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Singapore lawmaker defends Grab Job after conflict issues

(Bloomberg) – A lawmaker from Singapore’s ruling party took to social media to publicize her new role as head of government relations at Grab Holdings Ltd. to defend and dismissed concerns about possible conflicts of interest.

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Tin Pei Ling, who was appointed director of public affairs and politics this week, said in a Facebook post that she can keep her two roles separate. But while lawmakers in the city-state are allowed to hold private-sector jobs, the practice has drawn mixed opinion online.

“I have received several inquiries as to whether there is a conflict of interest as I am still a Member of Parliament,” said Tin, who also chairs the parliamentary Committee on Communications and Information, according to the ruling People’s Action Party website. “I am absolutely clear that my constituents and Singapore come first as I fulfill my duties in my capacity as an MP.”

The company clarified in a statement on Wednesday that “the two roles are distinct and we have established clear rules on engagement to ensure conflicts of interest are avoided,” it said, adding that “many” MPs hold such roles .

READ ALSO: Grab Hires Singaporean Politician For Public Affairs Role

Tin entered politics more than a decade ago and was elected to Parliament by a team led by former Prime Minister and Prime Minister Emeritus Goh Chok Tong. As one of the youngest candidates slated at the time, Tin was initially scrutinized and criticized for her age and political inexperience. In the last election, she triumphed in the general election, winning 71.7% of the vote in her district, among the highest margins in re-elections.

Like governments around the world, Singapore is introducing legislative changes to better protect workers in the gig economy. Ride-hailing and meal-delivery companies build on the work of these low-wage contract workers but have refused to hire them full-time to contain costs.

“When I work for Grab, I have to make sure Grab’s interests are protected,” Tin said.

The ruling People’s Action Party did not respond to requests for comment.

The public response to Tin’s Facebook post was overwhelming. “As long as all sides are transparent and clean, there shouldn’t be a problem,” noted one poster. Posts on another online forum popular in Singapore were more critical.

“How can we be absolutely sure that she won’t use the information and knowledge she gains as MP to enrich the grave?” said another.

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