The head of Singapore's National Kidney Foundation T.T. Durai resigned after newspaper reports about his salary and perks prompted a public outcry and calls for him to step down.
Durai, the charity's 56-year-old chief executive, offered his resignation two days after scrapping a defamation suit against Singapore Press Holdings Ltd., owner of the Business Times and Straits Times newspapers.
"The NKF board and the CEO sought the minister's intervention and offered to resign," Singapore's Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said today in a statement, noting the government will name an interim chief to run the charity and will reconstitute the foundation's board. "Shattered public confidence must be restored."
The National Kidney Foundation's offices were this week vandalized and more than 34,800 people signed an online petition calling for Durai's ouster, after the Business Times reported that he was paid S$1.8 million ($1.06 million) over the past three years and sometimes traveled first-class. The newspaper cited disclosures made in a court hearing Monday.
The controversy led more than 3,800 donors to cancel their monthly contributions to the charity as of 5:30 p.m. yesterday, according to foundation spokeswoman Juliana Khoo.
The charity will suspend fund-raising activities until the new board completes a review of its operations, the Ministry of Health said in a separate statement today.
Balaji Sadasivan, senior minister of state for health, today urged that the controversy shouldn't disrupt the care of kidney dialysis patients.
"Looking at the events in the past 24 hours, it appears this trust that the public had in the NKF has suffered," Channel News Asia quoted Sadasivan as saying. "It is very important that NKF rebuild the trust of the public by being transparent."