Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Good Gracious!

A gracious Singapore? “Not in my lifetime,” was the reported reply from Lee Kuan Yew at a dialogue with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Iseas) on Monday night. His idea of a gracious society include “where people are considerate to one another, where you don’t make more noise to upset your neigbour than you need to.” Commenting on Malaysia’s growth prospects, he had said: “I don’t see any economic hardship in Malaysia, but whether you have a happy people… happiness and economic growth are two different things.”
Some may postulate that conglomerate Fraser & Neave (F&N) was definitely gracious to scrap younger son Lee Hsien Yang’s workload as a business consultant and still give him the $1 million anyway as a paid director. Mr Lee joined the property, food & beverage and publishing conglomerate as its non-executive chairman in October 2007, replacing Dr Michael Fam. As a consultant, Mr Lee’s role was “to assist with the overall strategic planning for the group”, and paid the $1 million in addition to the $250,000 he also draws as a non-executive chairman. It was gracious of F&N as Mr Lee does not have the training, experience or track record in property, food & beverage or publishing. Well, he is the son of Lee Kuan Yew, brother of the prime minister, and brother-in-law of the Third Most Powerful Woman In The World. TODAY graciously added that “the company should be applauded for keeping a corporate talent in Singapore and not losing him to foreign shores”, in the same line of logic as certain ministers can earn more in the private sector, Yeo Cheow Tong excepted.
F&N announced that the consultancy agreement will be dissolved on Jan 31. The consultancy fee will be built into the directors’ fees. F&N also said the requirements of Mr Lee’s role remains the same.