Photo of Ho Ching from Straits Times

Did Ho Ching become the CEO of Temasek Holdings only because she is Prime Minister’s wife?

Where is Ho Ching’s successor after so many years and a failed handover in Temasek Holdings?

Is Ho Ching speaking as Mrs Lee or as the CEO of Temasek Holdings?

Ho Ching’s speech in Australia reignited controversy about nepotism debate in Singapore, with many questioning her credibility and background. Currently accompanying her husband Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on a week-long visit in Sydney, she was invited to speak at a women business forum earlier on Friday (Mar 16).

Several online commentators pointed out that Ho Ching is Singapore’s most powerful woman CEO only because she is the Prime Minister’s wife. One even said that to invite Ho Ching as a speaker sullied the reputation of women who attained achievements through their own effort.

The PM’s wife said in her speech that training is important for any business as they have to be socially responsible:

“Businesses have a stake in the well-being of the wider community that they operate in, Madam Ho said in her opening address. After all, businesses will find it hard to thrive if society fails. Hence, businesses must play their part as stewards for our communities, for our common good alongside governments and the civic society. This means that aside from focusing on financial returns and profit, businesses should also contribute towards creating a fair, equitable and sustainable society and train their people for the future.”

The speech immediately raised questions about her failed succession in 2009, where she returned to become Temasek Holdings CEO. There is still no successor in sight 9 years after and there is no talks about finding one either.

In recent years, Singaporeans have been calling for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to step down due to his poor leadership. Notably, no Singaporean asked for the dictator PM to extend his tenure, which reflected the deeply-seated resentment against the son of Lee Kuan Yew.