SEC Chairman at the extreme left and PAP MP Teo Ho Pin in the middle. (Photo - NEA)

Be Fair and Transparent, Singapore Environment Council

By Chris Soh

Three weeks after he was suspended from duties, it has somewhat become slightly clearer why the Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) Edwin Seah was suspended from duties.

According to the report in TODAY, it had to do with how he planned proceedings for the annual Asian Environmental Journalism Awards which was successfully held on 12 October, and also a suspicion that he may have blown the whistle on a possible conflict of interest issue involving the Chairman of the SEC Isabella Loh.

Question is: do these really warrant a suspension of the leader of the organization?

Yesterday, the SEC said that Seah had a “good discussion” with members of the Special Committee, which lasted two hours. In previous statements after his suspension, the SEC had said that “investigations” were ongoing, which somewhat gave the public the impression that Seah had made a grievous error involving mismanagement of money.

The Special Committee is made up of People’s Action Party Member of Parliament and Mayor of Northwest CDC Teo Ho Pin, Secretary-General of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation Lam Joon Khoi and National Environment Agency director Dalson Chung.

The Chairman of the SEC Isabella Loh, who is understood to have initiated the suspension of Edwin Seah did not attend the special inquiry on 3 November.

It is of note that George Huang, who is Isabella Loh’s husband, is the Emeritus President of the SMF where Lam Joon Khoi is a full-time paid staff.

In a Facebook post yesterday, prominent eco-warrior Eugene Tay said “SEC must be fair and transparent in this matter because it is one of the largest environmental NGOs in Singapore and also its board members include representatives from NEA, PUB and NParks.”

Indeed, among the members on the Board of the SEC, which is an NGO include two PAP Members of Parliament and a host of government officials, as follows:

  • Teo Ho Pin – Vice Chairman, PAP MP and Mayor
  • Dr Leong Chee Chiew – Board Director, Deputy CEO, NParks
  • Dalson Chung – Board Director, NEA Director
  • Rahayu Mahzam – Board Director, PAP MP
  • Tan Nguan Sen – Board Director, PUB Chief of Sustainability
  • Lee Kheng Seng – Board Observer, 3P Network Director, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

Observers whom TOC spoke to said that there are too many tell-tale signs at the SEC which require a possible intervention by the Charities Unit.