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PE2023: Starting a Company with GIC and Temasek Money, Is “Ho Ching’s Pet” Ng Kok Song Truly Independent?

ELSON: When the government gives scholarships to foreign scholars, it harbours the hope that they will work in Singapore and contribute, or be “friendly” if they leave for other countries.

So when former GIC CIO Ng Kok Song says he is “non-partisan”, how truly independent is he?

Ng started Avanada Investment Manager after he left GIC with former GIC colleagues.

Avanda was started partly with seed money from GIC in 2015.

In 2016, Temasek Holdings put US$3 billion (S$4.05 billion) with a fund managed by Avanda.

Avanda has even been described by Bloomberg as a “Temasek-backed” fund.

No wonder some have sarcastically called Ng Kok Song “Ho Ching’s Pet”.

Mdm Ho even endorsed Ng in a long Facebook post, together with Tharman, for the presidency.

Ng, whether faux pas or not, has also said that he is contesting in PE2023 because Tharman “wants it (a challenge)”.

Ng may be a gentleman and someone of upstanding character with an independent mind.

But how can someone so aligned with the government and, to an extent, grateful to the government claim that he is “independent”?

There is always the concern that Singaporeans going to be paying millions a year for another rubber stamp.

If you believe Ng is really “non-partisan”, you might want to meditate first and hold that thought.

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