinx. The Ho is. She should have left Temasek straight away instead of dragging her ass on Goodyear.

    The whole saga again proves that our 1st-world, world-class, million-dollar, PAP government has NO ACCOUNTABILITY AT ALL. NOT AT ALL.

  • gemami

    Temasek Holdings released a statement repeating that its investments are for the long term. According to the report in TODAY papers, Myrna Thomas, MD for Corporate Affairs, said: “Temasek invests with the onjective of delivering sustainable returns over the long term.

    She did not give a clue how long is ‘long term’? She is worse than the TV add guy who, at least, promised to “give it all back“.

    “You know me. My luck is changing. I am going to strike the big one. Imagine what we can do. One more try. I promise I will give it all back” – this is the long term objective of a gambler.

  • George

    Managing the nation wealth is a resposibility that we SinKaporean expect the appointed CEO to take seriously. It is a fact , sometime investment suffer loses but the one in charge should take responsibility for it. A simple explanation and apology will goes a long way to show some humanity to the citizen. An open discussion might even benefit those in charge as the right and wrong will be aired. A lesson learn session but sadly we the citizen are too low down to be deserving such an honour. I must admit, the author by the user name “simple” is right to say we need to vote in a new party to learn the truth about this affair. We as a country have many problems but the biggest one is the ruling party. They are not part of the solution anymore but the Problem.

  • valin

    i suspect, by 2010/2011, when the Great Singapore Farce of an election rolls around and the economy is well on its way up again, Singaporeans will have forgotten what has transpired.

    a new face will be at temasek’s head (still under the Lee Family), new schemes to “reward” us will be given.

    the only thing our country lacks now, is a leader with enough charisma and cunning to forge the opposition into a force to be reckoned with, i.e Anwar Ibrahim of malaysia and yukio hatoyama of japan (the latter to a certain extent). our prominent opposition MPs are LTK and CST, and ms Sylvia Lim as an NCMP, who is basically powerless to do anything.

    i have faith in my fellow singaporeans my age, who are enlightened and do not just blindly lead their lives as the PAP would have us doing. we form the future of our country, and the opposition must of course have realised this, well, at least i hope so.

    @ Iskandar: pay no attention to people like budamax. you speak the truth and do so lucidly.

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