Singapore investment company Temasek has called out some social media posts that the company deems as divisive and racist. According to The Straits Times, the posts in question that have been circulating online featured multiple Indian employees' LinkedIn profiles from Temasek and questioned why Temasek hired foreigners instead of locals. The Straits Times reported that besides Temasek, DBS and Standard Chartered received similar criticism.
In a press release, Temasek said it is "angry at the false claims perpetuated" and stands by its colleagues who have been dragged into the social media post, and the Singaporeans in its employment are "ashamed" at such "hateful" behaviour on the Singapore social media.
The company also said it has referred the posts to Facebook as a clear breach of its community guidelines on hate speech, and will continue to press the social media platform to be more active in stamping out such hate speech, wherever it occurs on its platforms. Temasek said that in each of its offices, including Singapore, locals form the vast majority. "Among our 600 strong staff at our headquarters in Singapore, 90% are Singapore citizens or permanent residents. This is broadly the same among our senior leadership (managing directors and above)", the press release added.
Temasek said diversity in its workforce spans 32 nationalities, across offices in eight countries. On a global scale, its nationality mix is about 60% Singaporeans and 40% other nationals, which includes about 10% Singapore permanent residents. Other than Singaporeans, the top five nationalities are China (9%), USA (7%), India (6%), UK (3%) and Malaysia (3%). Temasek added that this mix will continue to change as the company work towards opening more offices in Asia, Europe and elsewhere.
Additionally, Temasek said the company has roots in Singapore, where there is no place for xenophobia, racism, or hate speech. It said it will continue to hire and develop its people, consistent with its "MERITT" values of Meritocracy, Excellence, Respect, Integrity, Teamwork and Trust. "Even for those who leave us to take on other responsibilities outside Temasek, we hope they will carry with them the best of our Temasek DNA," the company added.
"Social media involves people airing views different to ours: that’s their prerogative. However, all of us stand together as oneTemasek against views that seek to perpetrate division and disrupt the social cohesion that has taken many years for us to achieve here in Singapore."
Meanwhile, Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek Holdings has also addressed the issue. In a post on her personal Facebook page, she said that it is unacceptable and “a cowardly act of hate” to “tarnish individuals and dox them with photos and false claims”. She also said if there is a grievance, it should be brought to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the board of the company, or to the regulator.
“Let’s not yell unfair hiring, just because we weren’t hired. And let’s not put up photos of innocent folks to dox them just bcos we don’t like their race or nationality, as a way to stir hate and hatred,” Ho said.
Ho also called on Singaporeans to be aware of such divisive politics of hate, especially in a "Our diversity is both our strength and weakness. Guard that or we will fail as one people," she said, adding: "Let us not be fooled by anyone who tries to stir up racial biases that lurks beneath everyone of us. It’s a very short distance between hating one nationality to one race, and very soon, anyone who is different."
Furthermore, Ho said that Singaporeans can be knowing or even unknowingly biased and prejudiced. "It takes work, effort, and self discipline to stay away from the emotional and divisive politics of hate," she added.