Commentary: The nature of MP Tin Pei Ling’s new role at Grab muddies perception

Commentary: The nature of MP Tin Pei Ling’s new role at Grab muddies perception


SINGAPORE: The news that Member of Parliament (MP) Tin Pei Ling has joined tech giant Grab in a full-time role as director of public affairs and policy at Grab Singapore has been widely reported in the local and international media, and lit up the Internet.

In Singapore, many MPs have other full-time or part-time roles.

Prior to joining Grab, Ms Tin was CEO of Business China, a non-profit organisation that had the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew as its founding patron, with five current ministers as advisers, and a board of directors that includes several senior ministers of state and civil servants.

Before joining Business China in May 2018, the People’s Action Party MP – who was first elected to Parliament in 2011 – was group director of corporate strategy at Singapore firm Jing King Tech Group.

There was no online or media frenzy on those occasions.

However, this time the reaction has been vastly different. In her LinkedIn and Facebook posts responding to concerns of conflict of interest, she said:

“The company has established clear rules of engagement to ensure that any possible conflict of interest will be properly declared and avoided. Likewise, the People’s Action Party has a published set of Rules of Prudence, as well as mechanisms in place for declarations of interest and the avoidance of conflicting interests.”

She added: “I am absolutely clear that when I am discharging my duties as an MP, my constituents and Singapore come first. When I am working on behalf of Grab, I will have to ensure that Grab’s interests are safeguarded.”

It is not so straightforward.