Following the acquittal of Liew Mun Leong’s former domestic worker, Parti Liyani, on four charges of theft, the internet exploded with calls for Mr Liew to step down from his various roles in major companies in Singapore. Netizens even flooded the Changi Airport Facebook page demanding for him to step down.
On Thursday (10 September), Mr Liew announced his early retirement and said he has stepped down as Chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong, as well as from his role as senior international business advisor of Temasek and board member of Temasek Foundation.
As the story continues to unfold, a reddit user posted on Wednesday (8 September) a screenshot of an old email that seems to have been send out to everyone in CAG and Surbana Jurong by Mr Liew in his capacity as chairman with the subject line: “It Takes Leadership and Courage to Fight Corruption.”
The email reads, “I feel strongly that a leader should accept personal responsibility for creating a corruption-free environment in his organisation. Integrity is the very pinnacle of quality in leadership.
“If the leader is not clear, the organisation will inevitably rot. As the saying goes, “the fish rots from the head.”
He added that declaring integrity alone is not enough but it must be followed up by actions and the example set by the leader of the organisation who should “put integrity at the top of his mind and priorities to ensure that corruption does not take root at any time.”
“He must be committed to the cause. He must not only be honest but must be seen to be honest,” the email ended.
One redditor did not miss the opportunity to note that Mr Liew is basically “ownself check ownself”.
High Court found “improper motive” on the part of Mr Liew and his son in accusing Parti of theft
This particular email highlighted on reddit of course harks back to the judgment of the High Court which found that Mr Liew and his son, Karl Liew, had “improper motives” in lodging a police report against Ms Parti and accusing her of theft in order to prevent her from lodging a formal complaint to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regarding her illegal deployment to junior Mr Liew’s residence and office.
In his over 100-page judgdment, Justice Chan Seng Onn reasoned that “there was in fact ample basis for Parti to make a complaint to the MOM” based on the evidence shown by Parti regarding the “illegal cleaning work” she was asked to carry out at Mr Karl’s residence at 39 Chancery Lane and at his office.
“Parti’s evidence is that she received $10 for two to three days of work, and the payment was not regular,” he said.
Justice Chan also drew attention to conflicts between the domestic worker and the Liew family involving Ms Parti’s refusal to clean the toilet in Mr Karl’s residence and her objection against making extra food for him.
“Further, when Karl told Parti that her employment was terminated, her immediate response to him was “I know why. You angry because I refused to clean up your toilet”,” the judge noted.
On top of Ms Parti making her unhappiness evident regarding being made to do the illegal cleaning work “probably without adequate compensation”, Justice Chan highlighted that such an arrangement “was illegal and an offence against the MOM regulations”.
Under MOM’s rules on hiring foreign domestic workers, a domestic worker is only permitted to work for her employer and at the residential address stated in her Work Permit.
He said, “In my judgment, there is reason to believe that the Liew family, upon realising her unhappiness, took the pre-emptive first step to terminate her employment suddenly without giving her sufficient time for her to pack, in the hope that Parti would not use the time to make a complaint to MOM.”