On Wednesday (8 September), at a virtual media conference on Temasek’s performance about Mr Liew’s involvement in the his former domestic worker’s criminal charges, International chief executive Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara said, “There are many individuals who have contributed to both public service and to the private sector in Singapore for the benefit of Singapore and our population as a whole. (Mr Liew) is one of those persons, and his track record at CapitaLand, at Changi Airport Group, and at Surbana Jurong attest to that.”
This follows after the High Court ruled to acquit Mr Liew’s former domestic worker, Ms Parti Liyani of the four theft-related charges which she was previously found guilty in the State Courts of stealing over S$34,000 worth of items that allegedly belong to Mr Liew and his family.
In the High Court judgement, Justice Chan Seng Onn noted the possible motive by Mr Liew’s family had to filed a police report against Ms Parti on 30 October 2016 which led to her arrest and charged filed.
Highlighting that Ms Parti had threatened to file a complaint to the Ministry of Manpower for illegal deployment by the Liew family, he wrote, “Given the seriousness of the consequences that might follow from what Parti said she would do, I have reason to believe that the Liew family would be very concerned that Parti would carry out her threat to report the matter to MOM.
“On the totality of the evidence, I find that the Prosecution has failed to dispel the reasonable doubt raised by the Defence and show that there was no improper motive by Mr Liew and Karl in making the police report.”
During the media conference, Mr Pillay said to Straits Times that he would not comment further on the matter, citing ongoing proceedings on the case.
However, he said: “I think we should hear from Mr Liew on his side of the issue, and not come quick to judgment until we’ve heard all sides of things.”
Following this response, the internet erupted with many netizens slamming the Temasek International Chief Executive for defending Mr Liew and questioning the company’s values in doing so, as can be seen on the Facebook pages of TODAY and Straits Times.
Some said that whatever contributions Mr Liew might have made in his professional capacity does not excuse his poor decisions and behaviour regarding the case of his former domestic helper.
Several online users noted the “double standard” being used in this instance: one for a prominent figure like Mr Liew, versus another for “commoners”.
Netizens also emphasised that no one should be above the law in Singapore and that no one should have the right to abuse their power the way Mr Liew did.
On top of that, there were also a few netizens who drew similarities between this focus on Mr Liew’s contributions over his wrongdoings and the case of students who got off easy on sexual assault charges because they have a “bright future”.