Two prominent corporate leaders conferred honours by Belgium

Fock Siew Wah, group chairman of PSA International, was conferred the title of Commander of the Order of the Crown by Belgium on Thursday. -- PHOTO: PSA INTERNATIONAL
Fock Siew Wah, group chairman of PSA International, was conferred the title of Commander of the Order of the Crown by Belgium on Thursday. -- PHOTO: PSA INTERNATIONAL
Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of Keppel Corporation (centre), receiving a medal from Belgium's Princess Astrid (left) with the help of Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs (right) of Belgium on Thursda
Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of Keppel Corporation (centre), receiving a medal from Belgium's Princess Astrid (left) with the help of Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs (right) of Belgium on Thursday. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

BELGIUM has conferred the title of Commander of the Order of the Crown on PSA International's group chairman Mr Fock Siew Wah and Keppel Corporation's chairman Dr Lee Boon Yang.

The Order, bestowed by Belgium's Princess Astrid on Thursday during a visit to Singapore, recognises the contributions by Mr Fock and Mr Lee to economic cooperation and trade between the two nations.

In the ceremony, Mr Fock, 74, dedicated the honour to PSA's staff in Singapore and Belgium, where the company operates two terminals, in Antwerp and Zeebrugge. PSA had acquired the local port stevedore Hesse-Noord Natie in 2002. As one of PSA's largest investments outside of Singapore, the PSA Antwerp and PSA Zeebrugge terminals handled around eight million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of containers last year in Belgium.

Mr Fock said Singapore and Belgium face similar challenges, set among bigger neighbouring countries and fast-changing geo-political and economic paradigms. "Sometimes it's hard for governments to change course, to redirect attention and make fast decisions," Mr Fock said. "There is a future and opportunity - all I ask is for our governments, of Singapore and Belgium as well, to think about having a new mindset, perhaps having a new way of doing things, being more bold and daring in introducing new things into the system so that we can become and continue to be competitive vis-à-vis surrounding countries."

Speaking at a separate conferment ceremony, Keppel's Dr Lee, 67, also commended the hard work of his colleagues at Keppel Seghers, an environmental technology company in Belgium that the Singapore group acquired in 2002. The unit's turnover was €106 million (S$171 million) last year.

"The synergy within Keppel Seghers, founded in Belgium and now linked to Singapore, has delivered value and benefited many around the world," Dr Lee said. "In Qatar, Keppel Seghers built and is operating the landmark Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre, which is the first-of-its-kind integrated waste management facility in the Middle East… In China, Keppel Seghers has supplied its waste-to-energy technology for 19 projects."