Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Temasek says CAG chairman Liew Mun Leong contributed much to S'pore, cautions against jumping to judgment over case involving ex-maid

SINGAPORE – Temasek said its senior international business adviser Liew Mun Leong has contributed to Singapore and its people, and his track record at various firms attests to that.

The investment firm’s comments come days after the High Court acquitted Mr Liew’s former Indonesian maid of theft, in a judgment that also raised questions about the motivation of Mr Liew and his family in lodging a police report against the maid.

Mr Liew is also the chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong.

Temasek International chief executive Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara said on Tuesday (Sept 8): “There are many individuals who have contributed to both public service and to the private sector in Singapore for the benefit of Singapore and our population as a whole. (Mr Liew) is one of those persons, and his track record at CapitaLand, at Changi Airport Group, and at Surbana Jurong attest to that.”

He was responding to questions from The Straits Times at a virtual media conference on Temasek’s performance, and was asked whether Mr Liew’s actions go against the company’s values and whether it would be looking into the issue.

Mr Pillay said he would not comment further, citing ongoing proceedings on the case.

However, he said: “I think we should hear from Mr Liew on his side of the issue, and not come quick to judgment until we’ve heard all sides of things.”

Mr Liew had declined to comment on the judgment when contacted by ST.

Last Friday, the High Court acquitted former domestic worker Parti Liyani of stealing from Mr Liew, who is also the former chief executive of CapitaLand, and his family.

Ms Parti, 46, who worked for the Liew family from 2007 to 2016, was accused of stealing more than $34,000 worth of items from them. After a trial in the State Courts, she was found guilty on four counts of theft and sentenced to jail for two years and two months in March last year. She appealed to the High Court against her conviction and sentence, and was acquitted last Friday.

Justice Chan Seng Onn, in a detailed 100-page judgment on the case last Friday, found the convictions against Ms Parti to be “unsafe”. He cited the handling of the evidence by the police, the recording of the allegedly stolen items and the improper motive behind the allegations of some family members.

In his judgment, Justice Chan noted that “some time prior to her termination”, Ms Parti had expressed unhappiness at being made to do the additional work of cleaning the house and office of Mr Liew’s son Karl Liew.

“There is reason to believe that the Liew family, upon realising her unhappiness, took the pre-emptive first step to terminate her employment suddenly without giving her sufficient time for her to pack, in the hope that Parti would not use the time to make a complaint to MOM (Ministry of Manpower),” the judge noted.

When Ms Parti threatened to complain to MOM after her sudden termination, Mr Liew and his son followed up with a police report to prevent her return to Singapore to make the complaint, said the judge. “In my view, the Liew family might not have made a police report had Parti not made her express threat on Oct 28, 2016 to report the matter to MOM.”

The Attorney-General’s Chambers and MOM said on Sunday that they are studying the case to assess whether further action ought to be taken in this case. The police also said that they would be looking into several observations on police investigations made by Justice Chan.

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