Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. National Trades Union Congress Secretary-General (NTUC Sec-Gen) Ng Chee Meng is not a Minister of Parliament but is co-opted into the 37th People’s Association Party’s Central Elective Committee (PAP CEC) on Saturday, 26 November 2022.
Is this possible?
Yes, let me explain why.
PAP and NTUC have a Symbiotic Relationship
Simply put, PAP and NTUC have an intertwined relationship such that each extracts value from the other. An analogy would be the relationship between flowers and bees. Bees gather nectar from flowers, which they make into food. Pollen from the flowers rubs onto the bees’ bodies as they collect the nectar, which pollinates the next flower that the bee goes to. A win-win situation.
Brief History between PAP and NTUC
It all started when PAP’s founding father, Mr Lee Kwan Yew, embarked on his political life by representing unions. And of the first PAP CEC Protem Committee, more than half of its members were from trade unions. To put it in a one-liner, PAP has its roots in union. This close relationship existed even before the formation of NTUC.
The PAP-supported union, NTUC, however, was pragmatic and focused on workers’ welfare. PAP’s goal was to help Singaporeans get jobs and create a strong economy and through NTUC, drive it. Creating a strong economy by looking after the jobs and welfare of workers was instrumental in ensuring a small nation like Singapore could remain competitive and survive.
Union Leaders within PAP
Ng Chee Meng’s Accomplishments as NTUC Sec-Gen
Since the establishment of the CTC model in 2019, NTUC currently has more than 1000 CTCs to help workers train for the technological challenges of the future. Schemes such as the Fair Retrenchment Framework and the Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme were also introduced to help workers tide over the trying times of COVID-19. Not forgetting the mobilisation of the Job Security Council to help with the placement and training of workers.
Mr Ng Co-leads Empower Pillar of Forward Singapore Exercise
If you are keeping up with the news, you should know that Mr Ng is now co-leading the Empower pillar with Manpower Minister Tan See Leng (also co-opted into the 37th PAP CEC on Saturday) and Senior Minister of State Koh Poh Koon. As part of the Forward Singapore exercise to review and refresh Singapore’s social compact, the Empower pillar focuses on the economy and jobs.