Suspended SEC executive director quizzed for two hours in inquiry

FARIS MOKHTAR Today Online 3 Nov 16;

SINGAPORE — Singapore Environment Council (SEC) executive director Edwin Seah, who was suspended from duty last month, attended an inquiry lasting nearly two hours at his office yesterday, but both sides were tight-lipped after the meeting.

An SEC spokesperson would only say they had a “good discussion ... and (they) took the opportunity to clarify certain points with him (Mr Seah)”, adding that the non-governmental organisation would discuss the next steps with its board.

Mr Seah, 46, left after the talks ended, declining to comment.

TODAY understands that Mr Seah’s suspension had to do with how he had planned proceedings at the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards, a yearly SEC affair held a day before he was pulled off duties on Oct 13.

Another issue was whether he was behind an anonymous email sent in February to local newsrooms alleging a conflict of interest involving SEC chairman Isabella Loh and projects she worked on. The SEC had dismissed the allegation after a review.

When asked, SEC would neither confirm nor deny if these had to do with Mr Seah’s suspension.

Previously, Mr Seah said he had not been told of the reasons for the suspension, which he described had “come out of the blue”.

Yesterday’s inquiry was presided over by a panel of three SEC board members, including Member of Parliament and Mayor of North West District Teo Ho Pin, National Environment Agency director Dalson Chung, and SEC executive committee chairman Lam Joon Khoi.

Mr Seah received applause and cheers from SEC staff when he was the first to arrive for the meeting, which was postponed from Oct 19.

Mr Seah joined the SEC in October 2014 as director of communications, and was appointed executive director in April last year.

He previously told TODAY that the number of projects SEC undertook has grown over the years. During the haze last year, SEC suspended the use of its Green Label on Asian Pulp and Paper Group’s products, while some supermarket chains also stopped selling paper products sourced from the group.

Mr Seah also said that under his lead, the SEC enhanced its financial position and lowered employee turnover rate. The father-of-two has 19 years of experience in the public and private sector, including the Energy Market Authority and the Singapore Tourism Board. FARIS MOKHTAR

Special panel convened to look into suspension of Singapore Environment Council head Edwin Seah
Audrey Tan, The Straits Times AsiaOne 3 Nov 16;

SINGAPORE - A special panel was convened on Wednesday (Nov 2) to look into the reasons why Mr Edwin Seah, the executive director of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC), was suspended from his role in the charity last month.

Mr Seah was at the SEC office when The Straits Times visited on Wednesday afternoon. Also in attendance was council chairman Lam Joon Khoi, National Environment Agency director Dalson Chung, and Teo Ho Pin, mayor of the North West CDC.

The Straits Times understands the panel was supposed to be convened at 3.45pm. It finally started at about 4pm.

Mr Seah, 46, had said he was not given any reasons when he was first told via a phone call from Mr Lam on Oct 13.

The committee of inquiry by the SEC to look into the reasons for his suspension was supposed to be held on Oct 19, but was postponed till today (Nov 2).

The Straits Times understands that Mr Seah was suspended for not following standard operating procedure during an SEC event, and that he was under suspicion for being the person who had in February anonymously emailed the newsrooms of Singapore, claiming there was a conflict of interest between SEC chairman Isabella Loh and the projects she undertook.

Mr Seah's suspension is the latest in a string of personnel changes in the charity. In April, Mr Kavickumar, 27, left to join Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Former chief executive Jose Raymond, 44, also joined APP in January but left last month and has since set up his own public relations firm.

SEC is a non-governmental organisation that spreads environmental awareness through training programmes, awards and its Singapore Green Labelling Scheme. It was started in 1995 and has 28 full-time staff.

Mr Seah, who was previously at the Singapore Tourism Board and Energy Market Authority, was nominated along with SEC former eco-certification head Kavickumar Muruganathan for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award last year. They were recognised for raising awareness about the link between the haze and unsustainable paper products.

No comments:

Post a Comment