Manpower Minister Sent Legal Letters to 2 People for Baseless Claims; Require Them to Donate $1k to Charity

Like my fellow writer said: What are complicated times without a little douse of unsolicited rumours?

Surbana Jurong’s involvement in setting up the Community Care Facilities (CCFs) and running them was the source of rumours for the past few days.

Image: Giphy

The company was pushed into the limelight after several posts about alleged corruption made its rounds on WhatsApp and social media:

  • Manpower Minister, Josphine Teo’s husband, Teo Eng Cheong, is the International Chief Executive in charge of Singapore, Southeast Asia and North Asia at Surbana Jurong.
  • PAP Members of the Parliament, Desmond Choo and Dr Yacoob Ibrahim were Surbana Jurong board members.

The company, as well as the Ministry of National Development (MND) and Ministry of Health (MOH), has issued statements in response to the accusations.

The entire thing’s too long so I’m going to give you the TL; DR:

“These accusations are baseless and disrespectful of the hard work we’re doing to help the community.”

Yes, they sound disappointed.

How disappointed? Disappointed enough to do this:

Manpower Minister Sent Legal Letters to 2 People for Baseless Claims; Require Them to Donate $1k to Charity

On 20 May, it was confirmed that Manpower Minister, Mrs Josephine Teo, is firing back.

She had gotten her lawyers to send two formal letters of demand to two persons who accused her and her husband of corruption and profiteering.

Her lawyers clarified that, in the selection process for Surbana Jurong to help set up and run the CCFs, Mrs Teo was not involved at all.

As long as the two people are willing to withdraw their accusations publicly, she will not pursue further legal actions against them.

It was added that the letter requires the recipients to pay $1,000 to the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund as well.

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You can read her full statement, issued by her law firm, Allen & Gledhill below:

Some false statements have recently been circulated, accusing me and my spouse of profiteering and corruption in relation to the community care facilities developed by Surbana Jurong.”

These claims are untrue, scurrilous and completely baseless.

On these projects, Surbana Jurong dealt directly with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Development. Neither my spouse nor I have any involvement with the commissioning of these projects or the monetary transactions.

I understand that I am legally entitled to substantial damages for these serious and baseless allegations. However, I do not intend to pursue the matter further, or to claim damages, if the allegations are publicly withdrawn, and apologies given. This has been made clear in my lawyers’ letters,” said the statement.

The letters also require the two persons to make a donation of S$1,000 each to the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund.

No Profits Involved

When the various ministries refute the accusations, it was emphasised that the various CCFs are the result of the entire community coming together and profit wasn’t a factor:

  • Temasek was approached because they have the “necessary resources, to be marshalled, at short notice, through its subsidiaries”
  • any work done will be at cost-recovery, or below cost
  • no profits will be made for Temasek and Temasek-linked companies
  • Temasek doesn’t get management fees and only invoice the government for payments made to third-party
  • Surbana Jurong only gets paid for “direct expenditure
  • MOM and the Manpower Minister was not involved in the process at all

Sounds like Temasek and Surbana Jurong took up a charity project.

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