Singapore—Investors of beleaguered water treatment company Hyflux are all set to protest on Saturday, March 30. Organisers are expecting a good turn out not just of investors but other parties as well. One of the more prominent among them is opposition politician and lawyer, Lim Tean.
In fact, Mr Lim isn’t only attending, but he is inviting others to come as well.
On a Facebook post dated March 26, Tuesday, Mr Lim wrote about how “disgraceful” it is that the 34,000 retail investors of Hyflux could possibly lose as much as 97 percent of their investments, especially since Hyflux had been “heavily backed by the government and the financial regulators who allowed CPF monies to be invested.”
Mr Lim made the point that if people lose their investments, this will “severely affect their families and lifestyle.”
In his post, Mr Lim assigned responsibility to the government, saying, “Once again, ordinary Singaporeans have been let down by this PAP government.”
He ended his post by inviting others to join the protest, which will be held at the Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park, on behalf of his party, People’s Voice.
“Peoples Voice urge Singaporeans to attend this important Hong Lim Park Rally to support our fellow Singaporeans who have been hurt by their investments in Hyflux. Protest to be held this Saturday 30th March 3-4pm. I will be there….will you?…..”
What the protest is about
Many of Hyflux’s investors are unhappy with how things have turned out and felt like they have gotten the short end of the stick. Some of Hyflux’s investors are now asking the Public Utilities Board (PUB) for goodwill.
The PUB announced last week that it will be taking over the desalination facility of Hyflux at Tuaspring for zero dollars. It will also disregard all combination claims should Hyflux fail to rectify its defaults.
The protest is led by Hyflux investor Alex Leong, 43, who told news outfits Channel News Asia (CNA) and The Straits Times (ST) about the protest. Mr Leong has obtained approval from both the police and the National Parks Board for the planned demonstration.
He told CNA that some of the investors have been planning the protest action for some time now, and that, based on the poll he took a few weeks ago, he expects many other investors to attend the protest.
ST reports that Mr Leong himself invested S$ 100,000 in the company back in 2011, and then reinvested dividends into Hyflux afterward.
Mr Leong told CNA that PUB’s plan is “ruthless” and has been a blow to the company’s retail investors, especially since their investments were used to build the plant, which is still operational and has value.
He said that perpetual securities and preference shareholders are hoping that they will still be compensated by the PUB “out of moral obligation or goodwill.”
He said, ”We understand the need for PUB to get its compensation as Hyflux has failed (in) its obligations under their water agreement, but we are trying to appeal to PUB to exercise goodwill towards investors like us.”
How netizens responded to Mr Lim’s post
Comments on Mr Lim’s post have been mixed, with many people supportive of the efforts for Hyflux’s investors to regain their money.
Others, however, point out that the nature of investments is that they carry an inherent risk.
One even asked why the governmnet should be blamed?
Mr Lim had answers for them, however.