Update on 12 Sept: Surbana Jurong states in an email to Toc that Mr Liew Mun Leong will not be receiving a retirement payout.
Surbana Jurong in a press release on Friday evening (11 Sep) stating that its board of directors has accepted the resignation of its former Chairman, Liew Liew Mun Leong.
Mr Liew had earlier announced to the media on Thursday (10 Sept) that he will be retiring from his public service and business roles at Changi Airport Group, Surbana Jurong, Temasek Foundation, and Temasek International.
Mr Liew’s announcement follows the judgement from the High Court last Friday to acquit the four theft-related convictions of his former domestic worker, Ms Parti Liyani which originated from allegations of theft made by him in 2016 and the public outcry over the perception that he had framed his domestic worker for an offence that she did not commit.
The Temasek-owned company thanked Mr Liew for his service, saying that his “immeasurable contributions” to the company will never be forgotten.
“Throughout his tenure, Mr Liew demonstrated the exceptional vision, leadership, courage and passion needed for Surbana Jurong to succeed, grow and serve its clients around the world,” the statement read.
“His immeasurable contributions to the Group will not be forgotten. With deepest gratitude, we thank Mr Liew for his service and wish him the very best in the future.”
Mr Liew joined Surbana Jurong as founding chairman after a merger between Jurong International Holdings and Surbana International Consultants was completed in 22 June 2015.
“Under his guidance, Surbana Jurong made a series of transformative acquisitions to forge an integrated technical consultancy services platform with a complete value proposition for the built environment,” the company said.
“Mr Liew encouraged Surbana Jurong’s foray into non-traditional consultancy fields including infrastructure fund management, through which the Group has formed valuable partnerships for project investments in the region.”
It added that Mr Liew “paved the way for Surbana Jurong to expand its global presence”, which led to the company increasing its revenue fivefold, more than half of which is derived from business outside Singapore.
He made “great efforts to strengthen the management bench and develop staff, putting a strong focus on training and continuous learning and making time to personally interview potential senior management candidates”, the company said.
“He will always be remembered for the business and leadership lectures he delivered to staff and the Sunday Emails he invested time to write, a vehicle for sharing his wealth of insights and experience,” Surbana Jurong added.
Non-answer from Surbana Jurong about payout to Mr Liew
Earlier today, TOC wrote to Subana Jurong to ask about whether would Mr Liew receive a retirement package or payout at the time of/after his retirement.
In response, Sheena Kwek, Manager of Surbana Jurong’s Group Communications and Branding wrote back to note that the company will be issuing a statement later in the day.
However, with Surbana Jurong’s non-answer in its statement on Friday night, one would wonder if Mr Liew will get a generous golden handshake from the company for his “immeasurable contributions” despite the public outcry for justice.
“Improper motive” by members of the Liew family in mounting allegations of theft
Justice Chan Seng Onn in his written judgement on Ms Parti’s case, noted the existence of “improper motive” by members of the Liew family in mounting these allegations of theft against Ms Parti as she had earlier made known her intentions of filing a complaint with MOM over the fact that she was illegally deployed to clean Karl Liew’s home and office.
Justice Chan noted:
“It is clear to me based on the evidence at the trial below that Parti was in fact made to do illegal cleaning work at Karl’s residence at 39 CL and at Karl’s office. Parti’s evidence is that she received $10 for two to three days of work, and the payment was not regular. In fact, there was a prior dispute between Parti and the Liew family over the cleaning of the toilet in 39 CL; when Mdm Ng requested Parti to do so, she refused. There was also another incident where Parti refused to cook extra food for Karl.”
He continued, “It is significant that at some time prior to her termination, Parti had expressed unhappiness for being made to do additional cleaning work at Karl’s home in 39 CL and at his office, probably without adequate compensation. It demonstrates Parti’s prior unhappiness in relation to such an arrangement, which was illegal and an offence against the MOM regulations.”
“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,” he reasoned.
The police report lodged by the Liews after Ms Parti explicitly stated her desire to notify MOM of her illegal deployment after her sudden termination, Justice Chan observed, was a way to “ensure her return would be prevented”.
“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,” he said.
The Liew family’s decision to abruptly terminate Ms Parti’s employment, noted Justice Chan, was based on items that went missing “over the years” and not those were recently discovered to be missing around the time the termination took place.
“In my view, this is not believable and it is more likely that the fear of Parti’s complaint to MOM rendered her termination urgent, at least in the eyes of the Liew family,” he said.
Ms Parti was convicted and sentenced to two years and two months at the State Court but her convictions were overturned by Justice Chan in her appeal.