Temasek sets up $40m fund to help Singapore prepare for emergencies

Temasek Holdings is kickstarting events to mark its 40th year by setting up a $40 million fund to help Singapore prepare for and deal with difficult situations such as emergencies.

The Temasek Emergency Preparedness (TEP) fund will give money to programmes that support people in crises including environmental disasters such as haze, or trauma from accidents.

"In Temasek we believe that if you want to do well you have to be prepared all the time," said Temasek Holdings chairman Lim Boon Heng at a media briefing last Friday.

"And so as we reflect on how we should celebrate our 40th anniversary, we thought that this is an area we should be looking at."

Recalling the Sars epidemic that hit Singapore in 2003 and the haze that engulfed the country last year, Mr Lim said these episodes have underscored the need for Singapore and Singaporeans to be ready to react to emergencies.

"These kinds of experiences tell us that being prepared is one way of mitigating the consequences of unexpected events," he said.

Some uses the fund could be put to include helping to buy and distribute masks in the case of haze, or putting together a pack of supplies to be used in emergencies, Mr Lim suggested.

The specific initiatives to be funded under this endowment will be announced later.

The new fund will be administered by Temasek Cares, one of seven of what are called non-profit philanthropic organisations under Temasek's umbrella.

Temasek Trust, which administers the funds to these organisations, has set aside about $1.5 billion in endowment funds for various causes since 2003.

Mr Lim said that Temasek "cannot work in a silo" and sees itself as part of a broader community in which it "learns, earns and returns".

"We learn by doing, with some occasional missteps, we earn by taking a long term view, and we return to our shareholders and to the community," he said.

"So as a company we pay taxes like other companies, we pay a dividend to our shareholder, the Government, and we provide funds to help the community."

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