After insisting that CEO Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, did not leave Singapore state investment company Temasek due to losses and bad performance, we now get a different story from Temasek’s balance sheet.
It seems that Temasek has lost 31% of its holdings in the past eight months. That is about $39 billion. That’s billions with a big B!
Now this figure isn’t that surprising to me as everyone in Singapore knows that Temasek made some big bets in the financial sector last year, especially in the U.S. I don’t think there’s any need for me to tell you how Temasek’s $5 billion investment in Merrill Lynch is doing now.
The timing of the revelation was also understandable. With a new CEO in charge in Chip Goodyear, they would want to start on a clean slate and as such need to announce the results.
What surprises me is when I got home and read the newspaper. The Strait Times has somehow managed to get a few fund managers to say that Temasek’s result was ‘respectable’. I want to know which funds these managers are in charge of. I want to know because if I have any money in these funds, I will pull my money out immediately.
Like I said earlier; I can understand the timing and even the bad results, but since when is a loss of $39 billion ‘respectable’. This is a perfect example of how in trying to talk up the Singapore government, The Strait Times hurt the government instead.
Singaporeans are not stupid. Most of us accept that last year was a bad year and we can understand why there are losses. However, no Singaporean will accept that a loss of $39 billion being ‘respectable’. Instead of trying to highlight the bad conditions last year and how the $39 billion loss is normal for most investments entities last year, The Strait Times has to try their best to state how good the government is. That more than anything pisses Singaporeans off.
Here’s something no one will argue about: a $39 billion loss is never good, and it is not ever ‘respectable’. In trying their best to put their best foot forward, all The Strait Times has managed to do is to kick the government in the backside.