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Govt directs Pofma office to issue 4 correction directions for ‘false statements’ over Ho Ching’s Temasek salary

SINGAPORE — Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, acting in his capacity as Finance Minister, has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue four correction directions over what the Office said was a false statement about the remuneration of Temasek Holdings' chief executive officer Ho Ching.

In a media statement on Sunday (April 19), the Pofma office said that the correction directions were issued to HardwareZone user “darksiedluv”, The Temasek Review's Facebook page, The Online Citizen's Facebook page and website, as well as opposition leader Lim Tean.

In a media statement on Sunday (April 19), the Pofma office said that the correction directions were issued to HardwareZone user “darksiedluv”, The Temasek Review's Facebook page, The Online Citizen's Facebook page and website, as well as opposition leader Lim Tean.

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SINGAPORE — Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, acting in his capacity as Finance Minister, has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue four correction directions over what the Office said was a false statement about the remuneration of Temasek Holdings' chief executive officer Ho Ching.

In a media statement on Sunday (April 19), the Pofma office said that the correction directions were issued to HardwareZone user “darksiedluv”, The Temasek Review's Facebook page, The Online Citizen's Facebook page and website, as well as opposition leader Lim Tean.

The Pofma office said that there were “false statements of fact contained in a number of social media posts on Facebook and HardwareZone Forum, as well as an article on The Online Citizen website”.

The various authors of the posts had made claims that the annual salary of Madam Ho, who is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, is “NT$ 2.1 billion”, which refers to Taiwan’s currency as the allegations were first made on a Taiwanese talk show, or “about 100 million SGD” or “S$99 million a year”.

Temasek Holdings is a state investment firm, with significant stakes in companies such as Singapore Airlines (SIA) and DBS Group Holdings, as well as a portfolio of investments abroad.

Temasek produces an annual report, called the Temasek Overview. The Temasek Overview 2019 did not disclose details of the remuneration of individual executives such as Mdm Ho. Temasek is not a listed company, but rather is wholly owned by the Minister of Finance.

Some of Temasek’s portfolio companies are listed companies, and disclose the pay of top executives. For example, Temasek owns 55 per cent of SIA, which in its annual report for the year ended March 31, 2019 stated that its CEO Goh Choon Phong earned a total remuneration of S$5.5 million, including a base salary of S$1.4 million.

The Pofma office said that all of these claims about Mdm Ho’s salary are false.

It also laid out additional clarifications on the issue in an article on Factually — a government fact-checking website.

The Pofma office said that the Singapore Government does not set the remuneration of staff in Temasek, and that it is the responsibility of the company’s board and management.

“The Government holds the board responsible for the long-term performance of its investments (and) net of expenses,” Pofma said.

It added that Temasek’s board committee, as well as its leadership development and compensation committee (LDCC), is responsible for the establishment of guidelines and policies on performance measurement and compensation plans.

Pofma said that the remuneration of the executive directors of Temasek is then approved by the LDCC and endorsed by its board.

It added that Temasek’s remuneration framework “balances reward for short-term performance and long-term value creation”.

“Temasek’s compensation is benchmarked to the industry and the compensation framework comprises a base salary, as well as short-term, medium-term and long-term incentives. Part of the bonuses are deferred and subject to clawback should Temasek’s returns be negative,” Pofma said.

It added: “Temasek has also publicly stated that Mdm Ho’s annual compensation is neither the highest within Temasek, nor is she amongst the top five highest paid executives in Temasek.”

Earlier on Sunday, Temasek had debunked the claims over Mdm Ho’s salary.

In a statement published on its website, the state investor said there had been "chatter based on an Asian talk show commentary" which claims that Mdm Ho earns around S$100 million annually.

Ms Ho has been CEO of Temasek Holdings since 2004. In 2009, the investment company had tapped former BHP Billiton head Charles “Chip” Goodyear to replace Mdm Ho in the top job, but that was aborted because of differences in strategy.

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Pofma Heng Swee Keat Ho Ching Temasek Holdings

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