Letter To The Wall Street Journal, 8 Sep 2009
Correcting Temasek Misperceptions
We wish to correct some fundamental misperceptions in your Aug. 31 editorial "Temasek's Revised Charter."
First, Temasek is an investment company set up as an asset owner to seek returns by taking investment risks. While our sole shareholder is the Singapore government, we are not a "fund," and do not manage Singapore "citizens' earnings." It is factually wrong to imply that Singaporeans have no choice but to "keep their money with the fund."
Secondly, the editorial confused the role of the president of Singapore. Under the Singapore Constitution, the president has a critical role to safeguard the past reserves which have been accumulated prior to the current government's term of office in designated organizations such as Temasek. This reflects Singapore's philosophy of fiscal discipline in not spending beyond our means for each generation.
For Temasek, any excessive expenditure exceeding our current reserves would constitute a draw on our past reserves. This is why our chairman and CEO report the position of our reserves to the president every half year, and are required to seek his concurrence for any draw on our past reserves.
The president's concurrence is also required for the appointment or removal of Temasek's CEO and board members, so that no government can remove these key officers at will. These constitutional powers of the president do not involve him in our operational or business decisions.
As a progressive and professionally disciplined institution, Temasek provides full disclosures on its special relationship with the president annually in its Temasek Review.
Managing Director, Corporate Affairs
Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited
1) Where does the monies come from ? Just drop from the sky?
2) If president's concurrence is also required for the appointment or removal of Temasek's CEO and board members, yet president do not involve him in our operational or business decisions. Then how is he able to make sound decision?