World’s Most Powerful Women
Thursday, 20 August, 2009 4:43 PM
I refer to your article on World’s Most Powerful Women.
I am especially disturbed by Forbes’s ranking of Mdm Ho Ching CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore at no. 5.
I understand that the criteria is based not on popularity but on the management of countries or big companies. I also understand that the rankings are based on press visibility and size of country/company.
It is true that Temasek Holdings is a large company that has a portfolio of approximately US$135 billion. However the losses that Mdm Ho incurred in from March to November 2008 was almost US$40 billion http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124350003544761935.html
And that is just what the public is told. The actual figure may even be more as it is a known fact that Temasek Holdings is a non-transparent entity. There is absolutely no accountability to the public. http://multimedia.asiaone.com/Multimedia/Vodcast/News/Story/A1Multimedia20090730-7422.html
Even the reason for the sudden change in leadership (the exit of Charles Goodyear) cannot and will not be explained to the public.
Let’s also not forget the controversial purchase of Shin Corp run by former PM Thaksin. That transaction was by no means a small contributor to the unrest in Thailand and the eventual ousting of Mr. Thaksin.
As to press visibility, the world must understand that Singapore is not a democratic society. My country is run by an authoritarian regime under Lee Kuan Yew who although is 86, is still the man in control of the city-state. I’m sure Forbes knows that Mdm Ho is the wife of his prime minister-son, Hsien Loong
The media, judiciary, law enforcement and all public institutions are controlled by the ruling-party, if not by Lee senior himself.
Singapore’s media is ranked 144 out of 173 countries by Reporters Without Borders in 2008.http://www.rsf.org/en-classement794-2008.html The Chairman of the Singapore Press Holdings is none other than the ruling party stalwart, Tony Tan who is also our Deputy Prime Minister. All press coverage — print, telecast and broadcast — is controlled by the State, and by extension Mdm Ho Ching’s husband and father-in-law. How can then press coverage in this case be a fair assessment?
Non-local media such as Asian Wall Street Journal and Far Eastern Economic Review were fined for contempt of court and sued for defamation respectively
I am confident that Forbes had done thorough research on each of these women on the Most Powerful list. However, I am dismayed that Forbes could rank someone with the background and track record like Mdm Ho Ching 5th on the list.