Saturday, January 31, 2015

Life And Death Links

The chart shows that Life Corporation Ltd's (LCL) original business line of cord blood storage wasn't doing too well. Lots more can be gleaned from its 2014 Annual Report filed with the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

Armed with A$5.5 million from the June 2013 sale of its cord blood and cord tissue banking businesses and assets in India, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia to Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) listed Cordlife Group Limited, LCL quickly bought up Singapore Funeral Services (known as SFS Care Pte Ltd since 2012) in September 2013. The chronology that led to the formation of Eternal Pure Land Pte Ltd (EPL) is spelt out in the annual report:
1 Dec 2013, SFS acquired;
8 Jun 2014, tender submitted;
17 Jul 2014, tender awarded;
22 Jul 2014, bonds signed with "Golden Meditech" and "Northeast" for S$3 million each, funds which may come in handy for the two installments due on 13 August and 14 October 2014.

The most interesting date is 12 June 2014, day when EPL was set up to bid for the land parcel at Sengkang, a newborn with no track record, and only the operating experience of the Singapore entity, Singapore Funeral Services.

LCL's consolidated revenue for year ended 30 Jun 2014 was only A$1,907,000, of which A$1,905,000 was contributed by SFS Care Pte Ltd. Net loss for LCL was A$2,637,000, an increase of 61% compared to the loss of A$1,640,00 for year ended 30 Jun 2013.

You have to wonder what were on the minds of the civil servants when they evaluated the bidders. For all we know, some name dropper may have casually made it be known that Goh Chok Tong's son is on the board of Cordlife. Dr Goh Jin Hian was appointed as a Director of the Company in July 2011. It is ironical that the science of cord blood banking, preservation of cord blood to help nurture life in the future, is now linked to the preservation of ashes, after science has given up on saving life.

There is more to the eye at Sengkang, it's not just "commercial" and "religious" issues at stake. It's so serious, LCL has called for a trading halt after Khaw Boon Wan told the story of deception by Butterfly Lover Zhu Yingtai. As usual, to find the answer to the quagmire, one has to follow the money.


  1. Khaw Boon Wan's story of ''deception'' may have many layers. We do not how many he could have been alluding to. Or if it was a straight in-your-face tale.

    Whatever it is, the govt obviously needs to seriously get its act - and story/stories - together, and decide if commercial enterprises can dabble in religion and whether they have done so before. It would be useful to know who has actually got it right -- the minister on the one hand, or the ministry, the HDB and the MP on the other. Who is now doing the assuming and what exactly is being assumed.

    Hopefully, the minister will also reveal - clearly and in detail, complete with consequences - how he ''unwinds'' this matter and what will really be built on the site. If one can't back out of a simple booking of a flat with down payment, involving 2 parties, how does one back out of a tender deal, which involves far more complex procedures and issues, and more participants, and which has far bigger repercussions?

    Looks like we may need another story, preferably without assumptions but with hard facts and no tears....

    1. Can the govt department that awarded the tender to a successful tenderer and signed a contract back out unilaterally on Khaw Boon Wan's orders without paying compensation ? Who should be hanged for this unfortunate episode ? Naturally the govt will want to collect the maximum sum of money possible in a tender. Who the hell cares whether they are religious or otherwise !

  2. wah !!! this is getting so interesting. another nail in the election coffin.

  3. From Wayang to Chinese Opera.
    Next they will be Characters Of Drama.

    Come to think of it, it's kind of funny that Singapore which is well known internationally for cleanliness is infested by rats, mosquitoes and what else?


  4. Do you think EPL is a religious organization??
    Is it the religion of money and profits??
    And who said "what's wrong with collecting more money?"

  5. Well done tattler, for following the cues and money !!:-).

  6. Taking the cue from your last post's headline, GOH or NO GOH's garbage spewed by the main actors in Fernvalegate deserves more than cynical comment. Minister Khaw is obviously trying to draw the line beneath the saga and move on. With the help of the mainstream media proclaiming that the unhappy residents are now happy and that the whole thing was an honest mistake by the civil servants this may well happen. But a close analysis of the events should raise serious questions of governance. How plausible is this explanation? The stout defence by the URA and the HDB at the town-hall meeting of the award to a commercial entity in the face of the residents' condemnation should cast serious doubts on this excuse. Why did the Minister wait for nearly one month to decide to reverse the decision? Did he not call in his officials immediately the issue was raised? Remember this is the Minister who was quick to jump on the WP and asked the Finance Minister to refer the matter to the Auditor -General over what appears to be a minor matter. Dr. Lam's statement that he was not told the whole truth by the URA and the HDB should warrant disciplinary action against the officials concerned and yet the Minister made no comment but, as with the Brompton bicycles affair, merely wants to 'review' the tender process. But what is wrong the process? In the report of the case of Poh Lian Develoment Pte. Ltd.v. Hock Mee Property Ltd., a High Court decision helpfully annexed to the NSP press statement on the matter of 11 January, the URA awarded land for a columbarium site to a joint-venture between two commercial entities and a temple on 17 May, 1999. because the URA imposed a condition the only religious organisations may tender .That should make one doubt the accuracy of the Minister's statement that the officials mistakenly assumed that EPL was 'affiliated' to some religious organisation. You will note that vague terms like this is being employed. The questions now arise as to whether the same condition was imposed in the Fernvale tender and it was waived; if not ,when did the URA drop this condition since it imposed as far back as 1999? The fact that the son of Goh Chok Tong and a person said to be the brother of a powerful individual are directors of Cordlife should be a matter of concern. Would the Minister set up a Committee in the interest of transparency and good governance?

  7. "Would the Minister set up a Committee in the interest of transparency and good governance?", unquote.

    If the Political Leaders are DUTIFUL AND RESPONSIBLE, there would NOT have been so many 'lack of due diligence' happening so frequently.


  8. @ Anonymous 2/01/2015 10:20 AM
    "Would the Minister set up a Committee in the interest of transparency and good governance?"

    Like the Prime Minister on 9th January 2013 calling for a Review of the AIM transaction by the MND, "to satisfy itself that public funds were safeguarded and residents’ interests were not compromised.." ? The outcome: "The Review Team concluded that the AIM transaction of 2010 had complied with the TCs Act and the TCFR."

    Calling for the MND to review it's own malfeasance? To be a judge and jury in your own case is against the principles of natural law, because one can conclude that the results will already be preordained. If this latest saga is more serious than meets the eye, we need an Independent Review Committee, not one set up by the Minister or PM.

  9. "Would the Minister set up a Committee in the interest of transparency and good governance?"

    " If this latest saga is more serious than meets the eye, we need an Independent Review Committee, not one set up by the Minister or PM."

    Think we stand a better chance by inviting the malaysians as 3rd party to review.

  10. Why should HDB choose to "honor" the tender if some entity is allowed to sell fake religious entity under another brand name?
    Which law and real estate agent are these so called "experts" that were consulted, hoping to reframe the issue here?

    The intention to deceive is clearly spelled out by Khaw. Not to mention the very obvious negligence by the tender officer to just award based on highest bidder with no background check? How believable is that?

    Perhaps it is no coincidence that Lam Pin Min was wrongly informed. And it is no mistake that HDB & URA + MP were all trying their darnest best to push their luck and try to make the Columbarium deal stay despite the objections and push-back. When that fails, they have to do a u-turn, even if it makes the MP looks contradictorily bad.

    The analogy of ZYT is also no accident too. ZYT has the blessing of "his" father to disguise as a man in order to study. So the intention to deceive is there, and blessed ahead with the knowledge of the father. And what was supposedly about "sworn-brothers" pact, became ZYT trying to tell LSB that s(he) will match-mate his/her sister to LSB. Now we may not be sure who is sworn brothers with which Ministers for them to pledge "till death do us part", but we clearly see how Khaw is trying to do a match making with EPL and another religious group now in order to keep the sweetheart deal?

    As for the ending, it may very well all depends on how the residents want to direct the movie. Otherwise, this is not just a bad pun, but a lot of hidden nuances and messages intended only for the recipients to know.

    How convenient for one MP to tag another to comment about the garbage scene at Laneway and deriding Singaporeans' "cleanliness behavior" while providing a nice distraction, from say, some other dirty behaviors from being exposed? What if , what if?

    Methinks there are more rats burrows than meets the eyes here.

  11. Everyone in the construction business knows that when it comes to HDB contracts, the authorities will scutinise every tender bid with a fine comb. No ifs, no buts, and no hanky panky is allowed.

    So when the Minister says it was a honest mistaken identity, I really don't believe him unless he really support his clarification with facts. Without any facts presented, it can also mean it is only a red herring trying to cover and close up the matter for good.

    If he said someone assumed the company was OK, shouldn't he at least identify who is this someone because it can also means it was a deliberate assumption made by someone ?

    Honestly, does the Minister thinks we are fools to just believe his word is the truth ?

    1. Yes
      They know for a fact that we are not fools


      They have majority in parliament... and fools just make it so much more comfortable.