After 50 years of own self pay own self government, we’re starting to witness an increasing number of spectacular failures. They will cost taxpayers dearly.
NOL has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons: it will be sold in a lelong sale. And NOL is no ordinary company:
– Former PM Goh had spent 8 years and was MD before leaving NOL.
– Current Chairman Kwa Chong Seng, Lee Hsien Loong’s cousin, was Temasek Holdings’ Dy Chairman and has held the post of chairman in more than 20 companies. link
– Cedric Foo has been President since 2005, is an MP and former MOS. He held directorships in numerous statutory boards and Temasek-linked companies.
– CEO Ng Yat Chung is a President’s scholar, former Temasek Snr MD and Chief of Defence in SAF.
With all the top brains, well-connected people and 101% PAP support, how could NOL have failed? Including opportunity cost, tens of billions have been lost during NOL’s 47-year history. This does not bode well for Singapore.
NOL’s epic failure reflects the failure of the PAP government: NOL’s leadershipt, appointed by PAP, must have been incompetent.
PAP die-die cannot lose face and, instead of admitting failure, has used the servile, snake-oil selling mainstream media to delude itself and hoodwink the 70% gullible public:
1 – “Broker’s take: Temasek likely to take discount on NOL for greater economic gain” (BT, one broker’s take – economic gain?)
2 – “NOL’s sale will not affect Singapore’s status as shipping hub: Analysts” (CNA)
To confirm (2), BT published “Neptune Orient Lines sale Boosts Singapore’s hub ambitions”.
If holding the Great Singapore Sale for our national icon is so positive, why did Temasek miss so many opportunities to sell at higher prices and wait till the price had collapsed? If divestment of local companies at a discount leads to “greater economic gain”, then we might as well sell SIA, SGX and our banks. Just shake legs and wait for economic gain to appear in our bank accounts.
Better still, sell the entire PAP at a discount and most Singaporeans should become millionaires, no?
Divesting NOL at an earlier date and better price was not possible because Temasek was actually looking to delist NOL as early as August 2004. An offer was made to buy back NOL at $2.80 per share but fortunately, it managed to increase its shareholding to only 69%! Singaporeans should count ourselves lucky because additional billions could have been lost if taxpayers had pay $2.80 for the balance 31% of NOL shares.
So how can the lelong sale of NOL be positive for Singapore after tens of billions in tax dollars have been lost?
What went wrong at NOL? The incompetence of PAP’s handpicked leadership is never in doubt but no lessons will ever be learnt as there will again be no accountability.
To divest a national icon in a lelong sale confirms Temasek is a quitter and makes us a laughing stock to the rest of the world. Singaporeans should expect to pay the price for more lelong sales from jokers in our government.