SCCCI chief calls leak of minister's comments 'a breach of trust', Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

SCCCI chief calls leak of minister's comments 'a breach of trust'

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He says incident, which is under investigation, affects standing of SCCCI, Singapore and Mr Chan Chun Sing

The leak of a recording from a closed-door meeting between Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) members and minister Chan Chun Sing is "deeply disappointing" and a betrayal of trust, the chamber's president said on Tuesday.

In a letter to members seen by The Straits Times, Mr Roland Ng said SCCCI is investigating the matter, which has "serious implications" on its standing, for Singapore and for Mr Chan, who is Trade and Industry Minister.

This came after a 25-minute recording of Mr Chan's remarks during the meeting last week was circulated on social media and messaging apps.

In his letter, Mr Ng said members had been informed multiple times that the meeting was off-the-record. The recording was thus "a clear breach of trust".

"Such actions dilute the trust and confidence that others have in us and will discourage active and open participation from our speakers, guests and even our own members in future private settings. Trust has to be mutual, earned and built over time."

During the meeting, Mr Chan spoke candidly about the supply of surgical masks and said masks were not the solution to the coronavirus outbreak.

Noting that Hong Kong was facing a shortage of masks for medical personnel, he said if Singapore had issued masks indiscriminately, the hospital system would have "broken down" as there would have been no masks for hospital staff who have to take care of the infected.

Nor could members of the multi-ministry task force here have worn masks like Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam did at a recent press conference. This would have caused panic, said Mr Chan.

While his remarks were reported in Hong Kong, there has been no official comment from Mrs Lam or the government there.

Mr Chan also said that to calm nerves here, the Government distributed four masks to each household - but that also meant there were five million fewer masks in its limited stockpile.

This was a "gamble", as supply chains were disrupted with no clear indication of how long the outbreak will last, and how long masks should be conserved for essential medical personnel.

Mr Chan was ashamed by the panic-buying. He used the Hokkien colloquialism "sia suay", used to describe embarrassing or disgraceful situations.

On Monday, he alluded to the leaked recording in a Facebook post where he said he had a "frank, closed-door discussion" with SCCCI business leaders. Mr Chan said he spoke on the nation's challenges and trade-offs as he saw the business leaders as part of "Team Singapore", and having a shared understanding was vital to take difficult decisions together.

"Many of them have attended my closed-door dialogues and they know that I do not mince my words when presenting hard truths and trade-offs."

Singapore Politics