Education Minister (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng, 49, is set to be appointed as National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Deputy Secretary-General, making him the favourite to become the next Secretary-General.
Citing reliable sources, Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao reported that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will announce Ng’s new appointment at the next Cabinet reshuffle. Lee had previously said that the reshuffle will take place after Parliament takes its mid-term break in May.
If Ng’s new appointment is confirmed, current Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing, 48, will be assigned a new portfolio, said the report. The Secretary-General has traditionally come from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The reshuffle could result in a new minister at MOE alongside Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, or the ministry may revert to being headed by one minister.
Both Chan and Ng are key members of the 4G leadership, with the former considered one of the frontrunners to succeed Lee as PM.
According to Zaobao, news of Ng’s new appointment first surfaced several months ago, but had not been officially confirmed. Sources told Zaobao on Tuesday (20 March) that the NTUC Central Committee has been informed of the move, in hopes that it would support Ng when he takes up the post next month.
NTUC’s constitution states that the Central Committee can appoint up to eight Deputy Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General at the suggestion of the Secretary-General. However, there cannot be more than three Deputy Secretaries-General at any one time.
With Ng’s appointment, there will be two Deputy Secretaries-General including Heng Chee How, who is Senior Minister of State in the PMO.