by Teo Soh Lung
I was exceedingly amused by the letter written by the President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry regarding the leak of the audio recording of Minister Chan Chun Sing’s rant at a private meeting with business leaders. His letter expressed the fear that its standing of “high repute” has been damaged by the leak. It also expressed the disappointment and regret about the conduct of one of its members and the erosion of trust between the Chamber and the minister.
If I can offer a bit of consolation to the President here.
Don’t worry about the leak. Recording private meetings are done by governments all the time. Your member’s conduct is not disgraceful at all.
One example I can give is the unauthorised recording of my speech at a private extraordinary general meeting of the Singapore Law Society sometime in the 1980s. My speech was secretly recorded and reproduced verbatim for the then prime minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew who attempted to run me down (though unsuccessfully) at the Parliamentary Select Committee hearing on the Amendment to the Legal Profession Act in 1986.
So Mr President, don’t worry. If the government can behave in such a disgraceful manner when dealing with a professional body like the Law Society, which in my view is much more important than your business Chamber, your member’s leak of an audio clip of the minister is quite in order.
There is also no need to regret that your member has brought down the Chamber’s good name. You and your council may be too conceited to think that the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a chamber of “high repute”. To me, your chamber has done nothing for the ordinary people of Singapore. Indeed your chamber merely caters for the rich and powerful, the ministers and the business people. Let me give you one example of how you have failed the ordinary people.
You have a very impressive auditorium named after one of your founders, the well known philanthropist and activist, Mr Tan Kah Kee. It is open for rental both by your members as well as the public.
In 2015, I, on behalf of my organisation, Function 8, booked the auditorium for the launch of LIVING IN A TIME OF DECEPTION by Dr Poh Soo Kai, the grandson of Mr Tan Kah Kee. I paid the rental deposit of $510 as a member of the public. A few days after the booking, I was informed that members of your council have rejected my booking. No reason was given.
I immediately wrote to the chamber to reconsider the irrational decision of your council members. I copied my letter to all the council members who had valid email addresses. Your chamber of so called “high repute” did not even bother to respond or give reasons why the grandson of your founder could not even launch his book at the auditorium that is named after his grandfather.
Come on Mr President. There is no need to investigate who leaked the audio recording of the disgraceful rant of Minister Chan Chun Sing. You don’t have a reputation as far as I am concern. And I am sure, the public don’t care.