Ho Ching's Facebook post adds fuel to the public donations debate

Donations, donations, donations.

Sulaiman Daud | July 29, 2020, 06:41 PM

Ho Ching, Temasek Holdings CEO, shared a somewhat cryptic post on Facebook on the subject of public donations.

On July 29, she began by saying many people donate "quietly" without making public announcements.

She added that some people donate anonymously, some put their donations in their wills, while others publicise some of their donations while maintaining privacy on others.

Not all are angels

She also said that "not all are angels".

She added that there are people who will "scheme to get money from others", including friends and family, either by stealth, manipulation or cheating.

Ho Ching did not specify if such villains are the same ones who make donations that she was referring to earlier.

She concluded with:

"Take all kinds - and only some may be caught by law.

Everyone has to answer to their conscience, the Almighty, and their karma in time to come."

You can see her Facebook post below:

Pritam Singh's donations

Ho Ching did not spell out what prompted her to share her thoughts on the matter.

But it comes just a day after the announcement that Pritam Singh, Workers' Party chief and MP-elect for Aljunied, will be getting an increased allowance for his official appointment as Leader of the Opposition, along with increased responsibilities.

Later that evening, Pritam announced that he would donate half of the increase to charity.

PM Lee's donations

Ho Ching's husband, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has also donated much to charity.

In a 2012 PMO statement, PM Lee announced that he would donate a total of S$350,000 to establish three awards for various good causes:

  • Community Initiatives Fund under the People's Association
  • Prime Minister's Social Service Award
  • Prime Minister's Valedictorian Award

Following the Ministerial salary adjustments in 2007, PM Lee also donated the increase in his salary to charity.

As seems to be common in Singapore, there was some bickering online, with commenters comparing Pritam and PM Lee.

Economist Donald Low said that it was prudent of Pritam to get ahead of the news cycle on speculations regarding his allowance.

Low also noted that PM Lee, correctly in his view, donated his salary increase to charity for five years.

Film-maker Martyn See had a more critical take and assumed that Ho Ching was referring to Pritam Singh.

But since both men made their donations public, Ho Ching might be referring to someone else.

Perhaps all can learn from poet Joshua Ip, who listed the members of parliament who have donated their allowances.

Ip preferred to take "a more charitable view" of their actions and gave them a big "thank you" for their time and money.

Top image from MCI.