Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, in a reply to a Swedish journalist who pressed him on how Singapore prevents nepotism associated with a one-party government, have strongly rebutted claims that nepotism exists, and cited the examples of Temasek and GIC.
In the interview with the Swiss newspaper, Heng reaffirmed that the Singapore government has strict rules against nepotism, and brought forward the examples of Singapore’s soveriegn wealth funds, Temasek and GIC. He asserted that as Finance Minister, he is responsible to answer to Parliament any questions arising from Temasek’s and GIC’s actions, and that he also hold the Temasek and GIC leaders accountable for their own actions. He asserted that even as Finance Minister, he does not intervene in their decisions, and thus he can hold the GIC and Temasek leaders accountable for their own decisions, without the Government having a hand in decisions made.
What he did not say, but what is common knowledge, is that Temasek is run by Ho Ching, who is the Prime Minister’s wife, and she had been at the helm of Temasek since 2002. PM Lee became Prome Minister of Singapore in 2004, but he had been leading the PAP for years prior to his appointment as PM. Ho Ching’s salary has also been a gazetted State Secret for as long as Singaporeans can remember.
The GIC, meanwhile, has PM Lee as its chairman of its Board. Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is the group’s Deputy Chairman. PAP heavyweights like DPM Heng himself, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean and former Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang are also directors at GIC.