SINGAPORE – Minister of State for Home Affairs, and Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan will be joining the labour movement and will relinquish his current political appointments.
He will replace Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat, who is currently the deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, in a move that takes effect on June 13.
Mr Tan will also be appointed as Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (June 6), as part of the latest changes to the Cabinet.
PM Lee said he had made the decision to second Mr Tan, 51, to the labour movement after discussing the matter with NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng.
In a statement on Monday, NTUC said that PM Lee had written to its president, Ms Mary Liew, last Thursday to request that Mr Chee be released from his role so that he can return full-time to government service.
He had also requested that the NTUC Central Committee consider accepting Mr Tan into the labour movement.
Last Friday, the NTUC Central Committee met and accepted PM Lee’s request, the statement added.
In his letter to Ms Liew, PM Lee had said: “Brother Desmond brings with him many years of public service experience across the ministries, People’s Association and the Singapore Armed Forces. I am confident that he will contribute significantly to NTUC’s efforts to help prepare our businesses and workers as we emerge from the pandemic.”
In her reply, Ms Liew noted the longstanding symbiotic relationship between the People’s Action Party (PAP) and NTUC had served Singapore and its workers well. She added: “We appreciate PM’s offer to second Brother Desmond Tan to NTUC to further Labour Movement’s work.”
NTUC said that it is slated to officially appoint Mr Tan to his post at a later date.
Mr Tan entered politics in 2020 when he was elected during the general election as part of the five-member PAP team contesting Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Mr Tan said he was excited to join NTUC and serve the Labour Movement. “It has played such a significant role in shaping our economy over the decades, and has looked after our workers through good times and bad. I have much to learn from leaders past and present, and will do my very best for every worker.”