Temasek on Friday defended the hiring of Indian employees after social media posts questioned the state-owned investment company of employing only foreigners for top roles. The move came after the Ministry of Manpower released a watch list of 47 companies that were likely following discriminatory hiring practices.
In recent days, Facebook posts were doing rounds highlighting some Temasek employees' academic qualifications and criticizing the company for hiring Indian nationals for top positions. Temasek issued a statement calling the posts a "divisive, racist campaign" against non-Singaporeans working in the country and said it stood by its employees.
"Some of our colleagues from India have been targeted recently on social media by a divisive, racist campaign. This makes us very angry at the false claims perpetuated. The Singaporeans among us are also ashamed at such hateful behaviour on the Singapore social media," the company said in the statement.
The global investor also stated that the foundation of Singapore was based on "the ideals of meritocracy, regardless of race, language or religion." Temasek also gave a break down of the nationalities of its employees and highlighted that majority of the workers were Singaporeans.
At its headquarters alone, 90 percent of the staff comprised of Singaporeans or those holding Permanent Residents, the company said, adding that this was also the case at Temasek's managerial levels. Internationally, the company's workers are 60 percent Singapore nationals and the remaining are from China, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and PR holders.
"As an active global investor and a forward-looking institution, it will be foolish of us not to tap on the global pool of talent. ... This interaction between all of us from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences allows us to grow individually and collectively, as an institution, to bring value to our stakeholders," Temasek said.
However, Temasek's stand appeared to have left some Singaporeans unsatisfied. Comments under the company's statement on Facebook urged the company to favor Singapore citizens over other nationalities.
"Your team ought to reflect on loyalty to Singapore and Singaporeans rather than foreigners. In many other countries responses like yours would have been deemed unpatriotic and shows betrayal, with the potential to be officially investigated in a fully democratic country," one Facebook user wrote.
"So are you saying there are no better Singaporeans for the jobs held by foreigners in the local headquarters?," another user asked.
Apart from Temasek, the Facebook posts also targeted employees of Standard Chartered and DBS Bank. However, the two companies have not yet reacted on the posts.
Earlier this month, the Manpower Ministry added 47 employers on the Fair Consideration Framework watch list on the suspicion of following discriminatory hiring practices. So far 1,247 companies were put on the watch list, according to the Straits Times.