CPA heightens role as watchdog of government decisions, appointment of first woman member strengthens good governance efforts

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In an effort to boost the effectivity of its role in safeguarding government decisions, the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) conducted a number of shuffled appointments, including the appointment of its first woman member, Singtel chief Chua Sock Koong.

Ms. Chua was nominated and appointed as an alternate member of the council by President Halimah Yacob. Her appointment took effect Jan 2 and will run Jan 1, 2023.

Holding a Bachelor of Accountancy (First Class Honors) from the University of Singapore, Sock Koong is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and a CFA charter holder.

Chosen as Group Chief Executive Officer in April 2007, Sock Koong directs Singtel’s worldwide strategy and supervises the firm’s consumer, enterprise and digital ventures. Before heading Singtel, Sock Koong served in several major capacities within the company, after joining as Treasurer in 1989.

She held a vital role in making Singtel a corporation in 1992 and its successful listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange a year later. She also streamlined and equipped the company for it to become competitive up to the full liberalization of the Singapore telecoms market in 2000.

Confronted with the realities of a tiny domestic market, Sock Koong also played a significant part when she became a member of the core leadership team that developed Singtel’s internationalization policy which led to the firm’s acquisition of Optus in Australia and a host of other regional telecom investments.

As CEO International, she intensified and accelerated Singtel’s diversification initiatives across some of Asia’s fastest growing economies, leading and overseeing investments in India’s Bharti Airtel, Indonesia’s Telkomsel, Thailand’s AIS and Philippines’ Globe. She is also a member of the Indonesia-Singapore Business Council, Public Service Commission, the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council and Singapore Management University’s Board of Trustees.

CPA’s major role is to advise the President in the exercise of custodial and discretionary powers at the same time safeguarding the government’s past reserves and the integrity of public service. It likewise advises the President on appointments of key public service personnel.

It is mandatory for the current President, Halimah Yacob, to consult the CPA when exercising her discretionary powers related to all fiscal and appointment-related matters.