At the 2018 biennial People’s Action Party (PAP) conference, Labour Chief Ng Chee Meng was voted in as one of the top 12 members of PAP’s central executive committee – the highest decision making body in PAP:
At the 2018 conference, PM Lee assured Singaporeans that the PAP Government understands their concerns and that it will work with them to tackle their problems together.
Yesterday (8 Nov), at the 2020 biennial PAP conference, more than 2,000 party cadres voted and again, the top 12 nominees were elected to PAP CEC for a new two-year term.
The 12 were elected by secret ballot from a list of 19 nominees. They are:
- Lee Hsien Loong
- Heng Swee Keat
- Chan Chun Sing
- K. Shanmugam
- Ong Ye Kung
- Tan Chuan-Jin
- Vivian Balakrishnan
- Grace Fu
- Masagos Zulkifli
- Gan Kim Yong
- Lawrence Wong
- Desmond Lee
Indranee Rajah and Josephine Teo were auto co-opted into the CEC as they got the 13th and 14th highest votes.
PM Lee continues to be PAP’s secretary-general, while Heng and Chan are the first and second assistant secretaries-general respectively.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who was co-opted in 2018, was dropped from the list of nominees this time round, signalling the 3G leadership making way for younger leaders.
Ng Chee Meng did not make it to top 12
Ng Chee Meng, who lost the contest for Sengkang GRC in the recent General Election, did not make it to the top 12 this time. He was in the top 12 at the 2018 party election.
SMU’s law professor Eugene Tan said that the omission of Ng from the top 12 came as a surprise, adding that a possible reason could be because he lost in GE2020.
Another possible reason, said a PAP cadre who declined to be named, could be that Ng was not viewed in the same light as others with ministerial portfolios.
But 4 more members would be co-opted into PAP CEC making a total of 18 and Ng is likely to be co-opted, according to cadres interviewed. One said, “It is important for the unions to be present in the top decision-making body.”
In any case, at the conference yesterday, PM Lee again said he understands Singaporeans’ concerns. He said he fully understands the pressures faced by Singaporeans with regard to foreign work pass holders competing against Singaporeans for jobs in Singapore.
Singaporean workers must feel reassured that the Government will help them hold their own against foreign competition, and that they are fairly treated, he said. But the Government must also convince Singaporeans that the best way to protect livelihoods and families is to keep Singapore open for talent and business, he added.
He cautioned, “If we just close ourselves up and send away the work pass holders, it will result in fewer jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans, and more hardship for our workers and their families.”