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Lee Hui Chieh
Wed, Jul 16, 2008
The Straits Times
Ming Yi suspended from office in 5 other bodies

THE Ministry of Health (MOH) called it an immediate suspension.

Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre's management's version was that he stepped down voluntarily.

Whichever the case, Ming Yi is no longer an office-bearer for now in the charity and five other organisations.

The Commissioner of Charities has suspended him from decision-making positions in Foo Hai Ch'an Monastery; Foo Hai Ch'an Buddhist Cultural and Welfare Association; Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic; the Singapore Regional Centre of the World Fellowship of Buddhists; and the Katho Temple.

Ren Ci's board of directors has reassured MOH that the absence of its former chief executive will not affect its operations and services.

It said Ming Yi had already stopped being involved in the charity after going on leave in February - when the police began investigations into its finances - and he resigned on Monday.

Ren Ci's clinical director and MP Ong Seh Hong has been acting as its interim chief executive since February.

The ministry said yesterday that it would continue subsidising Ren Ci's needy patients.

It added that it was studying a request from the charity to inject more funds to cope with rising construction costs for the new Ren Ci Community Hospital in Irrawaddy Road.

Previous reports said MOH will fund $21.04 million of the hospital's estimated $30.8 million construction costs.

Both the ministry and Ren Ci declined to say how much more the project is expected to cost, and how much more MOH is being asked to give.

The hospital's expected completion date has been delayed from the first quarter of this year to September, and now, to December.

At the Singapore Buddhist Free Clinic, Ming Yi was replaced as the chairman of its 33-member board by Venerable Guang Sheng last month.

The change was part of the charity's regular elections every two years and not because of the investigations into Ming Yi, said its executive secretary, Venerable Xian Tong.

Its six clinics, offering heavily subsidised traditional Chinese medicine treatment, are operating as usual, she said.

Yesterday, at the Foo Hai Ch'an Monastery in Geylang East, where Ming Yi served as abbott, a worker said its day-to-day operations were not affected and its council would be convening to discuss who would take charge.

The monastery served as the secretariat of an international Buddhist group's Singapore arm, the Singapore Regional Centre of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, but it was not active here, he said.

The Katho Temple in Geylang Lorong 31 has been used a a 'hermitage' by an American monk, Venerable Sri Tantra, for the last three years.

The monk said yesterday that Ming Yi had let him stay in the largely disused and run-down temple to carry out his research into Buddhist history and philosophy.

Only a handful of old-time temple devotees and representatives from the Foo Hai Ch'an Monastery would visit from time to time, he said.


 
 
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