ALPS Chairman's Straits Times Interview
ALPS in the news - Our Chairman, Mr Philip Eng, mentioned ALPS’ pandemic contributions in his interview with the Straits Times:
>He seemed proudest of ALPS, the centralised procurement arm of Singapore’s three health clusters. ‘Our purpose is to bring healthcare costs down for Singaporeans,” he says, noting that the importance of ALPS came to the fore during the Covid-19 pandemic. “If not for ALPS, we would not have coped as well as we did.”
Read the full interview below:
Me And My Car
Mr Mercedes buys his first Japanese car
Mr Philip Eng is a man who wears many hats, but he is probably best known for his tenure as group managing director of Mercedes-Benz sole agent Cycle & Carriage from 1996 to 2005.
The first thing the whisky-loving accountant-turned-helmsman- turned-diplomat did when he left the Mercedes dealership was to buy a BMW 6-series.
“It’s fun to drive and own a com- petitor’s car,” says the 76-year-old with his signature guffaw.
He has since owned several other cars, including a Maserati Gran- Turismo, Jaguar XI and Porsche Panamera.
But he typically does not stray far from the three-pointed star, saying that he “always had an S-class” in his garage, and has owned an SL500 as well as a steroidal Mercedes-AMG CLS63-which he promptly sold after getting two speeding tickets within a week.
“I am not a real car buff, but I think in that range, Mercedes was still better - at that time,” he says.
Which is surprising then that he bought a Toyota Alphard 3.5 years ago. He has a chauffeur for the car, but drives it about once or twice a week.
“I have no regrets. When I first drove it, I found it had barely any blind spots. It’s actually easier to drive than the S-class,” he says. “And if four of you wanted to drive to Malaysia, you can imagine how com fortable it is. There is so much head room and legroom.”
Mr Eng folds up the third row of seats of the boxy 2.5-litre multi-seater permanently because, that way, it is much easier to carry golf bags whenever he goes to the green. “Otherwise, you have to spend a few minutes each time you want to carry something bulky.”
He says he should have bought the car earlier. “My friends kept asking me to get one. I’m glad I bought it. And it’s a Toyota, so it’s very dependable.”
He bought the car when it was 2.5 years old and recalled paying about $160,000 for it.
Mr Eng has another car a Porsche Macan. In fact, he bought the Macan before he got the Alphard. “I thought if I moved from two doors to four doors, it would be easier to get in and out,but I kept knocking my head. So I decided to switch to an SUV,” he says.
Mr Eng, who is married and has two grown children - a son and a daughter - and three grandchildren aged between six and nine, still has a fairly busy schedule.
He has held several non-resident ambassadorships - for Nigeria, Greece, Cyprus and Canada. He just stepped down as Canadian envoy in June.
He also serves on the boards of several companies and organisations.
Currently, he sits on the boards of Frasers Hospitality, Indonesian finance group PT Adira Finance, Malaysian Reit Hektar Asset Management, surveillance systems specialist TSI Tech, and ALPS.
He is chairman for the last two, as well as for Frasers Hospitality.
He seems proudest of ALPS, the centralised procurement arm of Singapore’s three health clusters. “Our purpose is to bring healthcare costs down for Singaporeans,” he says, noting that the importance of ALPS came to the fore during the Covid-19 pandemic. “If not for ALPS, we would not have coped as well as we did.”
In between board responsibilities, family and golf, Mr Eng says “I have lunch”.
“You try to enjoy yourself. That’s important as we grow older. You meet young people, engage with them, find out what’s shaping their world. You actually learn from them.”