The Ministry of Defence launched Singapore Navy’s First Type 218SG Submarine last month, on 18 February 2019. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen attended the event with his wife, Ivy Ng, and she received the honour of pushing a button to break a bottle against the submarine, as part of an old navy tradition meant to ‘christen’ a new vessel.
Interestingly, Ivy Ng was also seen signing what appeared to be official documents, in a new video of the event that is circulating online.
This activity has raised eyebrows, since it is unclear in what capacity she signed the documents – as the wife of the Defence Minister or as CEO of Singhealth?
Besides being the wife of the Defence Minister, Ivy Ng is not connected to the Ministry of Defence. She had served as the chief executive officer of Singhealth – Singapore’s largest group of healthcare institutions that consists of four public hospitals, five national specialty centres and a network of nine polyclinics.
In 2012, the year she joined Singhealth, Ivy Ng was named the Her World Woman of the Year 2011/2012. Published by SPH Magazines, Her World awards the title each year to Singaporean women who are role models and project a good image of the nation.
Ivy Ng earned some flak last year when she accompanied her husband on an official trip overseas as Singhealth, the organisation she oversees, discovered and began to deal with an unprecedented data breach that affected 1.5 million patients.
On 13 July 2018, after the police were alerted to the breach but before the public became aware, a photo published in the mainstream media showed Dr Ivy Ng accompanying her husband, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, on an official visit to France, the previous day (12 July).
Netizens responding to the picture, in the aftermath of the public becoming aware of the data breach, criticised Dr Ng for accompanying her husband on an overseas trip instead of remaining in Singapore to help deal with the data breach incident.
Dr Ivy Ng has also been criticised for her response to the COI report that highlighted the failings of the IT team who were supposed safeguard the servers.
In a forum letter published in the national broadsheet on Saturday, Singaporean Danny Chow criticised that Ng’s “almost blase tone” to the COI report was “disappointing on several counts.”
In her response, Ng had said: “Since the incident, we have reinforced the culture of personal ownership of cyber defence so that every staff is empowered to identify and report cyber-security threats.”
Noting that little has been said by Singhealth’s board and CEO since the data hack last year, Chow asserted that it is “disconcerting” that “no one at the top appears to be taking responsibility” for the breach, especially given the COI’s “damning” report.
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