Featured News Looks like Pei Ling will Grab her chance

Looks like Pei Ling will Grab her chance

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Sense And Nonsense by Tan Bah Bah

During a week when big issues were being discussed in Parliament – Keppel, HDB flats and SPH Media Trust – MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling’s career path managed to hog the limelight. That was quite something. Why indeed?

The whole hoo-ha was, in a way, part of the hurl back by a group of disgruntled Singaporeans at the authorities, using the exact words or phrases the current ruling party loved to throw at the public ad infinitum. In Tin’s case, the social media went to town on “conflict of interests” and “integrity”. She could not be true to Grab and her constituents at the same time, they all said.

“While she would make it clear that she was engaging in her private capacity and not as a PAP MP, there could still be challenges in carrying out these responsibilities, especially under the current circumstances,” the PAP said. It added that it “holds itself and its MPs to high standards of propriety and integrity. It is essential that MPs rigorously separate their public role as MPs from their professional and commercial interests in their private careers.”

Tin had no chance, from there on. If she wanted to continue working for Grab, she could not be director of public affairs and policy work. She would have to be the hail-riding company’s lower-profile director of corporate development. Still a nice career advancement move for her.

Grab’s incoming corporate development director is by now a toughened public figure. She has been used to small setbacks – including adverse social media comments in her early political career.

I had been a resident in MacPherson estate for four years in the mid-2010s. I think Tin has done a good job with the estate many of whose elderly residents have affection for the uncle- and auntie-killer. She has overseen a couple of developments like the studio apartments along Circuit Link, the Mattar and MacPherson MRT stations plus a series of sprucing up projects from Balam Road to Pipit Road.

Also, here I am going to guess. Quite a number of flats in MacPherson are around 57 years old, meaning with 42 years lease left. There is much work to be done. Besides, those Paya Lebar Way residents, who voted against improvements for their flats the last time, cannot postpone the inevitable forever.

Can the new Grab director find the time to take care of these MacPherson estate residents? In her heart I believe Tin cares enough for her constituents. But she also has to look after her own future, her family.

Tin oversees a mini Queenstown some parts of which are rapidly ageing. I consider MacPherson even more prime than Queenstown. The Paya Lebar area is hot real estate.

Things are moving very fast. Just look at the Paya Lebar Square, Paya Lebar Quarter and Singpost Centre triangle. Think about what may be happening to MacPherson.

This brings me to what is really the story beneath the headlines. Someone wants Tin in Grab.

It is not about this post or that post. It does not matter. It is all about trust. There are only so many – or so few – people you can trust. MacPherson, for all its problems, has become secondary.


Tan Bah Bah, consulting editor of TheIndependent.SG, is a former senior leader writer. He was also managing editor of a magazine publishing company.





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