Photo of Minister Heng Swee Keat and wife from Facebook

In an obvious case of corruption, the wife of Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Chang Hwee Nee, was appointed the CEO of National Heritage Board (NHB). Effecting May 1, the wife of Minister Heng Swee Keat will be promoted from her current position as Deputy Secretary (Planning) under the Ministry of National Development.

Corruption through nepotism is a common practice in Singapore, ignored by Singaporeans out of fear or ignorance. PAP MP Tin Pei Ling’s husband, Ng How Yue, was promoted 4 times in 5 years. The husband of the PAP MP now sits as the chairman of the Energy Market Authority.

Read: Husband of PAP MP Tin Pei Ling promoted 4 times in 5 years

The rot however starts at the top: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself is the son of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and he himself sits as the chairman of GIC, managing CPF funds from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which comes under his directive at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, has been the CEO of Temasek Holdings since 2004, despite record losses reported by Temasek Holdings in recent years. Lee Hsien Loong’s GIC similarly reported undisclosed losses amounting to tens of billions, but the husband and wife duo are able to keep their positions.

The Singapore government espouse “meritocracy” in public, even though privately nepotism and elitism remain the founding principles behind the country’s ruling party leadership. The misuse of “meritocracy” is however critical to create hope in the minds of the poor and non-elite middle class, just so they can work harder to support the elitist hierarchy.