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Opposition politician asks, if Ho Ching’s salary is of public interest, why isn’t it made public?

Goh Meng Seng posed the question as a Catch 22 saying that it should be revealed in order to justify the POFMA direction

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Chief of the People’s Power Party Goh Meng Seng weighed in on the four POFMA correction directions issued over claims about Ho Ching’s Temasek Holdings salary.

Citing an example in a Facebook post yesterday (May 14), Mr Goh wrote: “X says Ho Ching’s annual salary is $100milion.

Minister POFMA X, says X is wrong but didn’t say why X is wrong and didn’t give the actual salary of Ho Ching.

X goes to court and appeals against Minister’s POFMA.

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Minister tells Judge X is wrong but didn’t say why or show records of how much Ho Ching is actually getting. Just insists X is wrong”.

Mr Goh asked, “How can the Judge be the “Final Arbitrator of Truth” when the Judge doesn’t even know the Truth in the first place?”

He added that Mdm Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is not civil servant, and that Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd is always considered a “private entity”.

Awaiting the outcome, he posed the situation as a Catch 22: “If her salary is of public interests, why isn’t her salary made public? The Minister will have to reveal it to justify his POFMA!

If her salary is NOT of public interests,(sic) then why POFMA X in the first place?”

Last month (Apr 19), the Minister of Finance instructed that four correction directions be issued over claims that Temasek Holdings’ chief executive Ms Ho Ching’s annual salary is “around S$100 million”.

Amongst the four parties to be issued Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) correction directions was sociopolitical website The Online Citizen (TOC).

Temasek Holdings clarified in a statement that Mdm Ho’s annual compensation is “neither the highest within Temasek, nor is she amongst the top five highest paid executives”.

It was revealed by Second Minister of Finance Indranee Rajah that, “On Apr 29, 2020, The Online Citizen filed an application to the High Court seeking judicial review of the decision to issue the correction direction”.

“One of the issues that TOC has raised before the court relates to the public interest grounds under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act”, she added.

She was responding to a question from Workers’ Party Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera on how the statements on Mdm Ho’s salary harms public interest.

Mr Perera responded by asking if the POMFA order, in this case, meets the objective of “reinforcing public trust in those institutions, or does that actually potentially erode public trust because it will breed more speculation to no constructive end”.

This is especially if “POFMA directives are going to be issued every time a false figure is given for compensation of the top management of sovereign wealth funds … but the real figure is not given”, he added.

Mr Goh concluded his post saying that he awaited the outcome of the issue. /TISG

Read related: TOC seeks judicial review of Pofma directions on Ho Ching’s salary

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