Singapore is able to achieve self-sufficiency in water due largely to the strong political will of the Government and innovative, enterprising local companies the likes of Hyflux.
Leveraging on collaborative research and strong domestic market support, Hyflux soon became a global name in recycling waste water and desalination.
It saddens me to note that a once successful home-grown global company that first brought us Newater is now faced with a liquidity crisis with a choice of either giving away majority ownership to an Indonesian consortium with massive write-down or face liquidation.
In such a situation, I am of the view that Temasek is the most qualified white knight to step in to the rescue. One may argue against creating a morale hazard, but looking at the bigger picture, promoting water generation and recycling industrial technologies in Singapore is of a more strategic value compared with other commercial entities.
Furthermore, this is one of the successful niche industries in which we have gained a head start and is good enough to export to the Middle East, China and the rest of the world.
It was reported that Hyflux's financial situation was worsened by its investment into the Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Plant.
Given the current irreversible situation, the question we should ask ourselves is whether Singapore's interests would be better served by more investment dollar pumped in by Temasek or by a foreign consortium.
Chiou Lid Jian