A leaked audio clip of Maj-Gen “Kee Chiu” Chan Chun Sing’s speech to business leaders, in which he mocked Singaporeans and took a swipe at Hong Kongers and the city’s leadership, has gone viral.
The Minister of Trade and Industry has since called his words a “frank assessment”.
Said Maj-Gen Chan in a Facebook post:
“Many of them have attended my closed-door dialogues and they know that I do not mince my words when presenting hard truths and trade-offs. I shared frankly our challenges, difficult decisions and trade-offs.”
The leaked audio clip has drawn mixed responses from Singaporeans.
Some agree with Maj-Gen Chan’s candid criticism, while others have derided him his arrogance and un-statesman like behaviour.
This is Maj-Gen Chan’s description of the closed-door meeting, reproduced in full:
“The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) arranged for me to meet a group of local business leaders last week for a frank, closed-door discussion on the latest developments impacting our economy and society.
The business leaders had many questions for me on the evolving COVID-19 situation. Some were concerned with how we were handling the situation. Others were concerned about the dwindling visitor arrivals and the spate of panic buying. In addition to seeking assurance from the Government that we would support them through this challenging period, they also wanted to have our assessment of how other countries and places were dealing with the coronavirus, ways in which we could strengthen our defences both psychologically and physically to deal with the coronavirus and its fallout, as well as what the future is likely to be after the situation had stabilised.
I provided a frank assessment to the business leaders. Many of them have attended my closed-door dialogues and they know that I do not mince my words when presenting hard truths and trade-offs. I shared frankly our challenges, difficult decisions and trade-offs. This is because I see them as an important part of Team Singapore and recognise the role that they play in supporting Singapore’s continued survival and success. In order for us to continue to take difficult decisions together, it is critical that we have a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities that we face.
After the dialogue, the members expressed their appreciation of the frank discussion we had and felt that such dialogues were very useful in helping them understand the issues that we face. Such dialogues are important in helping us build trust and awareness within the community. I hope that we will always be able to have these sometimes difficult but frank discussions with each other. Trust and confidentiality will be critical in sharing such sensitive matters in closed-door sessions. Hearsay taken out of context will be unhelpful to trust-building and collective actions in these difficult times.”