SINGAPORE: The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Central Committee stands in “unanimous” support for Mr Ng Chee Meng as the NTUC secretary-general, said NTUC president Mary Liew on Tuesday (Jul 14).
In a media statement, Ms Liew said the results of the 2020 General Election had “brought to the fore” the position of NTUC secretary-general.
She said the position is one that stands “independent of political appointments” as it is an NTUC-elected position.
“The members of the NTUC Central Committee stand in unanimous support for Brother Ng Chee Meng as secretary-general of NTUC,” said Ms Liew.
In an article on the NTUC website dated Jul 11, one day after polling for the General Election, NTUC said Mr Ng would stay on as the labour chief, but having lost his parliamentary seat, would relinquish his Cabinet post of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Mr Ng headed the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) team, comprising political office-holders Lam Pin Min and Amrin Amin, as well as Raymond Lye, in Sengkang GRC.
PAP’s team lost with 47.87 per cent of the vote against the Workers’ Party’s 52.13 per cent.
CABINET AND LABOUR POSTS “INDEPENDENT” OF EACH OTHER
Over the last 40 years, the NTUC secretary-general has also been a member of the Cabinet, Ms Liew, the NTUC president, said.
“It is upon the NTUC Central Committee’s request and mutual agreement that a Cabinet Minister is seconded to NTUC. Whilst the two roles have been inextricably linked, they are in fact independent of each other,” she added.
Mr Ng reiterated this point in a Facebook post: “While the role of the Labour Chief and Cabinet Minister have been inextricably linked and has served workers well, they are in fact independent.”
The role of the NTUC secretary-general is elected by union delegates once in four years at the national level.
In 2018, Mr Ng, then the deputy secretary-general, was elected to NTUC’s top post after his predecessor Chan Chun Sing resigned, following a Cabinet reshuffle.
Ms Liew said Mr Ng had played an “instrumental role” in various initiatives to help secure workers’ livelihoods.
“He championed workers’ training at the institutional level, through the setting up of Company Training Committees, where union leaders and management partners worked to ensure workers’ training needs are not forgotten.”
Ms Liew added he had also “led the charge” on providing timely assistance to at-risk workers through the NTUC Job Security Council.
“To date, some 12,000 workers have been matched to new roles. Time and again, he has shown his heart in caring for workers and proven his mettle,” she said.
Ms Liew said NTUC remains resolute in its mission to help workers and that Mr Ng has over the last two years pushed for many initiatives for workers, adding it is work “that must continue”.
“We stand in solidarity as we continue this journey together,” she added.