Phillip Ang, a blogger and a resident of Pasir Ris-Punggol constituency, wrote to his town council to ask why the managing agent of his estate does not transparently disclose the details of its key office bearers.
He had initially written to EM Services (EMS), but they refused to answer to his queries. He then wrote to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Development to ask about why EMS refused to publish such key information, only to be ignored again. This was why he was forced to write to his town council.
He claims that the town council after asking him to ascertain if he was a resident of Pasir Ris-Punggol estate, also ignored him. This was when he wrote to the Prime Minister about the matter in July 2016.
In his email to the PM, he said:
“EMS is the managing agent of Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PR-PTC). According to its website, it manages “about half a million HDB residential units, over 9,000 retail shops and office commercial units, 6,500 market and food centre stalls and 400,000 vehicle parking lots”.
Despite being the biggest managing agent in the world, relevant information could not be found on EMS website, ie there is no information on its CEO/directors.
EMS is not a neighbourhood provision shop but a joint venture between HDB, a statutory board, and Keppel Land Limited. As such, it is obligated to be transparent.
I highlighted this issue to Mrs Ow Foong Peng, MND Perm Sec, on 16 July (enclosed) after EMS had refused to respond to my queries, . My feedback was forwarded to Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, which, more often than not, has continued to engage in stonewalling.
The non transparent nature of EMS has raised the following questions:
1 Why does EMS fear disclosing information on its directors?
2 Why is PR-PTC condoning the non disclosure of information by EMS and acting against residents’ interests?
The government should not condone the concealment of information which belongs in the public domain. All companies with business dealings with the government should disclose their directors on their websites, including EMS.”
After the blogger shot this email to the PM, EMS quietly updated key information about its office bearers in its website.
According to the information on its website, Matthias Yao is the Chairman of EMS. Mr Yao was a PAP MP from 1997 to 2011. In 1999, Mr Yao became a Minister of State at the Prime Minister’s Office. He was promoted to Senior Minister of State in 2001. During his time at the Prime Minister’s office, Yao also served as the Deputy Secretary General of NTUC.
In 2004, Yao left the Prime Minister’s Office to become the Mayor of the South East District of Singapore, and in 2006 he was made a Deputy Speaker of Parliament alongside his role as Mayor.
The other members in its Board of Directors are Mr Yap Chin Beng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Estate & Corporate) HDB; Mr Lim Kei Hin, Chief Financial Officer of Keppel Land Limited; BG (NS) Tay Lim Heng, the new CEO leading the massive property estate project in China, Tianjin Eco-City; Mr Mike Chan, Group Director (Housing Management) HDB; and Mr Chua Soon Guan, Deputy Chief Executive (Policy & Development) of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency.
It is unclear if the Board members are remunerated for serving as Board of Directors in the private company.
The CEO of EMS is Mr Tony Khoo who is also the President of International Facility Management Association. Before starting at EMS Mr Khoo held leadership positions in One Marina Property Services Pte Ltd, Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd, UGL Premas Limited etc.
“I hope civil servants will ensure that organisations which receive millions of tax dollars are fully transparent,” said Mr Ang.
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