A lawmaker in Singapore’s ruling party took to social media to defend her new role running Grab Holdings Ltd.’s government relations department, dismissing concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
Tin Pei Ling, who was appointed director of public affairs and policy this week, said in a Facebook post that she can keep her two roles separate. But while members of parliament are allowed to hold private sector jobs in the city-state, the practice has drawn mixed views online.
“I have received several queries about whether there is a conflict of interest since I am still a Member of Parliament,” said Tin, who’s also chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Communications and Information, according to the website of the ruling People’s Action Party. “I am absolutely clear that when I am discharging my duties in my capacity as a Member of Parliament, my constituents and Singapore come first.”
The company made clear in a statement on Wednesday that “the two roles are distinct, and we have established clear rules of engagement to ensure that any conflicts of interest will be avoided,” it said, adding that “many” MPs hold such roles.
Tin entered politics more than a decade ago and was elected to parliament under a team led by former Prime Minister and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. As one of the youngest candidates to be slated at that time, Tin initially came under scrutiny and criticism for her age and political inexperience. During the latest election, she triumphed at the polls, winning 71.7% of the votes in her district, among the highest candidate reelection margins.
Like governments around the world, Singapore is rolling out legislative changes to better protect gig-economy workers. Ride-hailing and food-delivery companies are built on the labor of these low-wage contract workers, but have resisted taking them on as full-time employees to contain costs.
“When I am working on behalf of Grab, I will have to ensure that Grab’s interests are safeguarded,” Tin said.
The ruling People’s Action Party did not respond to requests for comment.
Public reaction to Tin’s Facebook post was overwhelmingly congratulatory. “As long as all sides are transparent and above board, there should be no problem,” one poster remarked. Posts on another online forum popular in Singapore were more critical.
“How can we be absolutely sure that she won’t use the info n knowledge she gains as an MP to enrich grab?” said another. –BLOOMBERG