SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) board members will take a voluntary 10 per cent reduction in directors’ fees, and the salary of those in senior management will be cut.

The move comes as “an expression of sympathy and solidarity with fellow Singaporeans facing the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic”, said SPH on Thursday (March 26).

SPH chief executive officer Ng Yat Chung will take a pay cut of 10 per cent; senior management staff will have their salaries cut by 5 per cent. The cuts start next month and will be reviewed at the end of the year.

“The global pandemic has affected our businesses and posed challenges to our stakeholders. We have volunteered the pay cuts to better position ourselves to ride out this difficult time with our stakeholders,” said Mr Ng.

SPH Reit (real estate investment trust) also said on Thursday that it will fully pass on the property tax rebate to its tenants “in a targeted manner”. This comes after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that qualifying commercial properties will pay no property tax in 2020, and businesses in other non-residential properties will get a rebate of 30 per cent.

“SPH Reit will pass on fully the property tax rebate received from the Singapore government for its Singapore assets to qualifying tenants adversely impacted by Covid-19,” it said in its statement.

SPH Reit manager’s board of directors will be taking a 10 per cent cut of directors’ fees. Chief executive officer of SPH Reit Susan Leng will also take a pay cut of 10 per cent; other senior staff will take pay cuts of 5 per cent. The cuts will be effective from next month and be reviewed at the end of the year.

Separately, SPH Foundation will be donating S$100,000 to The Courage Fund to help families, individuals and those at the frontline who are affected by the ongoing pandemic.

Said SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang: “The ongoing Covid-19 public health crisis has severely impacted Singapore’s economic performance. SPH is not immune to the coronavirus’ impact. The fee and pay cut is a gesture of the Board and senior management team’s resolve to navigate these difficult times together with our stakeholders.”

Earlier initiatives by SPH, which publishes The Straits Times, to help those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak include donations and a partnership with Samsung to give out its News Tablet and digital subscriptions to patients and individuals who are being isolated or quarantined in the hospitals and quarantine centres.