Singapore – Netizens expressed concern over the news that former Cabinet minister Khaw Boon Wan will chair the board of the new not-for-profit entity following Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) restructuring. That, according to them, will be “a mistake.”
Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran announced on Monday (May 10) that Ms Khaw is the right choice to be the chairman of the not-for-profit entity functioning as a company limited by guarantee (CLG).
The new entity following SPH’s restructuring will take charge of its media business.
While SPH’s media business restructuring is subject to shareholder approval, the decision to appoint Mr Khaw has been discussed and agreed upon by its shareholders.
“With his high standing and more than 25 years of public service experience in various senior appointments, Mr Khaw will be able to provide strong strategic leadership for the CLG,” said Mr Iswaran in Parliament.
He noted that Mr Khaw, who had retired from politics in 2020 after 19 years in service and last served as Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, has agreed to be the chairman.
Mr Khaw said he accepted the role of “heavy responsibility” with some anxiety, given he has no experience with digital media. However, he added he would do his best to ensure the project succeeds, reported The Straits Times.
“I will see how we can adapt relevant experiences from successful transformation elsewhere,” said Mr Khaw.
“I cannot allow a Singapore institution to go into decline,” he said, despite being “blissfully content” in retirement.
“I will see how I can help unleash the talent and the passion in our newsrooms. We will refocus on our primary mission of providing quality journalism to help build this young nation.”
However, members of the public voiced their concern over the decision.
Former Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng commented, “It’s a mistake to appoint another former PAP (People’s Action Party) minister as chairman.” He noted how it would lead to “trust going down.”
“Why can’t they go for an unknown name with the proper qualifications and experience rather than the same old face?” asked Facebook user David Firdaus.
The issue of qualifications and expertise was frequently mentioned in the comments. “Are these people having the experience in the media and advertising industry?” asked one Aaron Kang. “What is their portfolio? What can you contribute to the current declining traditional advertising and subscription?” he asked.
Meanwhile, others referred to Mr Khaw’s nickname, “Mr Fix-it”, and wished him the best in the role./TISG
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