According to the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange investment disclosure on May 25, Chairman of GIC Lee Hsien Loong lost S$7.4 million on Vietnam taxi company Vinasun. In Aug 2014, GIC paid VND202 billion (about S$11.82 million in 2014 value) for 7.96% of the shares, and sold them all last month on 25 May 2018 at VND75 billion (S$4.39 million). The 62% loss translates to a S$7.4 million loss in value.
This news went unreported in Singapore’s state media, which is ranked 151st in the world for credibility.
In recent years, there has been rising public anger over losses of national reserves and CPF funds by GIC and Temasek Holdings. Dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is already paid S$2.2 million a year, sits himself as the estimated S$1 million-a-year Chairman of GIC – a position he inherited from his father Lee Kuan Yew – and his wife Ho Ching was made the estimated S$10 million-a-year CEO of Temasek Holdings. The powerful but corrupted couple have in recent years making high profile losses, due to the lack of investment acumen.
Since the 2009 financial crisis where Temasek Holdings reportedly lost S$39 billion in a single year, Singaporeans have been on the alert on overseas losses unreported in Singapore media. In 2017, GIC lost about S$43 billion while Temasek Holdings struggled with a 1.6% return. There has been a number of high profile losses involving Temasek Holdings, including the S$1 billion losses of Neptune Orient Line (NOL), undisclosed ComfortDelgro losses over failed Uber stake, bailing out of SMRT and a S$61 million loss in China.
Just earlier this week, Ho Ching announced that Temasek Holdings will issue a new private equity debt program to raise funds from the public. The news sparked fresh fears of losses in the sovereign fund companies, as her husband Prime Minister has in recent raising CPF Minimum Sum (doubling it from S$80,000 to S$181,000) and raising Withdrawal Age (from 55 to 65).
During this year’s Budget, Lee Hsien Loong announced a 2% GST hike, in addition to a 30% water price increase, 4% gas tariff increase, carpark fees increase and several other daily taxes.