Infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong Private Limited has come out strongly against the allegations of profiteering and corruption that have arisen over its involvement in the Singapore EXPO community care facility project, after a Facebook post highlighted that the firm’s CEO (International) is Manpower Minister Josephine Teo’s husband, Teo Eng Cheong.
The Ministry of Health contracted the services of Surbana Jurong to transform the Singapore EXPO into a care facility that can house up to 8,000 COVID-positive patients with mild symptoms and no underlying illnesses.
The facility was completed in a mere four weeks using just 50 workers, despite the team only having a week to discuss the project. The speed with which Surbana Jurong completed the project even drew praise from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Surbana Jurong’s feat was marred by allegations of corruption and profiteering made in several Facebook posts that highlighted that the firm’s CEO (International) is Josephine Teo’s husband and that Surbana Jurong’s board of directors includes ruling party Members of Parliament Desmond Choo and Yaacob Ibrahim.
Surbana Jurong firmly refuted the allegations that were circulating online, in a statement released on Tuesday (19 May). Calling the allegations “unfounded accusations of profiteering and corruption,” it said:
“These allegations are not only untrue, they are disrespectful of our colleagues who have made enormous sacrifices, including putting their health at risk, to deliver the projects under challenging conditions for the benefit of our community.
“We absolutely refute the allegations and will not hesitate to take legal action against any perpetrator who continues to make scurrilous attacks against our company.”
The company revealed that it became involved in the project when it was tapped by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek to provide expertise to projects related to managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temasek, which owns a 100 per cent stake in Surbana Jurong – a firm which started out as the Housing Development Board’s Building and Development Division in the 1960s, engaged its portfolio companies to support the Government’s efforts in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Sharing that it has been providing technical services to various government bodies over the last two months on a “cost-recovery basis”, Surbana Jurong said that it was called on to help develop the community care facilities urgently:
“In March 2020, we were asked to identify and study possible locations. We explored various sites and found Singapore Expo, with its existing mechanical and electrical infrastructure and extensive indoor space, to be large enough and fit for (the) purpose.
“As Singapore Expo is also a Temasek portfolio company and was already engaged to support this initiative, Surbana Jurong was immediately able to embark on converting Singapore Expo into the first CCF.”
Asserting that it was not a simple feat to develop such a large-scale facility with limited time and manpower and that its partners “also worked incredibly hard to get this urgent project up and running,” Surbana Jurong said that it is “proud and happy to play a critical role in projects that serve the nation’s interests” at all times.