Govt does not monitor Temasek, GIC's investments in haze-linked firms: MOF

Mr Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Finance Minister, says that commercial decisions by GIC and Temasek Holdings are made independent of state involvement.
Channel NewsAsia 28 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE: The Government only monitors the performance of haze-linked companies that sovereign wealth fund GIC and investment firm Temasek Holdings have investments in, said finance minister Heng Swee Keat, and not their commercial decisions.

Nonetheless, both are fully supportive of zero-burning policies for land clearance, he said.

"GIC has also the Government that the palm oil companies in Indonesia that GIC invests in have confirmed that they observe zero-burning policies for their plantations. GIC’s investment teams engage actively with the companies’ management and highlight that such responsible actions are important for maintaining the long-term value of the companies," said Mr Heng in a written answer to queries by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera of the opposition Workers’ Party.

Temasek has stated that it fully supports zero-burning policies for land clearance, and would urge palm oil companies and plantation owners to do the same, the Finance Minister added.

Mr Heng also noted that with GIC and Temasek’s investment activities seeking long-term, sustainable returns, investing in companies with environmentally unsustainable practices could negatively impact the commercial value of the investments over the long term.

“The individual investments of GIC and Temasek are the responsibility of their respective management teams, while the Government monitors the performance of their overall portfolio,” said Mr Heng.

“GIC and Temasek operate on a purely commercial basis in order to maximise long-term risk-adjusted returns, and the individual investment decisions are fully independent of any Government interference or influence.”

“This is an important governance principle that we seek to maintain."

- CNA/jo

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