MP’s loan “probably the biggest” ever given out

This was the explanation given by Dr Ong Seh Hong, PAP MP for Marine Parade GRC and COO of Ren Ci Hospital, regarding the $60,000 loan he took from Ren Ci.

I was an employee of GIC in 1999. I was offered by Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre to be Director, Medical & Paramedical Services in January 2000.

However to leave GIC, I had to pay S$560,000 to settle my outstanding staff housing loan. I agreed to join Ren Ci on condition that I received a loan of S$60,000, to pay off in part the amount of S$560,000 and I paid the remaining S$500,000 from bank loan.

When I borrowed the sum of S$60,000 from Ren Ci, I was not an MP. It was lent to me as staff, and was part of the terms on which I agreed to join Ren Ci. I have since repaid the sum fully.

Now that this shocking revelation has surfaced as a result of the cross examination of Ren Ci’s former HR head in court on Thursday, who cares who else Ming Yi loaned money to? I think all Singaporeans care about now is why a supposedly whiter-than-white PAP MP set the record for “probably the biggest loan given out”, according to Ren Ci’s former HR director. Bigger than even the loan Ming Yi gave to his aide, Raymond Yeung.

Dr Ong’s defence is that he took out the loan before he became an MP. So what? Does that automatically excuse him?

Why couldn’t he take out a bank loan to pay off the entire $560,000, or pay some of it from his own savings? Did he borrow from Ren Ci because they charged him little or no interest? Did he pay back the money with interest? How much was the interest?

He said he has since repaid the sum fully. When? Two years ago or two days ago?

Did the Ren Ci board approve this loan to Dr Ong?

Personally I’ve never heard of this practice of staff borrowing money from their employers, much less from charities. It’s appalling that an “honourable” member of our legislature is implicated in this scandal.

I would expect that this case should not be simply closed after this. There should be a separate investigation by the Commercial Affairs Department and the Commissioner of Charities into whether there was any wrongdoing involved in this loan.

The law demands it, and the people expect it.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

4 thoughts on “MP’s loan “probably the biggest” ever given out”

  1. While MP Ong was not an MP when he took the loan, was he a high flying PAP member at that time nonetheless? After all, he did become an MP soon after. Although the loan is “legal”, maybe the renewed questioning should take this form and whether Ren Ci foresaw Ong’s possible entry into public politics when the loan was made, and that was a consideration in the loan.

    Speculation speculation speculation,
    when there is lack of information.

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