SINGAPORE - Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing has joined the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on a part-time basis, the labour movement announced today.
He will serve full-time from April 1.
The NTUC Central Committee had written to ask Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to release Mr Chan so that he could serve in the labour movement "as soon as possible".
In the letter dated today, the committee noted that current NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say will not be able to serve for another full term as he will turn 62 in July next year.
"We would therefore like to put in place the succession for the NTUC Secretary-General, preferably a few months ahead of the National Delegates' Conference, to pave the way for election by the Delegates at the said Conference," the letter said.
The term of the current Central Committee will end in October this year. The next Central Committee will be elected at the NTUC National Delegates' Conference in October 2015 or the next four-year term till 2019.
The Central Committee described Mr Chan as "a suitable Cabinet Minister who can strengthen labour leadership at the NTUC and the link between the labour movement and the Government".
PM Lee said in a reply to their letter that he supported their choice.
"I agree fully that tripartism is a key asset of Singapore. I also agree that we must continue to strengthen the NTUC's leadership and maintain its strong links with the People's Action Party government. I am confident that in the NTUC, Chun Sing will make a positive contribution in all these respects," PM Lee wrote.
He said later in a Facebook post that Mr Chan "will leave gaps" in the Cabinet when he starts serving in the labour movement full-time, and that he will be announcing changes to fill the vacancies after Budget 2015.