Despite the widespread criticism that some of CEO of Temasek Holdings, Ho Ching’s social media uploads have generated, it seems clear that the Prime Minister’s wife shows no signs of slowing down.
Most recently, Ho has drawn flak for seemingly taking pot shots at Leader of the Opposition (LO) and elected member of parliament (MP) for Aljunied Group Representative Constituency (GRC) from the Workers’ Party (WP), Pritam Singh for making a public announcement saying that he would be donating half of his LO salary to charitable causes.
Given that her own husband had previously made his own charitable donations public, it did seem odd that Ho took umbrage to Singh seemingly doing the same thing. This led some to wonder if her annoyance at Singh’s public donation had more to do with who was making the announcement rather than what was being announced. If it were a PAP MP that was publicly making charitable donations, it is probable that Ho would have praised that individual instead of taking aim at the public nature of the donation.
Fast forward a mere few days, it would seem that our Prime Minister’s Missus is at it again. Undeterred by the storm of controversy she caused over the “Singh LO salary donation” incident, she has now turned her sights on yet another WP MP. Looking at Ho’s re post of an article by the Critical Spectator (CS), a website that is arguably “foreign” in nature, this time, it is WP MP for Sengkang GRC, Jamus Lim that is in Mrs Lee’s hot seat.
With his string of qualifications, Lim is seen as the “intellectual” opposition MP. Given his recent stellar performance at the first live political debate in the history of Singapore, perhaps Ho cannot resist the allure of weaponising her social media presence to attack him. This is despite the fact that her husband has just issued a “rules of prudence” to PAP MPs exhorting them not to use their social media accounts to attack others. Clearly, rules do not apply to the prolific Mrs Lee. Rules appear to only apply to the undefined “others”.
Among other intellectual nitpicking, the CS has implied that the newly elected Lim is detached from reality and is but a mere “academic economist” with no real practical experience. An example the CS used to back up its attack on Lim was that while Lim had said that productive growth in Singapore was stagnant, Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures had actually trebled.
In reposting the CS article, Mrs Lee has either not fully read the CS article, not fully understood the CS article, misunderstood Lim or she has no real grasp on the difference between “productivity growth” and “GDP” figures.
GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time. On its own, it has no bearing on how well the citizens in that country are living. For example, the GDP generated by numerous building projects in Singapore utilising cheap foreign labour would contribute to high GDP figures but may not necessarily translate to locals benefiting from such “production”. Productivity growth on the other hand is about creating jobs that Singaporeans want as opposed to the model of bringing in low-wage foreign workers and high-skilled foreign talent to boost GDP figures. While the latter requires an in depth look at policy, the former is a lazy and short term way of making the country look optically rich even if such wealth does not benefit the citizenry as a whole.
Besides being an associate professor of economics at ESSEC Business School, Lim worked at the World Bank, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Singapore-based independent investment management firm Thirdrock.
In re posting the article, is Ho divulging her potential lack of understanding? Or does she not read what she re posts?