SINGAPORE: Workers’ Party MP Louis Chua posted an interesting question on Facebook on Tuesday morning (May 7): “Why is $1 worth less in Singapore than elsewhere?”

The Sengkang GRC MP added that his post would not be about inflation but is in reference to an article in The Financial Times titled “Singapore battles to revive struggling stock market,” an issue he considers close to his heart since he is an equity analyst.

“We are supposed to be one of the leading financial centres in the world, but our equity markets do not suggest so. Increasingly, we see that valuations of companies listed here have been on the decline.

Meaning a dollar of earnings in Singapore is worth less than the same dollar of earnings in other exchanges,” wrote Mr Chua.

He then proceeded to list a possible way to address the issue for Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC to invest in local companies in Singapore’s stock exchanges in the same way that other sovereign wealth funds invest in their local exchanges.

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Mr Chua also mentioned a question his fellow Sengkang MP, Ms He Ting Ru, raised in Parliament, which concerns encouraging locally incorporated technology companies to choose the Singapore Exchange (SGX) over foreign stock markets for their Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).

He added that he has suggested to the Ministry of Trade and Industry that “while it’s a company’s commercial decision on where they wish to list, we could have local companies, especially those receiving state funding to have a dual listing in Singapore too.”

Mr Chua continued his post in a comment, pointing out that he has called on the Government to consider imposing regulatory requirements for companies to meet minimum governance standards.

However, he underlined that “the most important factor in my view is corporate governance” and that the government should lead by example.

“The Singapore Exchange Regulation CEO has recently capped independent directors’ tenure and require the exact amount and breakdown of remuneration paid to directors and the CEO to be disclosed.

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This after continued poor remuneration disclosures over the years despite SGX urging.

For Statutory Boards and Government companies, especially those tasked with managing public monies, the level of public accountability and transparency required is even higher in my opinion.”

Mr Chua included in his post the answers given in Parliament to the issues he raised, explaining the government’s position on this matter. /TISG