Company responds to widow's claims about 'tribute walk'

Company responds to widow's claims about 'tribute walk'
Mr Terence Chew Zhi Wei, was among three people who drowned when a submerging trial for a submersible barge in Batam went wrong on 18 July 2014.

A company which held a charity walk last month in honour of an employee who had died in a barge accident said his family was invited to the event and had been consulted about the charities to benefit from it.

It said this in response to Ms Pearlene Lim, the widow, who had expressed her disappointment in an earlier report that she had not been invited or involved in the planning of the event.

Her husband, Mr Terence Chew, 32, a marketing executive with PACC Offshore Services Holdings (Posh), had drowned in Batam in July, after the barge he was on sank.

Ms Lim told The Straits Times that she found out about the event only through Mr Chew's parents.

In its letter, Posh clarified that the company did invite Ms Lim, along with Mr Chew's parents, to the walk held at the Southern Ridges on Nov 22.

It added that Ms Lim, 30, had published the event on her Facebook page, as well as her late husband's. She had also been coordinating with the company on the registration of the couple's friends and family, Posh added.

On the day of the event, Ms Lim attended it, and up to that point had not raised any concerns or objections with the firm about her husband's name being used or the charity chosen, Posh wrote.

The company said the walk was a regular corporate social responsibility initiative, and thus a company event. The use of the names of Mr Chew and Mr Ye Myint Myat, 33, who had also drowned in the accident, was to honour their memory.

As to the charities chosen, Posh said Mr Chew's and Mr Ye's parents had been asked for their preferred charities. Ms Lim had also told The Straits Times that the charities were not what her late husband would have wanted.

Posh said it "was entirely reasonable in assuming that its communication with the parents of Mr Chew in this regard would have been shared with Ms Lim by them". The company pledged $35,000 each to the Community Chest and the Children's Cancer Foundation.

Noting that investigations into the accident are ongoing, the company said it would be inappropriate to provide Ms Lim with any information until they are completed. It added that discussions with Ms Lim on the compensation due from the accident are also being carried out, and that it had met all other requests from Ms Lim.

In response, Ms Lim, a psychology student, said she hoped an agreement could be reached with regard to compensation, and she looked forward to getting updates about the investigations.

adrianl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 3, 2014.
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