Donald Liew, one of two men who were sent letters of demand for making accusations of corruption and profiteering against Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has apologised.
Last week, posts pointing out the links some of the people involved in Surbana Jurong have with the Government soon began circulating on social media and messaging platforms. Surbana Jurong was commissioned by the Government to help convert premises into community care facilities for COVID-19 patients.
One post highlighted that the Manpower Minister’s husband is Surbana Jurong’s CEO (International). Mr Teo Eng Cheong joined the firm in 2016 – the same year that the firm came to be acquired by the Government’s investment vehicle Temasek. The former senior government official now leads Surbana Jurong’s work in Singapore, Southeast Asia and North Asia.
Another post highlighted that ruling party Members of Parliament Desmond Choo and Yaacob Ibrahim are board members at Surbana Jurong. While some posts raised questions about the selection process of firms involved in Government projects, other posts made outright allegations of corruption and profiteering.
Josephine Teo refuted the allegations against her and her husband, in a statement issued by Allen & Gledhill on her behalf on Wednesday (20 May). Calling the claims “untrue, scurrilous and completely baseless.” Mrs Teo asserted: “Neither my spouse nor I have any involvement with the commissioning of these projects or the monetary transactions.”
The Minister also instructed her lawyers to send formal letters of demand to the two men who made the claims, Mr Jolovan Wham and Mr Donald Liew, asking them to withdraw the allegations. Mrs Teo added that she will not claim damages or pursue the matter further if the claims are withdrawn and she receives apologies from the two men:
“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 However, I do not intend to pursue the matter further, or to claim damages, if the allegations are publicly withdrawn, and apologies given.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.”
While she does not intend to claim damages, the Minister asked both persons to donate S$1,000 each to the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund.
Mr Donald Liew has since withdrawn the allegations and apologised.
In his apology, published on his Facebook page on Wednesday evening, Mr Liew revealed that he has removed his original statement from Facebook and said: “I admit and acknowledge that these allegations are false and completely without foundation. I apologise unreservedly to Mrs Josephine Teo for making them.”
He added that he would not publish any further statements on this, or make any allegations to the same or similar effect, in any manner whatsoever.
I, Donald Liew, on or around 14 May 2020 at around 16:47hrs, published a statement at…