Yet another Government-backed agency appoints army general to board – Chief of Army joins HDB

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The Singapore Army FB

Yet another Government-backed agency has appointed an army general to its board. The Ministry of National Development announced last Friday that Chief of Army Brigadier-General (BG) Goh Si Hou has been appointed to the board of the Housing Development Board (HDB).

HDB Board’s appointment of BG Goh is the latest move in a history of army generals joining Government-backed agencies, public service and the political field.

Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek hired former Chief of Defense Force (CDF) Ng Yat Chung as an executive before Ng went on to become the CEO of Government-linked media conglomerate Singapore Press Holdings.

Before leaving the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Ng passed the CDF title on to Singapore’s 6th CDF Desmond Kuek – the man who left the army to join the public service before being appointed as CEO of rail operator SMRT Corporation.

Kuek, whose tenure at SMRT was marked by various controversies, was directly responsible as group CEO for selling SMRT to Temasek in 2016, effectively privatising the corporation.

After over five years at the helm of SMRT, Kuek resigned from SMRT and left the Corporation this year in the hands of Neo Kian Hong – the same man who succeeded Kuek as Chief of Defence Force (CDF) in 2010.

Neo had served as Chief of Army before his appointment as CDF. Before he took up the CDF title, Neo left the Chief of Army title to Chan Chun Sing – Singapore’s current Minister for Trade and Industry, who is hotly tipped to succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as head of Government.

When Neo left the SAF, he passed the CDF title to Ng Chee Meng. Ng followed in the footsteps of Chan Chun Sing and joined the ruling People’s Action Party after leaving the Forces. Ng now serves as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and secretary-general of the labour movement.

Chan was succeeded by Ravinder Singh who took on the Chief of Army Post. Singh, who has since left the SAF, now serves as President of ST Kinetics.

Singh was succeeded by Perry Lim who became Chief of Army. Lim left the Chief of Army post to Melvyn Ong when he was appointed CDF. Lim again left the CDF post to Ong when he retired this past March.

In between Lim’s military career, he took on a brief retirement between 2006–2008, and served as the Director of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education. He rejoined the military after his stint at MOE until his retirement this past March.

When Lim retired and left the CDF post to Ong, Ong left his own Chief of Army post to BG Goh who has now been appointed as HDB Board member.

HDB’s latest appointment of an army general, comes after SMRT’s decision to replace a former army general with another ex-army general, especially after the corporation claimed that it undertook a “global search” to hire its new CEO, sparked an uproar among Singaporeans who did not understand why government-backed agencies continue to employ military men in top positions they may not have expertise in.

Desmond Kuek leaves SMRT to the man who replaced him as chief of defence force after earning close to $10 million in 5.5 years