Monday, 16 November 2009

Temasek's response - board members are independent

Temasek Holdings published a response in the Straits Times on November 14, 2009 under the title, "Temasek board members are independent."
The full text of the letter is reproduced below. No name was attached to the letter.
I THANK Mr Imran Ahmed for his letter on Wednesday, 'Kudos to Temasek for transparency award - let's take it to next level'.
Temasek Holdings is a commercial investor. Although the Singapore Government is our sole shareholder, it does not direct or influence our investment or divestment decisions.
Eighteen years ago, the Government initiated and put in place constitutional safeguards to protect the integrity of important Singapore institutions like Temasek. Thus, the appointment, removal and renewal of Temasek board members are subject to the concurrence of the President of Singapore.
Mr Imran's concerns that 'seven' out of nine Temasek board members 'have some nature of linkage with the Government' are also misplaced.
Our board members, comprising reputable Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans, are appointed on the basis of their relevant experience, integrity and the independence of mind they bring to our board deliberations.
A considered examination of their backgrounds would show that they are well qualified in their own right with a majority having independent non-government business or corporate leadership track records.
While the Government may have tapped them for government committees or boards of public institutions, such pro-bono 'linkages' do not make them any less independent or suitable as Temasek board members.
Ultimately, our board has the responsibility to discharge its fiduciary duty with care, integrity and wisdom, and to act in the best interest of Temasek and its stakeholders to deliver sustainable long-term returns.

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