Accusations of 'profiteering and corruption' over COVID-19 community care facilities untrue: Surbana Jurong

Accusations of 'profiteering and corruption' over COVID-19 community care facilities untrue: Surbana Jurong

EXPO exterior COVID-19 community isolation facility
The exterior of The Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria, where a community care facility (CCF) for COVID-19 patients has been set up.

SINGAPORE: Infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong has refuted online allegations that it is "profiteering" from the setting up and running of Community Care Facilities (CCFs) for COVID-19 isolation, including a facility at the Singapore Expo.

"Our involvement in Singapore Expo has been most unfairly subjected to unfounded accusations of profiteering and corruption in some social media posts," it said in a statement on Tuesday (May 19). It did not specify which social media posts it was referring to.

"These allegations are not only untrue, they are disrespectful of our colleagues who have made enormous sacrifices, including putting their health at risk, to deliver the projects under challenging conditions."

The company added: "We absolutely refute the allegations and will not hesitate to take legal action against any perpetrator who continues to make scurrilous attacks against our company." 

READ: 45 buses ferrying up to 600 COVID-19 patients from hospitals, dorms to community care facilities daily

The company, which is owned by Temasek Holdings, said its parent company engaged Surbana, as well as other portfolio companies, to help government agencies house COVID-19 patients.

CCFs house COVID-19 patients who are clinically well and no longer require acute care, as well as newly-confirmed cases with mild symptoms who do not require extensive medical treatment. These facilities include D'Resort, Singapore Expo and Changi Exhibition Centre.

READ: Stretched but coping: How Singapore's healthcare system has cranked up efforts to deal with COVID-19

Surbana said it has been providing technical services as an urban and infrastructure consulting firm to various government agencies involved in the setting up and running of CCFs in Singapore in the last two months.

"As part of its efforts to support the community during this time, our shareholder Temasek engaged some of its portfolio companies that could provide specialist support, and all readily stepped up to support," it said. 

"There was an urgent need for CCFs to house patients with early symptoms of COVID-19 and those recovering from it. Surbana Jurong was called upon to help quickly develop these facilities." 

In March, it was asked to identify and study possible locations: "We explored various sites and found Singapore Expo, with its existing mechanical and electrical infrastructure and extensive indoor space, to be large enough and fit for purpose." 

EXPO Interior community isolation facility bed
A cubicle at a community care facility for COVID-19 patients at The Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria. (Photo: MOH)

As Singapore Expo is also a Temasek portfolio company and was already engaged to support this initiative, Surbana Jurong was able to immediately work on converting Singapore Expo into the first CCF, it said.

A team of 50 people set up 10 halls with 8,000 beds in four weeks, said Surbana Jurong. The team was led by Surbana Jurong's CEO Singapore, Mr Yeo Choon Chong, and director Vincent Lee, Director, under the direct supervision of Group CEO Wong Heang Fine, it said. 

It also partnered PSA, Woodlands Health Campus, Parkway Pantai, SingEx, Resorts World Sentosa and other companies.

READ: Woodlands Health Campus investigates unauthorised filming of COVID-19 patients in mass exercise at Singapore Expo

"It was no mean task, and required tremendous dedication, focus and long hours of hard work," it said. 

"In service of the community, we will continue to provide our expertise to projects related to managing the COVID-19 crisis on a cost-recovery basis."

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Source: CNA/hm(ac)

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