Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ng Yat Chung took “umbrage” at a reporter’s questions about SPH’s editorial integrity.
Though Mr Ng apologised over the weekend (May 8), netizens had already started a petition on May 7 titled “Singaporeans take umbrage at SPH CEO’s boorish behaviour, demand his sacking”.
At the time of writing, a total of 9,894 people have signed the petition started by one Jack Chng.
The petition says: “We, the citizens of Singapore, take umbrage at the continued employment of Lieutenant-General Ng Yat Chung as CEO of SPH
It adds: “Such boorish and sneaky behaviour is unbecoming of a CEO, let alone the CEO of the publisher of Singapore’s dailies.
“Ng also claimed that SPH was faring well, an obvious falsehood evidenced by SPH’s restructuring.
“Notably, Neptune Orient Lines went bankrupt when Ng was CEO. This is quite a feat considering Singapore has one of the finest natural harbours in the world”, the petition added.
What Initially Happened
A reporter from Mediacorp asked if the SPH restructuring would result in a “pivot to emphasise editorial integrity, for example, ahead of advertiser interests”.
Responding in a rather stern tone, Mr Ng said: “There are reporters here who have received substantial funding from various sources, and I don’t believe that you will describe yourself as bowing to the needs of advertisers in doing your job.”
He added: “The fact that you dare to question an SPH title for, in your words, conceding to advertisers, I take umbrage at that comment. Because I don’t believe that even where you come from, you do not concede to the needs of advertisers”.
The video, and his outburst, quickly went viral, even prompting a response from Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam, who said “Mr Ng’s reaction, and the way he answered the question, I think was very unfortunate.”
Mr Ng issued an apology on May 8. He told The Straits Times: “I had stood up for SPH Media’s long-cherished editorial integrity and will continue to do so. Being a direct and blunt-speaking person, I apologise for any offence I might have caused and regret any distraction from the merits of the proposed restructuring.”
A Previous Petition
Netizens also pointed to another petition, started seven months ago, that also called for the dismissal of Mr Ng. Titled “Save our Singapore Press Holdings”, the first petition, started by an anonymous person, said: “We hope that SPH will not suffer the same fate as NOL and before it is too late, we sincerely hope that the Chairman and Board of Directors take immediate action to remove Mr Ng as the CEO and recruit a suitable and competent CEO.”
While signing the current petition, many Singaporeans referred to Mr Ng’s reaction as “bullying”. Others also called him “arrogant”.
Follow us on Social Media
Send in your scoops to firstname.lastname@example.org