The PAP Govt’s stance on Sports Hub & SPH Media Trust, reiterated by Indranee Rajah


In her reply to Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai’s Adjournment Motion on better oversight of public expenditures on Oct 3, Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah offered a strong rebuttal and reassured that the PAP Government will always act in the interests of Singapore and Singaporeans.

Saying that the thrust of Mr Leong speech is that the government is not fiscally prudent and public expenditure is not well managed, she reminded the House that the PAP Government has just steered Singapore safely through the most devastating pandemic of our generation without borrowing despite repeated suggestions of wanton profligacy by the opposition.

“This was not serendipitous, and it was not by chance, we were able to do so only because we have been consistently careful and prudent with public funds.”

Using the Sports Hub and SPH Media Trust (SMT) as examples, Mr Leong demanded the Government to answer in full.

“He makes various allegations about the Sports Hub and SPH Media Trust (SMT) in purported support of these allegations, he says that he requires the government to answer in full,” she said.

“Sir, these assertions are without basis.”

Indeed, the Government had spent a significant amount of time in Parliament explaining the rationale behind both Sports Hub and SMT.

Sports Hub

TL;DR: In the August sitting, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong spent almost 90 minutes updating the House with his ministerial statement, which detailed the reasons why the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model was terminated and provided a comprehensive breakdown of the costings.

Minister Indranee Rajah reiterated today that the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth decided to terminate the PPP as the interests of Singapore and Singaporeans would be better served by the Government taking over the ownership and management of the Sports Hub.

“The key consideration was the Government’s desire to bring stronger community participation and activities to the sports hub and unlock the full potential of the Kallang Alive precinct.”

She added that Minister Tong had explained that the full cost of termination is comparable to the financial obligation that we would have had to pay under the PPP if we had chosen to continue with it.

“In other words, the entire transaction is financially neutral… Unfortunately, Mr Leong has chosen to ignore these detailed explanations and instead makes a completely baseless and false claim that the termination sum can be lower.”


TL;DR: Similarly, Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo had explained the background extensively during the Parliament Sitting in Feb 15, 2022 and at the Ministry of Communications and Information’s Committee of Supply in March this year. Her predecessor Minister S Iswaran also delivered a ministerial statement on May 10, 2021. So in short, there were three in-depth explanations.

Minister Indranee Rajah repeated the explanations again today.

First, the funding will ensure that Singaporeans can continue to have a trusted, credible source of news and information.

“Our local media companies provide citizens with a valuable Singaporean lens to make sense of global events. If they were to wither and fail, we would become reliant on foreign media – that would not be in our national interests,” she explained.

She added that it’s also necessary to support our vernacular print media as they play a crucial role in preserving our mother tongues and cultural inheritance, echoing what Minister Josephine Teo said on Feb 15.

“Mr Leong fails to recognise the realities facing the media industry in the real world. And that if we were to do as he suggests, it will leave SPH media on a trajectory of decline and eventually results in Singapore without a viable English language domestic media and without our Chinese, Malay and Tamil media, which is not in our national interests,” she concluded.