Why did the Deputy Prime Minister's wife launch warship when so many Ministers were there?

Chew Poh Yim with wife of Myanmar's vice-president. Picture credit: Global New Light of Myanmar

The following is a letter by a reader, Karthigesu.

I was shocked to read ST (The Straits Times) today, not for the contents of the newspaper but because of an advertisement which was taken out by ST Marine.
1ST report on the launch of the design and built warship mentioned that Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hian was at the launch with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Minister of State for Defence Maliki Osman.

The newspaper also reported the speech of Mr Teo at the launch, so did the news article on the topic from Channel NewsAsia , but both media did not identify who actually launched the warship. The advertisement does.
ST adThe ST article also does not mention who the woman standing next to the Deputy Prime Minister is.

screengrab from ST
screengrab from ST

My questions are, when the Deputy Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and the Minister of State for Defence are there:

  • why is the wife of the Minister launching the warship?
  • why did not any of the media mention who launched the warship?
  • what position does the wife of the DPM hold in the government to launch a warship of the Republic of Singapore Navy?

I did a search on DPM’s wife Madam Chew Poh Yim and wikipedia only mentions that she is the “director of a business consultancy and teaches marketing management in the School of Business Management at Nanyang Polytechnic on a part-time basis.”

Meritocracy and not connections (guanxi) is the hallmark of Singapore’s democracy. The Prime Minister himself emphasised this when he rebutted his sister’s accusations about him as being “completely untrue”.

For the sake of transparency and accountability the government should tell its citizens if relatives of public servants are elevated to positions they were not elected to in a meritocratic manner.