The outgoing labour chief gave a ringing endorsement of his successor, saying that Mr Chan Chun Sing has the right qualities to be an effective link between the Government and the unions.
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary- general Lim Swee Say also said Mr Chan is a hard worker who is close to the ground and has all the core attributes to be a good labour chief.
"His office is just next to mine... most of the time I don't see him in his office, he is on the ground all the time," said Mr Lim.
"He listens very well, at the same time he learns fast and thinks fast. I would say he has the core attributes that will make him an effective secretary-general."
What is also important is that Mr Chan has "his heart in the right place", said Mr Lim.
"Whether the person is groomed from within or from outside is not critical. What is critical is that firstly this person, his heart must be with the labour movement," he said in an interview yesterday.
Mr Chan joined NTUC in January and is its deputy secretary- general.
He later relinquished his appointments as Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence.
Besides caring for workers, the secretary-general of NTUC should also be able to work well with the Government and employers, and take the labour movement forward, said Mr Lim, adding that he believes Mr Chan fits the bill on all counts.
"I think his heart is in the right place, based on what I've seen so far. He has good standing in the Government.
"But most importantly, he's going to become a core member of (Singapore's) next generation of leaders.
"So in other words, he will also be a very important link for us into the future."
This article was first published on April 28, 2015.
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