When debate around the proposed fake news bill was starting to gain more and more traction with various experts and members of the public loudly voicing their concerns over the overarching powers that the bill would afford to ministers, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugan gave an interview with Channel NewsAsia (CNA) to clarify certain points of concerns.
He has said, “The people who need to be concerned are the people who profit from and peddle in falsehoods,” adding that “99% of the people don’t have to worry about what they do 99% of the time.”
The article was then shared by the Prime Minister’s wife, Ho Ching on 15 April on her Facebook page who added the comment, “Of course, the purveyors of fake news will object, right?” So Ho Ching is saying that only those who are guilty will object to this law, fearing that the law would be used to prosecute them.
Now, can we use that same logic over questions of transparency when it comes to Temasek Holdings, the company in which Ho Ching is a CEO? For years the public have been trying to figure out the specifics of how much Ho Ching and other top Temasek leadership makes but that detail is still being withheld.
Back in June 2018, blogger Phillip Ang speculated that it could be somewhere around $100 million a year. Others were speculating as well, guessing at perhaps $24 million or even $1 billion. Unfortunately, no one can be certain of the actual figure because Temasek doesn’t reveal its financial statements.
In fact, Temasek Holding is an exempt private company under the Singapore Companies Act which means the company isn’t required to publish audited statutory consolidated financial statements. It’s even stated on the Temasek website:
So going by the same argument used by Ho Ching that only ‘purveyors of fake news’ would object to the propose fake news law, then only those who have something to hide would be against transparency, right?
Wouldn’t public companies that have nothing to hide not fear revealing their records and or fear calls for transparency?