Union leaders should draw own conclusions about candidates: NTUC
Aug 05, 2011
SINGAPORE - The labour movement will break with tradition for the coming Presidential Election.
While it had thrown its support behind a candidate during the previous Presidential Elections, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will adopt a "consensus-building approach" this time, labour chief Lim Swee Say told reporters yesterday.
Noting that the traditional top-down approach - which had seen the NTUC formally endorse the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong and Mr S R Nathan in their respective Presidential campaigns - "may be less relevant" now, Mr Lim said the labour movement will, instead, facilitate opportunities for union leaders to meet the presidential hopefuls and let them decide who to support.
And by the time Singaporeans head for the polls in three weeks, the NTUC may decide to back a candidate if its unions reach a consensus, or the different unions may end up supporting different candidates, said Mr Lim, who was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a National Day observance ceremony at the NTUC headquarters.
Mr Lim added: "The reason why we've not come out to give a formal endorsement is because we want the union leaders to see for themselves, to judge for themselves, to come to their own conclusions ... (and) decide what will be good for the labour movement, and good for the workers."
Mr Lim pointed out that while Mr Ong and Mr Nathan were formerly the NTUC's secretary-general and Labour Research Unit director, respectively - thus easily rendering them as its candidates of choice - the current hopefuls did not come from the labour movement.
"If there are unions who feel that Candidate A is better than Candidate B, as a labour movement, we're not going to come down hard on them and say 'no unions are allowed to support different candidates'. It's more a process of consultation and consensus," he said.
On Wednesday, the labour movement held a closed-door dialogue with former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, one of the presidential aspirants.
Mr Lim said the NTUC may invite other presidential hopefuls if there are requests for a dialogue with them, and its central committee members will also continue to share its assessment of the various candidates with union leaders.
Mr Lim noted that the NTUC is attaching "tremendous importance" to this Presidential Election because "the world of the future is going to be a lot more challenging one" due to stiff external competition and certain domestic issues, such as a widening income gap and an ageing population.
The next Elected President must thus be able to strengthen the Republic's standing internationally as well as unite Singaporeans to "give us the best hope of continuing to succeed in this new world", said Mr Lim.
Firstly it is absolutely stupid to have a PAP guy as the general secretary of the Union.
This also shows the Union is in control by the PAP as the party whip can literally control him like a puppet.
This idiot also never give the reason why he only invited one of the cadidates for air time and not the rest.
Secondary why should any sane adult listen to what the Union says and support the candidate that the union backed?
Everyone should have a mind of their own and listen to what the candidates promised and judge what kind of character he is and finally make his or her own decision to vote for the candidate that is the most sincere and convincing.
We all know who the Union, which is the PAP sub-branch, is backing for this election.
But because the person is having some bad publicity so Lim Swee Say probably got a note from the Secretary General to back up a little and remain neutral on the surface.
And if you read this article carefully, there is a sublime message in there.
Note that only one candidate's name is mentioned and one might even think that he is the only one in the running for this election. Or maybe he will be the only one granted the COE to run.