Coronavirus: Surbana Jurong refutes profiteering and corruption allegations over community care facility projects

Surbana Jurong was called upon to help quickly develop community care facilities like the one at Singapore Expo.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Urban and infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong has refuted what it called "unfounded accusations of profiteering and corruption" relating to its involvement in the setting up and operation of community care facilities (CCFs) for Covid-19 patients.

"These allegations are not only untrue, they are disrespectful of our colleagues who have made enormous sacrifices, including putting their health at risk, to deliver the projects under challenging conditions for the benefit of our community," the Temasek-owned company said in a statement on Tuesday (May 19).

Its statement comes on the heels of several posts that have been circulating on social media and messaging platforms like WhatsApp, alleging that Surbana Jurong's involvement in developing facilities like the one at Singapore Expo have led to conflicts of interest.

One such post concerned how Manpower Minister Josephine Teo's husband, Mr Teo Eng Cheong, is the international chief executive in charge of Singapore, South-east Asia and North Asia at Surbana Jurong.

Other posts questioned how the decision to involve Surbana Jurong was made, while noting that Members of Parliament Desmond Choo and Dr Yaacob Ibrahim are Surbana Jurong board members.

In its statement, Surbana Jurong said: "We absolutely refute the allegations and will not hesitate to take legal action against any perpetrator who continues to make scurrilous attacks against our company."

The company also said it would continue to provide its expertise to projects related to managing the coronavirus pandemic on a "cost-recovery basis".

Surbana Jurong outlined how it got involved in setting up and running the facilities, noting it has been providing technical services to various government agencies over the last two months.

It said its shareholder, Singapore's national investment firm Temasek, had "engaged some of its portfolio companies that could provide specialist support" as there was an "urgent need for CCFs to house patients with early symptoms of Covid-19 and those recovering from it".

Surbana Jurong was called upon to help quickly develop these facilities, it added.

"In March 2020, we were asked to identify and study possible locations. We explored various sites and found Singapore Expo, with its existing mechanical and electrical infrastructure and extensive indoor space, to be large enough and fit for purpose.

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"As Singapore Expo is also a Temasek portfolio company and was already engaged to support this initiative, Surbana Jurong was immediately able to embark on converting Singapore Expo into the first CCF."

Surbana Jurong added that it was no mean feat for its team of 50 healthcare planners, architects, engineers, project managers and procurement staff to set up 10 halls with 8,000 beds in four weeks.

The team was led by Surbana Jurong's Singapore chief executive Yeo Choon Chong and its director Vincent Lee, under the supervision of its group chief executive, Mr Wong Heang Fine.

The company said its partners, including PSA, Woodlands Health Campus, Parkway Pantai, SingEx Venues, Resorts World Sentosa and other companies, have "also worked incredibly hard to get this urgent project up and running".

"At all times, Surbana Jurong is proud and happy to play a critical role in projects that serve the nation's interests," it added.

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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.