On Sunday (19 April), state-owned investment management firm Temasek Holdings denied claims that its CEO Ho Ching earns an annual salary of S$99 million.
This follows several days after a Taiwan news show claimed that Mdm Ho – who is also the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – earns about TWD2.1 billion (S$99 million) a year or about S$300,000 a day as the incumbent Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings.
Though it rarely ever addressed the matter of remuneration of its top management, this time Temasek addressed the claims of Ho Ching’s salary directly in a statement, merely saying that the claim is “false”. Temasek also noted that Ho Ching’s annual compensation is not the highest within the firm nor is she among the top five highest paid executives.
The statement went on to elaborate on the company’s compensation framework which it says “aligns employee and shareholder interests over economic cycles”.
The statement said, “Incentives focus on long term performance, and ensure employees share gains and pains alongside Temasek’s shareholder during the economic cycles.”
“Deferred compensation is an integral part of our compensation and clawbacks have been applied during years where the performance requires it.”
Netizens on the CNA Facebook page with over 700 comments, however, were less than satisfied with Temasek’s statement, with many calling for transparency from the company, asking them to reveal Mdm Ho’s salary and that of its top executives.
One user named Barley, however, asked why the salary needs to be revealed, proposing that it is ‘silly’ to know a boss’ salary.
But other’s pointed out that Temasek Holding’s is wholly owned by the government and is a sovereign wealth fund, meaning the employee salaries are paid for by the public funds. Netizens stressed that this means the public have a right to know how their money is being used by the company, even in terms of remuneration for employees.
A couple of users even asked why Mdm Ho, who is the wife of PM Lee, is the CEO of Temasek, suggesting that this needs to be addressed for the sake of accountability.