Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon have been unveiled by the labour movement as its deputy secretaries-general, in a move that is expected to lead to Ng taking over from Chan Chun Sing as the next National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) chief.
Speaking to reporters on Monday (23 April), Ng declined to say if he would eventually become the new labour chief, according to media reports. But Ng later told The Straits Times, “I am always ready (to step up as secretary-general), when the moment arrives.”
The announcement by NTUC comes after it wrote to Prime Minster Lee Hsien Loong on 16 April for suitable office holders, including Ng, to serve in the labour movement.
In a post on his Facebook page on Monday, Lee said, “I have asked (NTUC chief and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office) Chan Chun Sing to return to the Government. In response NTUC has asked me to send Ng Chee Meng to serve in the Labour Movement. I have agreed to this.”
Lee also attached his letter addressed to Mary Liew, President of NTUC, on Monday in which he said that he had agreed to Ng serving NTUC on a part-time basis from Monday and on a full-time basis from 1 May onwards.
In addition, Lee said he had asked Koh to serve NTUC on a part-time basis while retaining his ministry appointments at the same time.
Lee’s announcement comes before he unveils the widely anticipated Cabinet reshuffle, which he said is expected to happen “in a day or two” in his Facebook post.