Wednesday July 13, 2005
NKF boss paid yearly salary of RM1.3m
SINGAPORE: The chief executive of Singapore's biggest charity group withdrew a defamation suit yesterday after being forced to reveal his annual salary of about S$600,000 (RM1.3mil) local media reported.
T.T. Durai, the chief executive officer of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), also conceded he flew first class when travelling overseas, although he insisted he was entitled to the benefits of “every other CEO.”
Durai appeared in court on Monday as part of a defamation suit by NKF against Singapore Press Holdings, the publisher of the city-state's main English language newspaper, the Straits Times.
But yesterday, after his salary and perks generated major media coverage in the city-state, Durai and the foundation withdrew their lawsuit, local broadcaster MediaCorp reported.
NKF had sued Singapore Press Holdings over a Straits Times article last year that stated a gold-plated tap had been installed and later replaced in the private bathroom of Durai's office suite.
NKF said the article had damaged the charity's reputation by implying that donors' funds were being misused.
The Straits Times published a detailed account of Monday's proceedings, focused on Durai's benefits and salaries, which he did not initially want to make public.
“I like my salary to remain private,” Durai said, before disclosing he earned S$25,000 (RM56,000) a month, plus annual bonuses equivalent to 10-12 months of wages.
Singapore Press Holdings' counsel Davinder Singh launched into a scathing criticism of Durai's salary.
“The man who earns S$1,000 a month who donates S$50 every month thinking that is going to save lives ... should he not know that this is the kind of money you earn,” Davinder Singh asked.
Durai inisisted: “I don't see the need for him to know.”
NKF, which had reserves of S$189mil (RM425mil) in 2002, is one of Singapore's richest and highest-profile charities.
It regularly holds television donation drives in which celebrities perform sometimes dangerous stunts.
One such event on Sunday, the “NKF Cancer Show 2,” raised S$5.35mil (RM12mil).
NKF describes itself on its website as “the largest charitable organisation in Singapore” and the “largest not-for-profit dialysis provider in the world.”
“Established in 1969, we are counted as a model of social entrepreneurship in Singapore,” the site says. – AFP