Speaking at the May Day Rally yesterday (1 May), the newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat pledged that the 4th Gen leaders of his party, the People’s Action Party, will continue to work with National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) to renew Singapore and create a brighter future for its citizens.
“Today is the first time I’m speaking to you as leader of the next generation of PAP leaders,” he told the audience.
Making reference to a landmark seminar in 1969, at which founding PM Lee Kuan Yew underscored the necessity of trade unions, Heng said, “I renew the pledge that Mr Lee made at your Modernisation Seminar 50 years ago, and that every prime minister has since renewed.”
“I assure you, the close working relationship between the PAP and the NTUC, which underpins our unique and precious brand of tripartism, will continue into the 4G and beyond,” he added.
He also outlined three strategies for the labour movement to move forward: work to transform the economy, prepare workers for jobs of the future through lifelong learning, and ensure economic growth remains inclusive.
NTUC backs the PAP because PAP has kept faith with NTUC, while PAP backs NTUC because it has remained pro-worker, he said.
“The labour movement can be assured that the PAP will never abandon the working man and woman,” he added.
It’s strange Heng told the audience that PAP backs NTUC when in actual fact PAP runs and manages NTUC. This is because the Secretary-General of NTUC is none other than Ng Chee Meng, a former SAF general as well as senior member of PAP CEC and Cabinet Minister of the PAP government. NTUC does not run independently from PAP.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, PM Lee said, “Today, we must again act boldly to champion transformation efforts that benefit workers through better wages, better work prospects and better welfare. Our future will continue to revolve around our workers and their families.”
Not all Singaporean workers are well
However, anecdotal evidence from the ground shows that all is not well for some Singaporean workers. They are not getting better wages, better work prospects nor better welfare.
One of those affected is James Lim, a former PMET who was forced to drive a cab. He wrote on his blog, “With a family to support, becoming jobless at late fifties is a nightmare in Singapore. Unable to find a suitable job, I became a taxi driver. My real life stories may seem trivial and my views may lack substances of a learned professor, but I shall write without inhibition and embellishments. In also sharing my thoughts, love for music and food, I hope my blog will be more pleasurable. More importantly, I blog to make a dull job a bit more interesting.”
In one of his write-ups, Mr Lim got so frustrated with the policies of Singapore government that he advised young Singaporeans to migrate if they could.
He said, “With unabated hordes of foreigners still coming in to depress their (Singaporeans’) wages or even displace them at the workplace, reduce them to second-class citizens and a minority in their own country, how much loyalty and love can we expect from local-bred Singaporean for this country down the road?”
“If you’re a young and educated Singaporean family with valuable skill, I would encourage you to migrate to another country,” he added.