I read with shock that DBS Bank is going to give out $1000 to all local and foreign DBS employees at the level of vice-president and below, to celebrate SG50. The bank estimates that this will work out to be $10 million.
I am disturbed why DBS, a Singapore born and bred bank is being so generous to its employees, many of whom are not even Singaporeans. Many will already know DBS was actually set up with government's money, i.e. The people's money.
DBS was set up by Government of Singapore in June 1968 by our remarkable pioneer minister Hon Sui Sen, to take over the industrial financing activities from the Economic Development Board. In 1998, DBS swallowed POSB Bank at a cheap, making it the largest bank in Singapore and Southeast Asia. POSB was a statutory board under Ministry of Finance and was well-funded by the thrifty Singaporeans who saved their hard-earned money in the bank.
DBS would never be the regional giant it is today without the support of the Singapore government and the money of Singaporeans. Today, Temasek is a major shareholder of DBS and again, Temasek is owned by the government, using the money of tax-paying Singaporeans to invest.
As many Singaporeans know, many of the DBS counter staff are Malaysians while the back office has many many Filipinos. Why do they deserve the $1000 on SG50? To me, this is not a celebration of SG50, this is an excuse to distribute money to DBS staff. If DBS really want to celebrate SG50, it should reward our pioneer generation with cash topups of their accounts, now that's a real celebration for those who build Singapore!