Photo of Ho Ching from Temasek Holdings

Singapore’s water filtering corporation Hyflux had applied for court protection to make alternative payment arrangements when they were found unable to meet the debt obligations of their convertible bonds. The Temasek Holdings-owned company is scheduled to pay S$500 million of 6% bonds by next Monday (May 28), and S$100 million of 4.25% bonds by September. Hyflux is unable to meet the S$600 million payment in total.

The Singapore company posted it’s first annual loss of S$22.2 million in March this year, blaming lowered electricity prices from “an oversupply” of natural gas.

However, electrical prices in Singapore has been inflated by Temasek Holdings in recent months. It is common knowledge that the two CEOs – Temasek Holdings’ Ho Ching and Hyflux’s Olivia Lum – are personal friends. The Prime Minister’s wife, Ho Ching, raised electricity tariffs by 6.8% this year, with the collaboration of Energy Market Authority (EMA), whose Chairman is the husband of PAP MP Tin Pei Ling.

The 6.8% raise in electricity tariffs in Singapore cushioned Hyflux’s massive losses in Middle East, North Africa and China. Based off Hyflux’s annual reports, Singapore turned out to be a significant cash cow with substantial revenue return over assets.

Screenshot from Hyflux Annual Report 2017

Singapore’s revenue return on equities is as high as 30.4%, while Middle East and North Africa returned 22.5%, China returned 10.5% and the rest of the world at 8.2%. These figures are only revenue, excluding costings. There is not profit report by sector.

Corruption may be legalised in Singapore but nepotism remains a poison in Singapore society.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is currently also under Malaysia’s re-opened investigation over his involvement with 1MDB and the signing of the High Speed Rail train project in Singapore. There is suspicions that the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, struck a secret deal with PM Lee Hsien Loong to hide stolen 1MDB funds in Singapore.

Like Najibn Razak’s administration, Singapore’s corruption bureau reports to the Prime Minister. The Singapore’s CPIB is unable to conduct any independent investigation without the Prime Minister’s instruction, rendering Ho Ching and Lee Hsien Loong immune to anti-graft scrutiny.