Transparency 'should not compromise S'pore': Lim Hwee Hua

Transparency 'should not compromise S'pore': Lim Hwee Hua

Since quitting politics after losing her seat in 2011's Aljunied GRC battle, former Second Minister for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hua, 54, has immersed herself in the corporate world and put out a book on government in business. She talks to Robin Chan about government transparency and the country's reserves, and the challenge of meeting rising aspirations.

Do you think there is room to share more information on our national reserves than we do now?

People are rightly curious about what is the size of the reserves. But the question doesn't end just by telling you a number. There will be the follow-on question of how investments are made. That number might shrink, because our motives are now known to everyone.

What they (Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation) should continue doing, is to consider if they can release any more information, at least in qualitative terms, as much as they can. So it's towards building confidence.

Temasek now tells you these are the areas of focus, these are the allocations by geography, this is what we have done. A sizeable part of the portfolio is listed companies where information is available. GIC has been releasing more and more (information) as well.

And this is probably as much as we can expect these two organisations to do, without compromising our own position. Singaporeans are not the only ones interested in the size of our reserves.

So it seems it is a question that will never go away.

The more relevant question to ask is, is there sufficient trust in Temasek and GIC to do the investment on the nation's behalf? That, to me, is the more fundamental question.

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