In a move that no one would’ve expected, MacPherson Member of Parliament (MP) Tin Pei Ling has been redeployed in Grab amid debate over conflict of interest.
According to Grab, this took place after Grab and her had discussions on her career aspirations, and evaluating her experience against relevant open roles.
In other words, it’s a mutual decision.
Here’s what happened.
MP Tin Pei Ling Changed Role in Grab After Debate Over Conflict of Interest
Lest you’re not aware, Ms Tin was appointed as Grab’s new Director of Public Affairs and Policy in January this year.
It’s normal for MPs to hold full-time jobs and other roles; you can watch this video to learn more:
There is, however, a little hoo-ha because of her new role, and her links to the Government; after all, as a lawmaker, she’s responsible for policies in Singapore, and if she’s also involved in policy in Grab, there might be a conflict of interest.
When the news broke, Ms Tin then took to social media to declare that there would be no conflict of interest, and her priority would be to her duties as an MP:
Okay, everything good, and a news cycle is over, right?
All of a sudden, today (10 Feb), Grab released a statement, saying that Ms Tin would now be the Director of Corporate Development instead.
They added that she “not be involved in public affairs and policy work in Singapore, nor will she represent Grab in public policy discussions with Singapore Government officials.”
Both Grab and Ms Tin had come to a mutual agreement for this revised role.
Tin Pei Ling’s Response
Ms Tin also posted a response of her own in social media.
She said that she had informed her party, the People’s Action Party (PAP) about her role and there wasn’t any objection. However, she added that given “the recent public attention, Grab and I discussed and agreed that it would be best for me to move into a role that did not involve any government relations in Singapore.”
PAP Also Responded
When even PAP also responded, you know it’s big news.
As the news of Ms Tin’s new role broke, PAP also issued a statement:
They added that they had not objected earlier, but earlier this month, after news of her role went viral, they then discussed the matter with her again, and then it “became clear to the Party that she would be expected to engage regularly with Government ministries and agencies on public policy issues on behalf of Grab.”
They said, “While she would make it clear that she was engaging in her private capacity and not as a PAP MP, there could still be challenges in carrying out these responsibilities, especially under the current circumstances.”
It was then Ms Tin had the discussion with Grab and now held a revised role.
Here’s Grab’s statement in full:
We understand that Ms Tin Pei Ling’s recent appointment at Grab has generated significant discourse in recent days. Conflicts of interest in any setting warrant robust discussion and we appreciate this feedback.
Much thought and care was given to address any potential conflict of interest that may arise when Pei Ling was hired. We had worked closely with her months in advance to ensure her hiring and the scope of her expected responsibilities are in line with the rules governing her duties and conduct as an MP. Pei Ling informed her party leaders, who did not object to her appointment. We also established rules of engagement where Pei Ling should not be advocating for Grab’s interest in her capacity as an MP, and correspondingly, she should also not be advocating for her constituency and party in her work within Grab.
However, the discourse has led us to pause and reflect on how we can create an environment where Pei Ling can serve effectively in both her roles as an MP as well as representing Grab. We acknowledge that this is difficult if the intent behind every action or position she takes in the future is doubted or called into question.
We believe in providing every Grabber the support they need to do their job effectively. Thus we have discussed with Pei Ling her career aspirations and evaluated her experience against relevant open roles, and have come to a mutual agreement that she will transition to a corporate development role at Grab. Her duties will include realising synergies across our investments and acquisitions, as well as supporting strategy development. In her new role, Pei Ling will not be involved in public affairs and policy work in Singapore, nor will she represent Grab in public policy discussions with Singapore government officials. She will be expected to continue abiding by the rules of engagement we have put in place to declare and avoid any possible conflicts of interest, and operate in the same manner as other MPs holding private sector roles.
We thank everyone for their feedback in the past week and have taken it on board. Grabbers are the backbone of our mission to create economic empowerment for everyone in Southeast Asia. We will continue to hire talent based on a combination of the right values and skills sets, and support their professional development.
Used to be Chief Executive Officer of Business China
Before Ms Tin took up her new role at Grab, she was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Business China from May 2018 to December 2022.
For the unaware, Business China is a non-profit organisation handled by the government and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It strives to help build relationships between Singapore and China.
After holding the role of Business China’s CEO for four-and-a-half years, Ms Tin decided to leave her position as she was interested in pursuing opportunities in the private sector.
However, according to Ms Tin’s LinkedIn page, she is still a board member of Business China even though she stepped down from her CEO position at the end of last year.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Tin Pei Ling 陈佩玲 + Grab)
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