Liew Mun Leong (Singapore Businessman)

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Liew Mun Leong
Liew Mun Leong profile.jpg
BornJune 1946
EducationBachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering)
Alma materUniversity of Singapore

Liew Mun Leong (born June 1946) was the chairman of Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Surbana Jurong Private Limited, an urban and infrastructure consulting firm. He retired from these positions in September 2020 following his involvement in the Parti Liyani court case.[1] A decorated civil engineer and businessman who has had experience in the real estate and aviation industries, Liew Mun Leong was conferred the Meritorious Service Medal by the President of Singapore in 2011.[2][3] He was also bestowed the rank of Knight (Chevalier) in the French National Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur) in recognition of his contributions to France’s economy.[4]

Background[edit | edit source]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Leong is married to Ng Lai Peng.[5] Together they have a son, Karl Liew and a daughter, Liew Cheng May.[6][7]

Education[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Loong was a student of Queenstown Technical School.[8] He then went to the University of Singapore where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1970.[9]

Career[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Leong has held various positions in Singapore’s public and private sectors. With professional beginnings in the 1970s as a civil engineer with the Ministry of Defence,[10][11] he then forayed into the private sector in the 1990s. In a 2020 interview with CNBC, Liew Mun Leong said:

“I started off as a bureaucrat, but I have transformed myself to be a businessperson… To me, you can just transmit and transform, provided you can adopt the flexibility, your value system and your pragmatism. It’s considered a big jump but it’s the same.”[12]

Liew Mun Leong (right) lecturing at NUS Business School. Photo from Channel News Asia.

Following his resignation from CapitaLand Limited in 2012, he was appointed Provost's Chair Professor (Practice) at the National University of Singapore (NUS).[13] He teaches as a part-time and pro bono professor at the NUS Business School and Faculty of Engineering while being the chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong Private Limited.

Early career[edit | edit source]

In 1975, Liew Mun Leong helped to build Singapore’s Changi Airport’s first terminal and first runway in his capacity as a professional civil engineer.[14] For his contributions, he was awarded the bronze Public Administration Medal in 1979 at the National Day Awards.[15] Ten years later, he led the construction of Changi Airport Terminal 2.[16]

Joining the private sector[edit | edit source]

Before joining CapitaLand, Liew Mun Leong was the chief of the L&M Group.[17]

CEO of CapitaLand Limited (1996 - 2012)[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Leong joined CapitaLand Limited in 1996 as its founding President and Chief Executive Officer.[18][19] In 2007, he reportedly received a $20.52 million bonus for helping CapitaLand achieve a record profit of $2.76 billion.[20] In 2010, his compensation package amounted to about $6.7 million, out of which $1.3 million was his salary. The remaining amount comprised of his bonus, awarded shares and other benefits.[21] Under his leadership, The Ascott, a lodging company managed by CapitaLand, also became the first Singaporean investor and employer in France.[22] Liew Mun Leong reportedly resigned as the company’s Chief Executive Officer in June 2012.[23][24]

Leadership at Changi Airport Group (2009 - 2020)[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Leong was awarded the Legion of Honour from France in 2017. Photo from source.

Liew Mun Leong was appointed to the Changi Airport Group Board on 16 June 2009.[25] Jewel Changi Airport, a $1.7 billion partnership between Changi Airport Group (CAG) and CapitaLand, was also built under his direction as the chairman of the CAG.[26]

Board appointments[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Leong (left) pictured with the late Lee Kuan Yew on his visit to Changi Airport. Photo from Channel News Asia.

The following is a list of Liew Mun Leong’s board appointments over the years.

Year(s) Organisation Position Held Refs.
2013 - 2020 Surbana International Consultants Holdings Pte Ltd Chairman [27]
2013 - current Pavilion Gas Pte Ltd Chairman
Pavilion Energy Pte Ltd Director
2012 - current Human Capital Leadership Institute Director
2011 - 2020 Temasek Foundation Nurtures Chairman [28]
2010 - current Chinese Development Assistance Council Director [27]
2009 - current NUS Business School Management Advisory Board Member
Singapore Exchange Limited Director
2009 - 2020 Changi Airport Group Chairman
2005 - current CapitaLand Hope Foundation Director
2004 - current Singapore-China Foundation Director
1996 - 2012 CapitaLand Limited Chief Executive Officer

Retirement[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Leong announced his retirement from four of his positions on 10 September 2020, following the Singapore court's decision to acquit his former domestic helper, Parti Liyani of all theft charges. He says:

"After much deliberation, I have decided to bring forward my retirement from the various public service and business roles with Changi Airport Group, Surbana Jurong, Temasek Foundation, and Temasek International with immediate effect,"[29]

Liew Mun Leong was a senior international business adviser at the investment company, Temasek International.[30]

Publications[edit | edit source]

Liew Mun Leong pictured in 2016 with his fourth publication. Photo from The Straits Times.

Liew Mun Leong has authored five books in his lifetime. His volumes are based on his real-world experiences as the chief of private and public entities over the course of his career. The books encompass topics ranging from project management to airport systems.[31] The following is a timeline of his publications.

Publication Date Title Volume Refs.
2018 Sunday Emails from a Chairman 5 [32]
2016 Building People: Sunday Emails From a Chairman 4 [33]
2013 Building People: Sunday Emails from a CEO 3 [34]
2010 2 [35]
2007 1 [36]

Newsworthy incident[edit | edit source]

Theft accusations against Parti Liyani (2016)[edit | edit source]

From left to right: Parti Liyani, Liew Mun Leong and Karl Liew. Photo from The Straits Times.

In October 2016, Liew Mun Leong fired Parti Liyani, his domestic helper of about nine years,[37] and subsequently had her arrested in December that year for allegedly stealing about $34,000 worth of items from his family.[38][39] According to a 2019 report by The Straits Times, these items included “a $10,000 Gerald Genta watch, 115 pieces of clothing worth $150 each, as well as two iPhones with accessories valued at more than $2,000”,[40] among other items.[41] In a 2018 statement to the court, Liew Mun Leong said the following:

“I have, in my heart, suspected her (of stealing) for many years."[42]

Between 2016 and 2020, Parti Liyani was not allowed to work and sought residence at a local shelter run by the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).[43]

Charges & acquittal (2019 - 2020)[edit | edit source]

On 25 March 2019, Parti Liyani was sentenced to two years and two months jail, having been found guilty on four counts of theft.[44] After appealing to the High Court against her conviction, she was acquitted on 4 September 2020.[45] The court found inconsistencies in the police investigations and the credibility of the evidence provided by the Liew family.[46][47] Additionally, the family had illegally deployed Parti Liyani to work at Karl Liew’s home and office on several occasions.[48] The court noted that Parti Liyani’s arrest in 2016 was to prevent her from reporting her illegal deployment to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).[49] In a 2020 press conference, Parti Liyani said the following:

“I forgive my employer. I just wish to tell them not to do the same thing to other workers what they have done to me.”[50]

References/ Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. Low Youjin. "'I don't wish my situation to be a distraction': Liew Mun Leong retires from all public service, business roles". TODAY. September 10, 2020. Accessed on 11 September 2020.
  2. "Recipients". Prime Ministers Office. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  3. "TOP NATIONAL DAY AWARDS GO TO AMBASSADOR, BANKER". TODAY. August 10, 2011. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  4. "Changi Airport Group Chairman Mr. Liew Mun Leong awarded with the Legion of Honour". Embassy of France in Singapore. September 25, 2017. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  5. Lum, Selina. "Maid accused of theft, then acquitted: DVD player faulty, CAG chief Liew Mun Leong couldn't give details on 'stolen' bags". The Straits Times. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  6. Wong Pei Ting. "Domestic worker ‘tried to get Liew Mun Leong’s family to ship stolen items to her’". TODAY. April 24, 2018. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  7. Shaffiq Alkhatib. "Maid stole more than $34k worth of items from Changi Airport Group chairman, his family". The Straits Times. March 20, 2019. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  8. Bharati Jagdish. "Why charges are needed to help pay for T5: Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong". Channel News Asia. April 1, 2018. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  9. "LIEW, Mun Leong". NUS Business School. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  10. Bharati Jagdish. "Why charges are needed to help pay for T5: Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong". Channel News Asia. April 1, 2018. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  11. Teo, Esther. "Started out developing camps [ARTICLE]". The Straits Times. October 12, 2011. Accessed on 11 September 2020. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  12. "CNBC Transcript: Liew Mun Leong, Chairman, Changi Airport Group". CNBC. March 24, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  13. Chia, Stacey. "Former CapitaLand CEO Liew Mun Leong joins NUS". The Straits Times. May 7, 2013. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  14. "CNBC Transcript: Liew Mun Leong, Chairman, Changi Airport Group". CNBC. March 24, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  15. "Recipients come from all walks of life". The Straits Times. August 9, 1979. Accessed on 7 September 2020. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  16. "SPEECH BY MR LIEW MUN LEONG, CHAIRMAN, CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP & SURBANA JURONG GROUP AT THE ACCREDITATION OF PROJECT MANAGERS OFFICIAL LAUNCH & SEMINAR ORGANISED BY THE SOCIETY OF PROJECT MANAGERS ON TUESDAY 6 JUNE 2017 AT 10 AM AT THE GRAND COPTHORNE WATERFRONT HOTEL". Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  17. Teo Xuanwei. "Can’t kick ball away but find a way to score". TODAY. October 25, 2012. Accessed on 7 September 2020. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  18. "LIEW, Mun Leong". NUS Business School. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  19. Bharati Jagdish. "Why charges are needed to help pay for T5: Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong". Channel News Asia. April 1, 2018. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  20. Wong Kim Hoh. "It Changed My Life: I always hire people who are better than me, says Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong". The Straits Times. February 3, 2019. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  21. "CAPITALAND CHIEF EXEC'S TOTAL COMPENSATION PACKAGE RISESTO S$6.7 MILLION LASTYEAR". TODAY. March 30, 2011. Accessed on 11 September 2020. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  22. "Changi Airport Group Chairman Mr. Liew Mun Leong awarded with the Legion of Honour". Embassy of France in Singapore. September 25, 2017. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  23. Bharati Jagdish. "Why charges are needed to help pay for T5: Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong". Channel News Asia. April 1, 2018. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  24. "CAPITALAND". TODAY. June 26, 2012. Accessed on 7 September 2020. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  25. "LIEW MUN LEONG". Changi Airport. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  26. "CNBC Transcript: Liew Mun Leong, Chairman, Changi Airport Group". CNBC. March 24, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "LIEW, Mun Leong". NUS Business School. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  28. "Board Members". Temasek Foundation Nurtures. Accessed on 11 September 2020.
  29. "Liew Mun Leong retires from CAG, other public service and business roles after court's decision on Parti Liyani case". Channel News Asia. September 10, 2020. Accessed on 11 September 2020.
  30. Lai, Leila. "Liew Mun Leong announces retirement from public service and business roles". The Business Times. September 10, 2020. Accessed on 11 September 2020.
  31. MONEY FM 89.3. "The Curve: Liew Mun Leong". YouTube. January 14, 2019. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  32. "Sunday Emails from a Chairman: Volume 5 (20th anniversary edition)". Books Kinokuniya Singapore. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  33. "Building People : Sunday Emails from a Chairman <4> [Paperback]". Books Kinokuniya Singapore. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  34. "Building People: Sunday Emails from a CEO, Volume 3". Google Books. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  35. "Building People: Sunday Emails from a Ceo, Volume 2". Goodreads. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  36. "Building People: Sunday Emails from a CEO". Amazon. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  37. Shaffiq Alkhatib. "Maid stole more than $34k worth of items from Changi Airport Group chairman, his family". The Straits Times. March 20, 2019. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  38. Lim, Janice. "Maid acquitted of stealing from CAG chairman Liew Mun Leong says she forgives him, but wants apology". TODAY. September 5, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  39. "CAG chairman's wife cautioned, son given advisory in 2018 after maid complained about illegal deployment: MOM". Channel News Asia. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  40. Shaffiq Alkhatib. "Maid stole more than $34k worth of items from Changi Airport Group chairman, his family". The Straits Times. March 20, 2019. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  41. Lum, Selina. "Maid accused of theft, then acquitted: DVD player faulty, CAG chief Liew Mun Leong couldn't give details on 'stolen' bags". The Straits Times. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  42. Ng, Charmaine. "Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong tells court he had suspected maid of stealing for many years". The Straits Times. August 16, 2018. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  43. Lim, Janice. "Maid acquitted of stealing from CAG chairman Liew Mun Leong says she forgives him, but wants apology". TODAY. September 5, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  44. Shaffiq Alkhatib. "Maid who stole from CAG chairman's home gets 26 months' jail". The Straits Times. March 26, 2019. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  45. "CAG chairman's wife cautioned, son given advisory in 2018 after maid complained about illegal deployment: MOM". Channel News Asia. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  46. Low, Dominic. "Agencies looking into case of ex-maid acquitted of stealing from CAG chief in light of judge's comments". The Straits Times. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  47. Lum, Selina. "Maid accused of theft, then acquitted: DVD player faulty, CAG chief Liew Mun Leong couldn't give details on 'stolen' bags". The Straits Times. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  48. "CAG chairman's wife cautioned, son given advisory in 2018 after maid complained about illegal deployment: MOM". Channel News Asia. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  49. Lum, Selina. "Accused of theft, then acquitted: Police report by CAG chief's family was to stop maid from complaining to MOM, says judge". The Straits Times. September 6, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.
  50. Lim, Janice. "Maid acquitted of stealing from CAG chairman Liew Mun Leong says she forgives him, but wants apology". TODAY. September 5, 2020. Accessed on 7 September 2020.