It has been reported that Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling will be redeployed to a different department by Grab Singapore to a corporate development role at the company as a Director of Corporate Development after the public furore over the possible conflicts of interest arising from her official positions as an MP and her duties as Director of Public Affairs and Policy of Grab

But could there, arguably, still be the possibility of a conflict of interest, abeit a reduced on, in view of the change in the job title, scope and role?

In this connection, one may be reminded of a letter published in the Business Times on Mar 29, 2012, about “conflict of interest”, which is reproduced below.

“Wrong message from SGX on conflict of interest” — 29 MARCH 2012, Business Times

I REFER to the article ‘SGX makes Davinder a non- independent director’ (BT, March 27).

When a director has a business relationship with the Singapore Exchange (SGX), it may be deemed a conflict of interest.

Since this was the reason for the change, does it make much of a difference when an independent director is redesignated as a non- independent director?

In a sense, when there is a conflict of interest, it continues to exist regardless of whether one is an independent director or a non-independent one.

A conflict of interest does not disappear or become diminished just by a redesignation from an independent director to a non-independent director.

As a market regulator, SGX should be the leading light for corporate governance standards in Singapore.

The Exchange may be sending the wrong message to companies with regard to corporate governance on how – or rather how not – to address conflict of interest issues when they are raised.”

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