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High level of public trust in Home Team: Shanmugam​


In a survey done by the Home Team this year, 92 per cent of respondents said they "personally trust the Home Team". ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Wong Shiying

Aug 4, 2022

SINGAPORE - Public trust in the Home Team remains high and to maintain it, people must understand what it does, its officers have to be well trained and technology must be capitalised upon.
Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam said this on Thursday (Aug 4) at the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony, citing the Singapore Police Force's Public Perception Survey last year where 96 per cent of respondents said they trusted the police.
Mr Shanmugam also highlighted a survey done by the Home Team this year where 92 per cent of respondents said they "personally trust the Home Team".
"These are results you can only imagine, in other countries, where it is usually about 50 to 60 per cent if they are lucky," he said.
Mr Shanmugam was giving a speech to a group of more than 300, including a group of around 200 Home Team officers, volunteers and members of the public who received the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Awards to recognise their contributions in keeping Singapore safe.
Among the recipients of the public spiritedness award were 10 individuals who tried to stop a man with a chopper from attacking a woman along Beach Road in April by throwing objects at him.
They are: Mr Leonard Shi Jun, Mr Jackie Tee Wai Chia, Mr Lim Chee Kong, Mr Lei Hai Qiu, Mr Wei Chen Xiang, Mr Lim Chee Wei, Mr Pan Xiao Shuo, Mr Zhang Dai, Madam To Lee Kwee and Mr Lin Yong Ping.

Dr Bernard Cheong, Ms Wong Lay Hoon and Mr Darryl Lee Zhe Kai received awards for their roles in helping save a man's life after he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed at a hawker centre in July last year.
Ms Wong, a 55-year-old nurse, said that when a passer-by rushed into their clinic in Bukit Batok to ask for help, she and Dr Cheong, 64, had just one thing in mind - to save the man's life.
They rushed to the victim and took turns performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the man, while Mr Lee, 17, who was in the vicinity, assisted with administering oxygen.
"It was not the first time something like this happened near our clinic so we knew time was of the essence. Thankfully, he made it," she said.
Assistant Superintendent Wilson Wong Wei Sheng, senior executive of the Operations Development Branch in the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), was among 105 Home Team officers who received awards for outstanding work.
ASP Wong oversaw the adjustments made to ICA's clearance system during the Covid-19 pandemic to support evolving travel policies such as the vaccinated travel lane and reciprocal green lane.
He said: "During the pandemic, there were many different travel schemes and border health requirements. It was challenging to programme the clearance system to cater to them simultaneously.
"We continue to do our best to develop it to support changing operational requirements so it's easier for our officers on the ground."


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Former PAP MP Chan Chee Seng dies, aged 90​


A 2015 file photo of former senior parliamentary secretary Chan Chee Seng, who died on Saturday. ST FILE PHOTO

Ng Keng Gene

DEC 19, 2022

SINGAPORE - Former senior parliamentary secretary and People’s Action Party (PAP) stalwart Chan Chee Seng died on Saturday evening, aged 90.
Mr Chan’s elder daughter, Ms Chan Mun-E, told The Straits Times on Sunday that he had been hospitalised with pneumonia at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he died.
He was surrounded by family members, said Ms Chan, who added that the family had gathered at the hospital to celebrate Mr Chan’s life with him.
Mr Chan was in politics from 1957 to 1984, said the website of ISS International School, which he founded and where he last served as the chairman of its board.
He was a long-serving MP of the Jalan Besar ward, which he held for more than 20 years, and also served as the senior parliamentary secretary for social affairs and for trade and industry during his time in politics.
After retirement, he focused his energies on growing ISS. He was joined by his wife Chan Ching Oi in this endeavour in 1993, when she left the Ministry of Health to join the school.
General surgeon Chia Kok Hoong, a friend of Mr Chan’s, said the former MP will be remembered for his genuineness, generosity and ability to connect with others.

Dr Chia said Mr Chan had demonstrated through his life “what it means to make the best out of every situation”, adding that he “never lamented that he got a short straw in life”.
The 62-year-old said Mr Chan had received little formal education as his family could not afford the school fees. At about nine years old, he started working for Kwong Onn department store in South Bridge Road informally as a runner, where he met Dr Chia’s father, who was a manager at the store.
In 1951, undeterred by his lack of educational qualifications, Mr Chan walked into a Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp office and asked for work. He landed the job of a clerk, said Dr Chia.

“This opened a chapter in his life. He was someone who created opportunities for himself,” added Dr Chia.
While working at the bank, Mr Chan met several PAP leaders such as Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Toh Chin Chye and Mr S. Rajaratnam, who recruited him to join the party. He joined in 1954, and was elected city councillor in 1957.

In 1968, Mr Chan helped Dr Chia’s mother – whose husband had had a stroke and who had four children to feed – to find a job as a school cleaner.
Dr Chia said this changed the course of his life, allowing his family to break out of the poverty cycle through his mother’s wages.
“If not for him, I would not be a surgeon,” said Dr Chia, who became closer to Mr Chan from 2009, when he entered private practice. He was regularly invited by Mr Chan to weekend lunches with his old PAP comrades.
“He was a person who was able to connect – and connect with – people, and that is probably what made him popular at the grassroots level,” said Dr Chia, adding that Mr Chan never cared about people’s backgrounds and could break the ice with individuals from all strata of society.
PAP assistant organising secretary Alex Yam wrote on Facebook on Sunday that Mr Chan was pivotal to the PAP’s survival.
He recounted that the Legislative Assembly was split in 1961, following by-elections in April and July that year, which prompted Mr Lee to move a motion of confidence in the PAP government on July 20, 1961, after the second by-election.
“With a razor-thin margin requiring every vote, it was unknown if PAP assemblywoman for Siglap, Che Puan Sahora Ahmat, who was hospitalised, had switched her allegiance away from the party leadership,” wrote Mr Yam.

He added that Mr Chan rushed to the Singapore General Hospital to persuade the assemblywoman, and then arranged an ambulance at 3am to take her to Parliament, where she was stretchered in and helped into her seat by PAP members Ismail Rahim and Chan Choy Siong.
“A division was taken at 3.55am and the PAP government survived the confidence motion with 27 votes, a majority of just one – that of Puan Sahora who had been persuaded by Comrade Chan,” wrote Mr Yam.
Mr Chan is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grandchildren. His wake is being held at Singapore Casket level 2, Regency Hall, and his funeral ceremony will take place there on Wednesday at 8.30am.


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PAP might have lost battle with pro-communists if not for ex-MP Chan Chee Seng: PM Lee​


A 2015 file photo of former senior parliamentary secretary Chan Chee Seng, who died on Saturday aged 90. PHOTO: ST FILE

Ng Keng Gene

DEC 19, 2022

SINGAPORE – If not for the contributions of former politician Chan Chee Seng, the People’s Action Party (PAP) might have lost its battle with pro-communists in the party’s nascent years, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday.
Mr Chan, a former senior parliamentary secretary and pioneer member of the PAP, died on Saturday evening at the age of 90, after being hospitalised with pneumonia.
He was a longstanding MP for Jalan Besar, holding the ward for more than 20 years.
In a condolence letter to Mr Chan’s wife, Mrs Chan Ching Oi, PM Lee recounted a motion of confidence vote in 1961, in which Mr Chan’s intervention was critical in helping the fledgling PAP government to survive.
PM Lee, who is the PAP’s secretary-general, wrote that the non-communists were one vote shy of being defeated in the vote, held in the Legislative Assembly.
“With great presence of mind, Chee Seng rushed to see Madam Sahorah Binte Ahmat, who was ill in hospital,” wrote PM Lee, adding that Mr Chan persuaded the assemblywoman to support the motion.
“She arrived in an ambulance, was carried on a stretcher into the Legislative Assembly, and entered the chamber just before its doors were locked for the vote to be taken,” PM Lee said.

“The pro-communists were outmanoeuvred and outnumbered, and abstained in the vote,” said PM Lee, adding that “Chee Seng’s intervention made every difference”.
Following the vote, the pro-communist faction broke away to form the Barisan Sosialis. Many PAP branch secretaries went over to the Barisan side, which “wreaked havoc on the PAP branches”, PM Lee said.
Mr Chan then accompanied Mr Lee Kuan Yew to visit the branches and physically recover the PAP’s property, including typewriters, chairs and tables.

Referring to this episode in his memoirs, the late Mr Lee had described Mr Chan as “impervious to intimidation”, wrote PM Lee.
He noted that tensions between the pro-communists and non-communists grew after the PAP formed the government following the 1959 general election.
“Like many others, Chee Seng came under tremendous pressure to switch sides,” he wrote, noting that many succumbed, but the late Mr Chan, who was recruited by Mr S. Rajaratnam to join the PAP, “never wavered”.
“He was steadfast and courageous, staunchly loyal and absolutely dependable.”

In the letter, PM Lee also paid tribute to Mr Chan for his various contributions within and outside of politics.
Mr Chan was fielded as a candidate in the city council elections of 1957, and he stood in Jalan Besar, winning “one of the most significant contests” convincingly, PM Lee said.
In 1959, he was elected legislative assemblyman for Jalan Besar and served there for six terms until 1984, when he retired from politics.
At different points of his political career, Mr Chan was also a parliamentary secretary for home affairs, and senior parliamentary secretary for social affairs as well as trade and industry.
“He brought his passion as an avid sportsman to help develop our Singapore sports,” said PM Lee, citing Mr Chan’s stints as vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council and president of the Singapore Amateur Swimming Association.
Mr Chan was also the chef de mission of the Singapore contingent at the 1977 SEA Games.
He had also pursued his passion for education, noted PM Lee. In 1981, Mr Chan founded ISS International School, where his wife is currently chief executive.
“Chee Seng will be deeply missed,” wrote PM Lee. “He stood up when it mattered most. He was a fearless and undaunted comrade of our founding leadership, who all had a high regard for him. He served Singapore well.”
Mr Chan is survived by his wife, two daughters and three grandchildren.


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Forum: Eric Low a true son of Singapore​

Jan 5, 2023

It is with deep sadness that I note the death of Mr Eric Low Siak Meng on Jan 3. He contested in the Hougang single-member constituency as a People’s Action Party candidate in the 2001 and 2006 general elections.
Despite losing on both occasions, Eric remained an active and loyal party member till his last days.
I knew him well enough to know that he was the kind of person you would want in your team.
He knew what needed to be done, and would do it wholeheartedly without expecting any acknowledgement. He never gave up the fight, and would constantly remind me of our country’s continuing political challenges.
Eric never made it to Parliament, but what he did reminds us that we need good people to step forward and fight for a better Singapore, even when they know the odds are against them.
To me, Eric was a true son of Singapore. He contributed to a political culture in which the winner is Singapore.

Yaacob Ibrahim


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You can be sure that Edelman will be publishing pro-government reports.

Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez to join communications firm Edelman as Asia-Pacific CEO​


Mr Warren Fernandez will oversee more than 1,300 Edelman employees across the firm’s 21 offices in the Asia Pacific region. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

OCT 18, 2022

SINGAPORE - Mr Warren Fernandez, the editor of The Straits Times, will join global communications firm Edelman as its chief executive for the Asia-Pacific region on Oct 25.
In a statement on Tuesday, Edelman said Mr Fernandez, 56, will join the company’s global executive leadership team and report to its global president and chief operating officer, Mr Matthew Harrington.
Mr Fernandez will be based in Singapore and oversee more than 1,300 Edelman employees across the firm’s 21 offices in the Asia-Pacific region.
He replaces Mr Stephen Kehoe, who left Edelman in June to focus on his family.
The move comes a week after SPH Media Group, which publishes ST, announced several changes to key leadership positions in its newsrooms.
These included the departure of Mr Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of the English/Malay/Tamil Media Group (EMTM), to pursue other professional opportunities.
Mr Jaime Ho, 49, who was chief editor at CNA Digital, will take on the role of ST editor.

Mr Wong Wei Kong, 54, who is currently the editor of The Business Times, will succeed Mr Fernandez as editor-in-chief of EMTM.
Ms Chen Huifen, 46, BT’s current executive editor, will be the BT editor.
All three appointments take effect on Oct 26.
Edelman’s Mr Harrington said in a statement: “Warren’s deep understanding of the news and media ecosystem – and his experience transforming a news outlet into an integrated multimedia content platform – will be a tremendous value-add to clients and our own insights and capabilities.
“Additionally, our organisation will benefit from Warren’s longstanding professional and academic interest in politics and foreign policy amid today’s dynamic geopolitical landscape.”
Mr Fernandez, who has been ST editor since 2012, and EMTM editor-in-chief since 2016, said: “I’m very excited to join a firm that I have admired and worked with, as a client and partner, over the years.”
He added: “I look forward to leading the team in Asia-Pacific and working with the industry-leading talent across its global network.”
Mr Fernandez joins several new additions to Edelman’s leadership team in the region, including Edelman Singapore CEO Julia Wei, who joined the firm in September after leaving her previous role as managing partner at AKA Asia.


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Trust in Govt up, but slight fall in trust in NGOs and businesses: Survey​


Trust in the Government increased to a record high 76 per cent, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer. PHOTO: ST FILE

Jean Iau

MAR 15, 2023

SINGAPORE - A survey of 1,135 people in Singapore has found that trust in the Government rose slightly last year, and it remains the most trusted institution here.
According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer report released on Wednesday, trust in the Government increased by two percentage points to a record high of 76 per cent, while trust in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and businesses declined by three percentage points and two percentage points, respectively, from the previous year.
The survey is conducted annually.
This suggested confidence in the current leadership to lead the country through global economic headwinds, global public relations firm Edelman said in a media statement on Wednesday.
Trust in the Singapore Government was the fourth-highest among the 28 countries surveyed, behind China (89 per cent), the United Arab Emirates (86 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (83 per cent).
Trust here in NGOs, at 65 per cent, was higher than that in Sweden (44 per cent), Germany (41 per cent) and Japan (38 per cent) – the three countries that were least trusting of NGOs.
Trust in businesses, at 62 per cent, was higher than that in Spain (49 per cent), Japan (47 per cent) and South Korea (38 per cent) – the three countries least trusting of businesses.

More than half, or 59 per cent, of those surveyed here trusted the media, the survey also found. This was higher than that in Britain (37 per cent), Japan (34 per cent) and South Korea (27 per cent), the three countries that were least trusting of the media.
Some countries that had higher trust levels in the media than Singapore included China (79 per cent), Indonesia (72 per cent) and Thailand (67 per cent).
The report comes after more than 32,000 people across 28 countries were polled by Edelman. Fieldwork for this year’s edition consisted of 30-minute online interviews conducted between Nov 1 and Nov 28, 2022.

Globally, those with a high income were found to be more trusting of the four main societal institutions – government, NGOs, business and media – than low-income respondents.
High-income earners’ average trust in institutions jumped from 50 to 62 points since 2012, while that of low-income earners rose from 44 to 48 over the same period.
Singapore also registered an income-based trust gap of 18 points between high and low income earners, the seventh-largest gap among all countries surveyed – behind countries such as Thailand and the United States, which had a trust gap of 37 and 23 points, respectively.
Globally, nearly two-thirds of respondents observed an unprecedented lack of civility and mutual respect in society.
In Singapore, 44 per cent believed that the lack of civility and mutual respect today is “the worst they have ever seen”, according to the survey.
But only a third of Singapore respondents believe that their country is more divided today than in the past, compared with 53 per cent of respondents globally.

Respondents were also surveyed on their attitudes towards polarising views.
Among those who feel strongly about an issue, 26 per cent of respondents in Singapore said they would help someone who strongly disagrees with their point of view; 22 per cent said they would live in the same neighbourhood as such a person; and 20 per cent said they would work with such a person.
Economic optimism has fallen globally, with almost half of the countries surveyed showing a year-on-year double-digit decline in the belief that their families will be better off in five years’ time.
Across the region, the survey observed that developing countries such as Indonesia (73 per cent) and India (73 per cent) show more optimism than developed countries such as Japan (9 per cent), South Korea (28 per cent), and Singapore (36 per cent).
This represents a seven percentage point decline for Singapore and an all-time low in optimism here, said the survey.
Chief executive of Edelman Singapore Julia Wei said: “Across a wide range of societal issues, such as climate change, discrimination, immigration, employee treatment and income inequality, people believe that government and business working in partnership will achieve the best results – on average, four times more than if business were to work alone.”
Fifty-five per cent of people surveyed also believed that business can address contentious societal issues without being politicised, she noted, adding: “The mandate for business to act is clear.”
Ms Wei said: “By an overwhelming margin, respondents want more societal involvement by businesses on issues such as healthcare access, climate change and improving economic inequality.”


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Former president Halimah Yacob awarded Singapore’s highest civilian honour​


Madam Halimah will head the list of National Award recipients for 2023, said the Prime Minister’s Office in a statement on Wednesday. PHOTO: MCI

Goh Yan Han
Political Correspondent

Oct 25, 2023

SINGAPORE – Former president Halimah Yacob has been conferred the nation’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction).
She will receive the award from President Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Sunday at the National Awards Investiture to be held at the Institute of Technical Education College Central.
Madam Halimah, 69, will head the list of National Award recipients for 2023, said the Prime Minister’s Office in a statement on Wednesday.
Madam Halimah, who was Singapore’s first female president, served as head of state between 2017 and 2023, with her last day on Sept 13.
She did not seek re-election at the Presidential Election 2023, which was won by former senior minister Mr Tharman.
Since stepping down from the role of president, she has been appointed chancellor of the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
During her term as Singapore’s eighth president, Madam Halimah was vocal about gender equality and spoke her mind on various social issues, such as the need to protect older workers.

She has also long been a strong proponent of building interfaith relationships and encouraging multicultural dialogue.
Under her watch, the President’s Challenge had focused on empowering people with disabilities, building a digitally inclusive society and supporting caregivers, among other causes.
The last person to be given this award was former senior minister S. Jayakumar.
Three former presidents of Singapore – Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, Mr S R Nathan and Mr Wee Kim Wee – have also received the award, which was previously known as the Order of Temasek (First Class).


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Former president Halimah Yacob awarded Order of Temasek for lifetime of devoted, distinguished service​


Former president Halimah Yacob receiving the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction) from President Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Oct 29. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Syarafana Shafeeq

Oct 28, 2023

SINGAPORE - Former president Halimah Yacob was conferred the nation’s highest civilian honour on Sunday, for “embodying so fully the Singapore Story – and for her lifetime of devoted and distinguished service”.
She received the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction) from President Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the National Awards Investiture, held at the Institute of Technical Education College Central.
Madam Halimah, who headed this year’s list of National Day Award winners, served Singapore with singular distinction over four decades, read her citation.
She broke multiple barriers, blazing a trail for women and achieving many firsts – the first Singaporean to be elected to the governing body of the International Labour Organisation, the first Malay woman to be elected an MP, the first female Speaker of Parliament, and the first female to occupy the highest office in the land.
Madam Halimah began her career in the labour movement in 1978, rising to become deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress.
She contributed extensively to formulating, strengthening and enforcing labour standards locally and internationally over her 33 years of devoted service, her citation said.
She was elected to Parliament in 2001, and served four terms as an MP.

Madam Halimah was appointed to political office in 2011, as minister of state first in the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and later in the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
In those roles, she championed many social causes, including support for single mothers, children of lower-income families, people with mental health conditions, those with disabilities and the elderly, her citation said.
She was elected the eighth president of Singapore in 2017, after serving as Speaker of Parliament for four years from 2013.

As head of state, she raised the nation’s international image, strengthened its ties with friends near and far, and opened new economic opportunities for Singapore companies.
“She was also a powerful symbol of unity for all Singaporeans; an inspiration to all, young and old; ‘a president for everyone’, as she promised on her inauguration,” read her citation.
Apart from her official duties, Madam Halimah was the patron to many charitable and welfare organisations.
She expanded the President’s Challenge to promote skills upgrading and employment, advocate more inclusive and accessible workspaces, and support the mental health of young people.
Throughout her presidency, she worked tirelessly to strengthen mutual understanding, trust and respect across diverse communities, and engaged Singaporeans from all walks of life, her citation said.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Madam Halimah exercised the president’s custodial power over past reserves “on an unprecedented scale”, approving a total draw of up to $69 billion.
“She set a high benchmark of how the president, advised by the Council of Presidential Advisers, should wield the second key,” her citation said.
“With her rigorous and searching questioning, and her considered and informed support, the Government was able to use past reserves judiciously and decisively to save lives, preserve jobs and stabilise the economy. History will record Madam Halimah’s great service to her people as their first Crisis President.”
The citation also said that “Madam Halimah’s remarkable journey from humble beginnings to become the first female minority head of state is testimony that every Singaporean can achieve his or her dream, regardless of race, language, religion or family background.”
Madam Halimah told The Straits Times last Wednesday that she was deeply honoured to receive the award, and grateful to the people of Singapore for the privilege of serving them all these years.
She said: “If my example of a female from a minority community who came from a very humble background but managed to overcome the odds can serve to encourage others, I am thankful for the opportunity to do so.”
Of the 6,598 individuals who received this year’s National Day honours, such as the Public Service Star and the Long Service Medal, four Singaporeans were conferred one of the Republic’s top national honours – the Distinguished Service Order.
They are: former Housing Board chairman Bobby Chin Yoke Choong, former Founders’ Memorial committee member Timothy James de Souza, former National Healthcare Group chairman Kay Kuok Oon Kwong and former Singapore Technologies Engineering chairman Kwa Chong Seng.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) website, the Distinguished Service Order may be awarded to any person who has performed within Singapore any act, or series of acts, constituting distinguished conduct.
A full list of the 2023 National Day Award recipients is available on the PMO website.


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Govt remains most trusted institution in S’pore: Survey​


Despite the increase in trust in Singapore, 93 per cent of employed respondents from the country are worried about job loss. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Chin Soo Fang
Senior Correspondent

MAR 12, 2024

SINGAPORE – Trust in the Government has increased slightly in Singapore, and it remains the most trusted institution here, according to an annual survey.
The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer, released on March 12 by global communications firm Edelman, showed an increase in trust in Singapore by 1 percentage point from 2023 across each of four institutions: government (77 per cent), non-governmental organisations or NGOs (66 per cent), business (63 per cent) and media (60 per cent).
In contrast, the global average showed that business is the only trusted institution (63 per cent).
Across the world, respondents are neutral about NGOs (59 per cent), government (51 per cent) and media (50 per cent).
A response of less than 50 per cent indicates distrust, while 60 per cent and above indicates trust.
Despite the increase in trust in Singapore, 93 per cent of employed respondents from the country are worried about job loss – an increase of 3 percentage points from 2023.
There is also a 7 percentage point rise in Singapore’s general population (80 per cent) who worry about hackers, and a surge of 5 percentage points of those who are concerned about climate change (75 per cent).

The latest edition of the survey, which started in 2000, focuses on society’s trust in innovation at a time of rapid transformation.
Innovation has become a new risk factor for trust. In Singapore, 28 per cent of respondents say innovation is poorly managed – a sentiment shared across different income levels, genders and age groups. This is 4 percentage points more than those who say innovation is well managed.
Those who believe innovation is poorly managed are more likely to feel alienated and left behind.

More respondents in nearly all countries polled say innovation is poorly managed rather than well managed.
Globally, 73 per cent of respondents believe that technology is changing too quickly. Governments have the best opportunity to reverse this trend as government is the most trusted institution (76 per cent) to introduce innovations into society by ensuring they are safe, understood by the public, beneficial and accessible.
It is followed in this regard by business and NGOs (62 per cent each), and media (56 per cent).
To have trust in innovation, respondents in Singapore expect the four institutions of government, business, NGOs and media to protect core values and be transparent about the benefits and risks of new technologies.
Over the last decade, the survey has seen a 13-point increase in people in Singapore – from 61 per cent to 74 per cent – saying that businesses partnering with government to develop and implement technology-led innovations would increase their trust in business.
Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) expect chief executive officers to manage changes occurring in society, not just those occurring in their businesses, and employees say it is important for their CEO to speak publicly about the ethical use of technology (80 per cent), automation’s impact on jobs (80 per cent) and job skills of the future (79 per cent).
“The high and consistent trust across all four institutions of government, business, NGOs and media bodes well for Singapore, and is a reminder that the private and public sectors working together will deliver the greatest impact,” said Ms Julia Wei, CEO of Edelman Singapore.
She added: “This year’s Trust Barometer also reveals that people are more likely to embrace innovation if they have control over how these innovations affect their lives and have confidence that each innovation will lead to a better future. For leaders driving these innovations, communicating this impact in a clear and succinct way will go a long way in ensuring the effective roll-out and adoption of new technologies.”

The survey sampled more than 32,000 respondents across 28 markets, with an average of 1,150 respondents per market fielded from Nov 3 to 22 in 2023.
The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer for Asia-Pacific (Apac) revealed that people in the region are more trusting of key institutions and technology compared with the rest of the world, and are more likely to embrace emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.
This, coupled with greater faith in governments to lead a partnership with science and businesses, could result in a regional technological advantage if innovation is well managed, the report suggested.
“Most Asian societies enjoy an innovation edge when it comes to tapping key new technologies because of the higher levels of trust in government and business among their people,” said Mr Warren Fernandez, CEO of Edelman Apac.
“To harness this advantage, our leaders must ensure that the already advanced roll-out of technologies, such as artificial intelligence and green energy, is seen to be inclusive and working in the interests of the broad sweep of society.”
Based on the Trust Index – the average per cent of trust in NGOs, business, government and media – developing countries lead on trust. All four South-east Asian countries in the 2024 survey are among the top 10 most trusting globally: Indonesia (73 points, No. 4), Thailand (70 points, No. 6), Malaysia (68 points, No. 7) and Singapore (67 points, No. 8).
Major markets from the region lead on trust, including China (79, No. 1) and India (76, No. 2).
The report, however, reveals a worry in Singapore that societal leaders, including journalists (55 per cent), business leaders (55 per cent) and government leaders (46 per cent), are purposely trying to mislead with false or gross exaggerations.
This finding is global: A majority say they are worried that government leaders are misleading them in 22 of 28 countries, and that business leaders and journalists are doing the same in 25 of 28 countries.
Globally, government is now distrusted in 17 of the 28 countries surveyed, including the United States (40 per cent), Germany (42 per cent) and Britain (30 per cent).
Media remains the least trusted institution globally (50 per cent) and is distrusted in 15 of 28 countries, including the US (39 per cent), Japan (33 per cent) and Britain (31 per cent).
In Singapore, trust in traditional media for general news and information rose by 3 percentage points to 67 per cent.


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The CEO of Edelman, Asia Pacific is Warren Fernandez, former Editor of the Shitty Times.


Warren Fernandez Headshot

Warren Fernandez​


Warren Fernandez is the CEO of Edelman’s Asia Pacific region.
Warren was a journalist and editor for the past three decades and has a deep understanding of the news and media ecosystem. He has experience transforming a traditional news outlet into an integrated multi-media content platform.
Warren was previously editor-in-chief at English/Malay/Tamil Media Group in SPH Media. He simultaneously served as the editor of The Straits Times. He joined The Straits Times as a political reporter in 1990 and would go on to serve as news editor as well as foreign editor and deputy editor. In 2008, he left to join Royal Dutch Shell as a global manager for its Future Energy project, working with its scenario planning and communications teams in London and the Hague. He returned to the paper in 2012 as its senior-most editor.
Currently, Warren is president of World Editors Forum (WEF), which is the leading global network for print and digital editors of news organizations around the world. He is a member of numerous boards including the Singapore Press Holdings (Overseas), SPH (Americas) Pte, Heritage Media Pte, Asia News Network (ANN), Singapore Symphony Group (SSO), National Arts Council and Chairman of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. Warren previously served on the Boards of the National Parks and National Environment Agency. He also served a term as the president of the Institute of Public Relations Singapore in 2009.
Warren is a graduate of Trinity College, Oxford University and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.


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PM Lee hopes ex-president Tony Tan’s new book will inspire more to step up and lead S’pore​


Dr Tony Tan presenting a copy of his book to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the official launch on March 12. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Goh Yan Han
Political Correspondent

MAR 12, 2024

SINGAPORE - Singapore has been fortunate that Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam chose to serve the country on many occasions, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the launch of the former president and deputy prime minister’s memoir on his political journey.
Speaking at the event on March 12 afternoon, PM Lee said he hoped the book would inspire more to follow in Dr Tan’s footsteps to come forward and lead Singapore into a better future.
PM Lee recalled the times he worked closely with Dr Tan, adding that he always valued his views.
Dr Tan was first convinced by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to join politics in 1979, despite being initially determined to stay in the banking sector.
After retiring from Mr Lee’s Cabinet as education minister, he was persuaded to come back as deputy prime minister and defence minister in 1995 to help shore up then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s Cabinet.
And despite wanting to retire during PM Lee Hsien Loong’s time at the helm, he agreed to PM Lee’s request to stay on a while longer, and volunteered to helm research and development policy.
The book titled Tony Tan Keng Yam: My Political Journey is published by Straits Times Press and co-authored by Dr Tan and former journalist Leslie Koh.

PM Lee was guest of honour at the book launch, held at the Singapore Management University’s Administration Building function room.
Dr Tan’s book covers his personal perspective of national policymaking and decision-making, and reflects on difficult decisions made during his political career, such as scrapping the graduate mothers’ priority scheme and the 1986 Central Provident Fund rate cut.
PM Lee said the memoir was readable and insightful. In particular, younger readers will benefit from an inside view of Singapore’s nation-building journey from someone who was intimately involved in getting Singapore to where it is today and who had contributed so much to the nation’s success, he added.

Having worked closely with Dr Tan for many years, PM Lee said he was familiar with many episodes highlighted in the book but enjoyed reading Dr Tan’s perspectives on these significant events.
He highlighted three in particular – his own first posting, which was to the Ministry of Trade and Industry where Dr Tan was minister; when Dr Tan chaired the National Research Foundation (NRF) between 2005 and 2011; and when Dr Tan was elected president in 2011.

PM Lee Hsien Loong with Dr Tony Tan and his wife Mary at the official book launch on March 12. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
During his stint as minister of state at MTI, PM Lee said he was assigned by Dr Tan to chair an economic committee in 1985, meant to rethink Singapore’s long-term economic strategy.
But the economy unexpectedly dived into a sharp recession, and while there were many steps taken to reduce business costs, there was one move employers were pushing for.
That was to cut Central Provident Fund contribution rates, which the Government had strenuously resisted, said PM Lee.
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Then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew even said at that year’s National Day Rally that the rates should not be cut, as they helped to protect workers’ savings.
But discussions confirmed that the high CPF rates had to be cut by 15 percentage points to help the economy.
“But how should we navigate this radical change in policy, which was likely to be surprising, controversial and unpopular? It was difficult, not just because the Government has taken such a strong public stance on the issue.
“But Dr Tan also felt that it would be awkward for me as a new MOS (minister of state), on such an important matter, to be the one to publicly contradict the prime minister, who was my father. He was very conscious that we had to keep public and personal life separate,” said PM Lee.
Eventually, Dr Tan publicly floated the idea, and also convinced the Cabinet and Mr Lee.
“To me, this episode exemplified Dr Tan’s leadership style – entrusting someone with a task, leaving him to run with it, judging the moment to make a decisive move, and then making a strategic intervention himself to secure the key outcome,” said PM Lee.
During Dr Tan’s time at the NRF, the organisation made a strong push in biotech, which was a big, long-term bet with an uncertain payoff, added PM Lee.
But today, Singapore is seeing the returns on that investment, he said.

The last highlight was when Dr Tan put himself forward as a candidate for the 2011 Presidential Election.
Having already held leadership positions in the public and private sectors, Dr Tan had nothing more to prove and no reason to expose himself once again to the hurly-burly of an election campaign and intense scrutiny of public life, noted PM Lee.
“But he felt he had something to contribute that the nation required at that moment. He knew what was needed of a president, to be a respected and unifying figure that stood above the fray of politics, represented a whole nation and provided a steady fulcrum for our political system,” he said.
Speaking next, Dr Tan said he had never thought that he would write a book, let alone one about himself or his political life.
When he retired – a number of times, he quipped – many encouraged him to share his story, but “to be honest, I was more than a little reluctant”, he said.

The 340-page memoir, launched by publisher Straits Times Press, is co-authored by Dr Tony Tan and former ST journalist Leslie Koh. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
He eventually began writing as a personal exercise to recall what he had done and the lessons he had learnt, in case his grandchildren were interested in reading about them.
In 2019, he began discussions with ST Press to write the book, though the Covid-19 pandemic hit a year later.
“That is when I realised how valuable the lessons I had learnt over my life and work were,” he said.
Dr Tan, who is the former chairman of Singapore Press Holdings, said he could see that Singapore was once again facing something unprecedented, unknown and uncertain.
And just like in the earlier days, Singapore had to figure things out on the spot and try to solve the crisis as it unfolded, while keeping an eye on the future, he said.
He said: “I hope that some of the lessons we have learnt in the past might be of value to the next generation of citizens and leaders.
“In sharing about problem-solving, policymaking approaches when taken in my book, I hope this will help the next generation to be better prepared to manage any crisis the future might hold for us.”



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Streaming, CPF, Nantah: 7 difficult decisions that former president and DPM Tony Tan grappled with​


Dr Tony Tan shared how he sometimes had to go against decisions made by his predecessors – including those signed off by founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Goh Yan Han
Political Correspondent

MAR 13, 2024

SINGAPORE – In a 340-page memoir, former president and deputy prime minister Tony Tan divulged the thinking behind some of the difficult policy decisions he had to make during his time in politics.
The book, titled Tony Tan Keng Yam: My Political Journey, was launched by publisher Straits Times Press on March 12. It is co-authored by Dr Tan and former ST journalist Leslie Koh.
In the book, the famously bespectacled statesman shared how he sometimes had to go against decisions made by his predecessors – including those signed off by founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Here are seven that are highlighted in the book:

1. Entering politics, leaving and going back again​

A mathematician who never was, Dr Tan had dreams of spending his life in academia or banking. He was certainly brainy: He topped his cohort at both the then equivalent versions of the O- and A-level exams, and graduated from university in two years.
In October 1978, he became OCBC Bank’s general manager, and his uncle, Tan Chin Tuan – also the bank’s chairman – was grooming him for greater things.
When the call came from then Finance Minister Hon Sui Sen to join the People’s Action Party, he was reluctant. But Mr Hon persisted in recommending Dr Tan to then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

“How could one say no to Mr Lee Kuan Yew?” said Dr Tan in his book.
In a meeting at the Istana with Mr Lee, Dr Tan tried to explain why he felt he was not suited for the job. But he felt like he did not have much of a choice, and in the end, he told Mr Lee: “I still don’t think I’m suited for the job, but if there’s a need, I’ll do it.”
This same hesitance popped up again in 1995, when Dr Tan received a call from then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Dr Tan had left Cabinet at the end of 1991 and returned to OCBC to become its chairman and CEO.

But Mr Goh needed someone to help strengthen the Cabinet as several veteran ministers had left.
“In the end, however, I felt there wasn’t much of a choice,” said Dr Tan of his return to politics. The interests of Singapore had to take precedence over that of the bank and his own personal considerations, he said.

The 340-page memoir, launched by publisher Straits Times Press, is co-authored by Dr Tony Tan and former ST journalist Leslie Koh. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

2. Introducing streaming​

Difficult decisions abound in government – Dr Tan dedicated close to a quarter of his book to them – but his first one was to help introduce streaming in schools, in a major overhaul to Singapore’s education system.
The 1979 decision to implement streaming was proposed by then Education Minister Goh Keng Swee, who wanted to put students through different systems of education that would cater to varying abilities.
The names of the two streams were carefully chosen, said Dr Tan. The five-year course was “Normal” as students elsewhere were generally taking five years to complete their equivalent of secondary school. The four-year course was then named “Express”.
But when Dr Goh’s report was presented to Parliament, a heated debate ensued, with worries about the unintended effects of labelling, such as stigma.
Dr Goh eventually won over the MPs, but more importantly also the people. The lesson Dr Tan – who was then Senior Minister of State for Education – took was that communication is just as important as the policy itself.

Then Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Goh Keng Swee (second from right) at a Ministry of Education press conference in 1979. With him are (from left) Mr Herman Hochstadt, Mr Chai Chong Yii and Dr Tony Tan. PHOTO: ST FILE
Today, streaming is viewed as an outdated policy, reflected Dr Tan. The country has shifted to subject-based banding.
Yet banding is a refinement of streaming: The fundamental idea is still to teach students at a pace according to their ability, he said.

3. To close or to merge: The Nantah situation​

Another challenging situation was falling enrolment at Nanyang University – fondly known by many as Nantah – and the difficulty its graduates had securing employment in the late 1970s.
Dr Tan sent Mr Lee a note, assessing three options. The first was to do nothing, while the second was to close down Nantah – both unfeasible options, he felt.
The only option was therefore to merge Nanyang University and the University of Singapore to form a new university.
“It was the only politically acceptable way of solving Nantah’s problems,” said Dr Tan. This would show that the Government was not favouring either university, nor closing down Nantah, which would give rise to accusations that the Government was anti-Chinese language education.
The merger was confirmed in 1980, and the National University of Singapore was formed, with Dr Tan as its first vice-chancellor.
In announcing the merger, Mr Lee promised the establishment of another university on the former Nantah grounds. The Government decided that for a start, the new university would have its degrees awarded by NUS so that it would not face the same enrolment and employability problems that Nantah had faced.

The merger of Nanyang University and the University of Singapore was confirmed in 1980. PHOTO: SPH FILE
The Nanyang Technological Institute was born in 1981, and 10 years later began issuing its own degrees.
Dr Tan believed that the merger was the right thing to do. “Some decisions are politically difficult. As I had learnt in the ministry, you can’t force people in education; you need time.”

4. Cutting CPF rates​

In 1985, the economy took a sudden turn from rapid growth to an unexpected recession.
Singapore’s system of high Central Provident Fund contributions – which effectively took money out of the economy, and recirculated it into the system through the building and sale of Housing Board flats – was no longer working as HDB had suspended construction due to a surplus of flats.
This drained liquidity from the system and caused the economy to contract even though the world economy was still growing. It was clear that CPF rates had to be cut, said Dr Tan, who was then Minister of both Trade and Industry, and Finance.
But this was a knotty decision as Mr Lee had just said in his National Day Rally speech that year that the CPF rate should be kept at its current level to protect workers’ savings.
Despite worrying about contradicting Mr Lee, Dr Tan felt that it was his responsibility to publicly float the idea of a rate cut, and he did so at an annual dinner with civil service administrative officers.
In a Cabinet meeting soon after, where the issue was discussed, Dr Tan said Mr Lee did not push back. To his surprise, Mr Lee suggested a more substantive cut for a greater impact.
The CPF rate was eventually cut from 25 per cent to 10 per cent, alongside a host of stimulus measures to raise competitiveness.
“It showed me how great a man Mr Lee was. Despite his own beliefs and convictions, he was never one to dismiss a counter-argument if it made sense,” said Dr Tan.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Dr Tan at the National Day Parade in 2003. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

5. Scrapping the Graduate Mothers’ Scheme​

In 1985, Dr Tan returned to helm the Education Ministry, though this time without his mentor, Dr Goh, to turn to for help and advice.
Right away, he decided on four major problems confronting the education system – one of which was the controversial Graduate Mothers’ Scheme.
The scheme gave graduate mothers with three or more children more priority in choosing schools for their children, and was criticised as discriminatory and an attempt at social engineering.
Data and feedback from teachers showed Dr Tan that the policy was not working, and he was convinced it should be scrapped. He met Mr Lee at lunch to tell him of the decision.
Mr Lee was very calm and said: “You’re the minister, you’re in charge... You must do what you think is right.”
The experience underscored to Dr Tan how government policies need constant review and updating. While they are usually introduced with good intentions, they may be the wrong policy for a changed circumstance, he said.

The Graduate Mothers’ Scheme gave graduate mothers with three or more children more priority in choosing schools for their children. PHOTO: ST FILE

6. Running for president​

The 2011 presidential election was Singapore’s most hotly contested election to date as four men vied for the post and Dr Tan prevailed with a razor-thin margin.
Dr Tan was the last to publicly throw his hat into the ring, after former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock, then NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian, and opposition politician Tan Jee Say had declared their intentions.
Former foreign minister George Yeo, who had lost in the general election that year, had emerged as a potential candidate at the time. While Mr Yeo would make a good president, Dr Tan wondered if he would prevail in a four-cornered race.
As he was then chairman of Singapore Press Holdings, Dr Tan asked reporters, based on ground sentiment, whether Mr Yeo or Dr Tan Cheng Bock would win.
The latter, they answered quickly, which alarmed him.
“We had three men running for president who didn’t seem to fully understand the role of the presidency, and the likelihood (was) that one of them would win,” he said.
After mulling over the issue for a few weeks, Dr Tan decided to put himself forward as a candidate despite having no great ambition to be the president and the risk of an ignominious end to his political life.
Sitting at his desk at the Istana the day after being sworn in, Dr Tan said he felt a great sense of relief.

Dr Tan being sworn in as Singapore’s seventh president and third elected president on Sept 1, 2011. PHOTO: ST FILE

7. Reserved presidency​

Around 2016, while Dr Tan was president, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong broached the idea of the reserved presidency with him.
PM Lee wanted to find a way to ensure that the presidency does not become a “single-race office”, but that every race could be represented in the role at some point, said Dr Tan.
When Dr Tan first heard the proposal, he felt it was a sensible one as it would reflect the nation’s status as a multiracial country.
While as president, he could not take part in the House debate on the issue, he made clear his support for the change in a statement that was read out by the Speaker of Parliament.
The recommendation for the reserved presidency was a “balanced approach” that would ensure that Singapore would have a minority elected president from time to time, he wrote.

The long-term aspiration should be for minorities to be elected into the office without the need for any intervention, but one must recognise current realities, he noted then.
While President Tharman Shanmugaratnam won the 2023 election with a landslide victory, Dr Tan believes it is too early to decide if Singapore can do away with the reserved presidency as race is too entrenched in a person’s make-up.
As such it would be premature to remove the legislation, and it is better to retain it in case it is needed in the future. The day may come that the reserved presidency is no longer needed – society is never static, said Dr Tan.


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The Business Times clinches top journalist prizes at annual SPH awards​


Ms Jessie Lim (left) and Ms Wong Pei Ting won the Young Journalist of the Year and Journalist of the Year awards respectively. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Leow Wen Xuan

MAR 19, 2024

More than $1 billion worth of luxury properties, cars, gold and luxury goods seized. Ten foreigners arrested in connection with the crime. Business Times journalist Jessie Lim sensed this was a case which would make headlines for months, when the police first released the information about Singapore’s biggest money laundering case in August 2023.
Despite having Chinese names, some of the arrested individuals were of Cambodian and Cypriot nationalities, which raised “big red flags” in her head that a well-organised criminal operation was in play, said Ms Lim, 26.
The property reporter went to work, following the case closely and devoting her weekends to unearthing more details for many reports.
The assets seized from the 10 foreigners have swelled to more than $3 billion worth, and the authorities have since taken action to tighten anti-money laundering laws. Her stories about the case garnered at least 110,000 page views collectively.
Ms Lim’s efforts and ability to see a single case from numerous angles helped win her the Young Journalist of the Year award at SPH Media’s annual English, Malay and Tamil Media Group (EMTM) awards ceremony on March 18.
Ms Lim joined The Business Times’ property team in 2023 after three years at The Straits Times covering court and crime, consumer and breaking news.
She said she was happy to have contributed to public awareness about money laundering. “The most difficult aspect was that this was unprecedented. Singapore has never had such a large-scale money laundering crackdown. So a lot of the new facts that we unearthed, there were no similar or previous cases we could refer to,” she said.

Altogether, 15 awards were presented – 12 for excellence and the three top awards of Young Journalist of the Year, Journalist of the Year, and Story of the Year.
The Straits Times took home three Awards for Excellence – for a multimedia graphic on Asian Games gold medallist Shanti Pereira, a podcast series on true crimes in Asia and a commentary on the state of football in Singapore.

Awards for Excellence winners at SPH Media’s English, Malay and Tamil Media Group awards: The Straits Times’ (from left) Ms Rebecca Viviana Pazos, Ms Alexis Gabrielle, Mr Mohammad Haziq Baharudin, Ms Hannah Ong, Mr Jonathan Matthew Roberts, Ms Low Lin Fhoong, Mr Rubeen Raj Somosundram, Mr James Wong and Mr Deepanraj Ganesan. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
Journalist of the Year also went to a Business Times reporter – environmental, social and governance correspondent Wong Pei Ting, 34.

This was not the first award for Ms Wong, who bagged Story of the Year in 2023 for her report on the trend of top university students in Singapore choosing courses in popular fields such as data science and environmental sustainability.
Ms Wong said the Journalist of the Year award felt more “personal”.
“I think there were many times when all of us would have thought that maybe we don’t have a future in journalism,” she said, recounting how she had to rely on freelance writing and design jobs before becoming a full-time journalist in 2015.
“Winning this, it’s validation for the struggles that I’ve had for the past 10 years.”
The Business Times is Singapore’s only financial daily.
BT editor Chen Huifen said both Ms Lim and Ms Wong are hardworking, resourceful and committed to the mission of journalism.
But she added: “While we celebrate their wins, we want to also pay tribute to others who helped to make it possible for our content and products to reach our audiences: such as our editors, sub-editors, and our visual, social media, audience, tech, video, podcast and production teams.”
Story of the Year went to Mr Muhaimin Suzaini, 28, and Mr Izwandi Azman, 31, from Berita Harian (BH) for their reporting on how some Muslim pilgrims were travelling to Mecca independently, and bypassing travel agents.

Mr Muhaimin Suzaini (left) and Mr Izwandi Azman from Berita Harian clinched theStory of the Year award for their reporting on how some Muslim pilgrims were travelling to Mecca independently, and bypassing travel agents. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG
The story resonated beyond Singapore, with the Indonesian Parliament engaging in debate on the matter, and subsequently passing a law on independent mini-pilgrimages from Indonesia.
“The story’s impact reached far beyond the local scene, prompting legislative changes in neighbouring countries and reshaping the landscape of umrah services worldwide,” said the Malay-language paper’s news editor, Mr Muhammad Nazri Hadi Saparin.
Mr Muhaimin, who has been a journalist with BH for more than a year, said: “We feel very honoured to win this award. We honestly did not expect it at all, but we would like to thank our supervisors and colleagues for their constant guidance and support. This award is not just for us, but also for the entire Berita Harian newsroom.”
The judging panel for the awards comprised Ms Lydia Lim, dean of SPH Media Academy, Ms Tan Leng Tuan, head of young audience at SPH Media’s Chinese Media Group, Mr Alan John, director of the Asia Journalism Fellowship, Ms Caroline Wong, director of communications at JTC Corporation, and Dr Natalie Pang, who is associate professor and deputy head of the communications and new media department at the National University of Singapore.


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According to the Prime Minister’s Office website, Mr Lum was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2010 in his capacity as patron of Ayer Rajah-West Coast Citizens’ Consultative Committee.
Ayer Rajah is part of West Coast GRC, where Iswaran served as MP from 1997 till his resignation in January 2024.
The Public Service Medal is awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore, or for his achievement in fields including business, sports and the sciences.

Who is Lum Kok Seng, the man named in Iswaran’s new charges?​

1 of 2

Iswaran (right) is said to have obtained items such as a Brompton bicycle, golf clubs and bottles of whisky from Mr Lum Kok Seng between November 2021 and November 2022. PHOTOS: LUM CHANG, ST SHINTARO TAY

Wong Shiying

MAR 27, 2024

SINGAPORE – Former transport minister S. Iswaran was handed eight new charges on March 25 that allege he had obtained, as a public servant, valuable items worth nearly $19,000 from Mr Lum Kok Seng.
Iswaran is said to have obtained items such as a Brompton bicycle, golf clubs and bottles of whisky from Mr Lum between November 2021 and November 2022.
Iswaran, who was appointed transport minister in May 2021 and resigned from the post in January 2024, allegedly knew that Mr Lum was linked to a Land Transport Authority (LTA) contract for works at Tanah Merah MRT station through the latter’s company, Lum Chang Building Contractors (LCBC).
Iswaran now faces a total of 35 charges, 32 of which are under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which makes it an offence for a public servant to accept gifts from someone involved with him in an official capacity.
His remaining charges comprise two for corruption and one for obstructing the course of justice. Iswaran pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Lum Chang spokesperson referred to a statement by its board of directors issued on the Singapore Exchange website on March 25.
The statement said the board is aware that Mr Lum and LCBC were mentioned in media reports involving Iswaran and will make an announcement when there are material developments in the case.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers said it will take a decision in respect of the investigations against Mr Lum after the case against Iswaran has been completed, including the presentation of evidence in court.

Mr Lum, a Singaporean, is listed as managing director of Lum Chang Holdings (LCH) – a property management, interior design and construction firm – on the company’s website.
Iswaran is said to have obtained valuable items, including a Brompton T Line bicycle worth around $7,900, a set of golf clubs worth $4,420 and 22 bottles of wine and whisky worth more than $5,000 from Mr Lum.

According to LCH’s 2023 annual report, Mr Lum is also listed as a director of LCH’s construction arm, LCBC, among other subsidiaries.
The report states that Mr Lum has around 50 years of industry experience and led the expansion of the company’s property development activities in Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. He is listed as being 74 years old in the June 2023 annual report.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office website, Mr Lum was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2010 in his capacity as patron of Ayer Rajah-West Coast Citizens’ Consultative Committee.
Ayer Rajah is part of West Coast GRC, where Iswaran served as MP from 1997 till his resignation in January 2024.
The Public Service Medal is awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore, or for his achievement in fields including business, sports and the sciences.

Tanah Merah MRT station project​

Iswaran’s latest charges state that the former minister knew Mr Lum was involved in a contract for works at Tanah Merah MRT station when he allegedly obtained the items.
The contract involving Tanah Merah MRT station is worth $325 million, according to LCH’s annual report.
The project, which was awarded to LCBC by LTA in October 2016, involves addition and alteration works to the station and its existing viaducts.
Slated to be completed in 2025, the project includes the construction of an additional platform and concourse in the station, along with two entrances linked by an underpass near the Tanah Merah Kechil Avenue intersection.
LCBC has another ongoing project with LTA, namely the construction of the North-South Corridor tunnel between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Avenue 9.
This contract is worth $799 million.
It was awarded to LCBC in December 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2027.
According to the annual report, construction for the Tanah Merah station project and the North-South Corridor is progressing well.
LCBC was also the main contractor for Bukit Panjang MRT station on the Downtown Line.


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‘Quiet wisdom and a steady hand’: Tributes pour in for outgoing PM Lee​


PM Lee Hsien Loong has been Singapore’s Prime Minister since 2004. ST PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

Christie Chiu

APR 16, 2024

SINGAPORE - Over his 20-year tenure as Singapore’s third prime minister, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong developed a reputation for being a sharp and demanding leader with clear views and strong convictions.
But he is also known for his integrity and fairness, as well as his care and empathy for Singaporeans.
These attributes were reflected in tributes that poured in for PM Lee after news broke on April 15 that he would be stepping down from office.
Political office-holders and backbench MPs took to Facebook to pen bittersweet goodbyes to PM Lee, even as they welcomed Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who will be taking over the baton come May 15.
From how PM Lee guided Singapore through issues such as Covid-19 and the global financial crisis, to his hand in maintaining the country’s unity during times of societal fragmentation and the strides the nation has made under his stewardship, many PAP MPs remember the Prime Minister as a visionary leader who has left an indelible mark on Singapore’s history.

Selflessly dedicated and a hands-on leader​

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat recalled the many episodes of uncertainties Singapore has had to navigate over the past two decades, such as the global financial crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and today’s fractured geopolitical environment.
Through all this, PM Lee remained selflessly dedicated to the country, leading with “quiet wisdom and a steady hand”.

His generous service, DPM Heng said, has allowed Singapore to stand out – at a time when societies are growing more fragmented – as “a beacon of openness and collaboration amid a more reticent global environment”.
Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information as well as Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity, agreed. She recounted how PM Lee led the Solidarity Walk in 2009 during the global financial crisis.
She also said PM Lee is a hands-on leader who was able to engage in Singapore’s technological conversations with his exceptional grasp of mathematics, economics, science and technology.

But more than that, his efforts to understand such nuances were a source of inspiration to those under his stewardship.
Mrs Teo said: “It helps our professional teams to know that we have a leader who is interested in their work, who understands its difficulties and believes in helping them get things right.
“It helps visitors see that we are a serious-minded country, committed at all levels to deep understanding of issues and not prone to go along with hype.”

PM Lee has also pushed Singapore to expand its scope of involvement in various environmental issues, said Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment as well as Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations.
Under his leadership, she said, her ministry has expanded its work to embrace a comprehensive sustainable development model where economic progress is achieved with environment protection and resources resilience.
She added that he has been a “strong sponsor and champion” of ministry policies that prioritise issues such as climate action and the circular economy, as well as food and water security.

Nation-building foresight​

Stable leadership and the ability to plan long term have always been among Singapore’s biggest assets – a tradition that PM Lee has continued, said Mr Vikram Nair, an MP for Sembawang GRC.
Beyond laying the foundations for Singapore’s protection against climate change, PM Lee has also consistently endeavoured to implement changes that will have lasting impact on citizens’ daily lives.

Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance Chee Hong Tat thanked PM Lee for his leadership over Singapore’s different transport sectors, which have vastly improved under his 20-year guidance.
Of the importance of the public transport system, Mr Chee said PM Lee had emphasised its role as a social equaliser, connecting people and places.
He added that PM Lee described it as “a shared experience of living in Singapore, where Singaporeans from all walks of life use public transport to go to work, school and recreation”.
This is only one of the heartfelt takeaways Mr Chee has of his time working with PM Lee to build a “stronger and better Singapore”.
He said the Prime Minister taught him to always think long term and plan for the future, “for the benefit of Singapore and Singaporeans, including future generations who are too young to vote and may not yet be born”.

Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration, concurred, adding that PM Lee “believed strongly in passing on to our children a better Singapore than we inherited”.
Mr Lee recalled how PM Lee made various moves to make public housing more affordable for Singaporeans, such as introducing means-tested housing grants in 2011 and the Standard-Plus-Prime model in 2023.
He noted that PM Lee’s belief in building a better Singapore for future generations also underpins the bold long-term land-use planning moves made in recent years, including the development of Paya Lebar, Jurong Lake District and the Greater Southern Waterfront.
“This forward-looking spirit inspires all of us to keep planning and building a future Singapore that is more vibrant, liveable, sustainable and resilient than today,” he said.

Social support​

PM Lee also pushed for policies that ensured all Singaporeans had the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their socio-economic status, said Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad.
In his tribute to PM Lee, Mr Zaqy said: “Today, we have broadened social safety nets, and I was privileged to have played a role when PM announced enhancements to our progressive wages policy (during National Day Rally 2021), to uplift our lower-wage workers and bridge income inequality.”


Referencing PM Lee’s 2013 National Day Rally, Mr Desmond Lee said the Prime Minister’s words about the Government and community needing to do more to support individuals “left a deep and enduring impression” on him.
“It was a rallying call for our society and nation to come together, and forge a new way forward as one.”
He witnessed this “new way forward” when PM Lee launched the ComCare Fund to provide a social safety net for lower-income Singaporeans in 2005, and again two years later when the Government rolled out the Workfare policy to top up the wages of lower-income workers.
He continued to see these support efforts throughout the years, such as in 2012 when the Progressive Wage Model was established to sustainably raise wages, and in 2015 when MediShield Life was implemented to cover costly medical bills.
Mr Lee said: “It has been my great privilege to serve under PM Lee’s leadership and stewardship of our country these past 11 years. During this time, I have had the opportunity to experience, first-hand, what PM Lee meant by the ‘new way forward’.”

A leader who listens​

While the many tributes that poured in highlighted PM Lee’s formidable leadership, they also spoke highly of his gentle demeanour and the respect he has for others.
Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Nadia Ahmad Samdin recalled a time when she addressed the Prime Minister as “boss”, and he, in turn, smiled, referring to her as “comrade”.
Addressing PM Lee, she said: “It made me reflect on how open you have been over the years to different views, treating people from different ages and walks of life with respect.
“You seek to engage with genuine interest, never making people feel less despite your years of wisdom and how much you have shouldered for Singapore.”
She described him as someone rooted in his values, yet able to recognise that times change and is willing to listen to others, seeking to enlarge the common space.
“In an increasingly fragmented world, your steadfast disposition has built bridges, holding us together,” she added.


Minister for Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing said: “Policy nous and many other things can be honed. But the most important values that PM has shown us is the critical task to keep our system clean and upright to inspire more good people to come forward and serve.
“We are thankful for PM’s leadership and service to Singapore, always putting the country and people before self.”



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Always knew you had our back: Police thank outgoing PM Lee​


PM Lee Hsien Loong (right) receiving the Temasek Sword – the highest honour bestowed by the Singapore Police Force – from Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Samuel Devaraj

APR 17, 2024

SINGAPORE – Police officers have always felt the support from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his tenure, said Deputy Commissioner of Police How Kwang Hwee on April 17.
He was speaking at an event at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess to honour PM Lee, who will mark the end of his 20-year tenure on May 15 when he hands over the reins to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.
Making his first public appearance since the handover announcement on April 15, PM Lee received the Temasek Sword – the highest honour bestowed by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) – from Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck.
There were more than 100 guests at the event, including Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam, who told reporters that the event had been planned before the April 15 announcement.
In a citation, DCP How said PM Lee has given his unstinting support to the SPF throughout his premiership.
“(PM Lee) never wavered in the conviction that a safe and secure Singapore, where rule of law prevails, is the prerequisite of social and economic progress,” DCP How said.

“The men and women in blue always knew that PM Lee had their backs in their fight against crime and to keep law and order in Singapore.”

SPF had hosted PM Lee in the same venue in 2014, when he was also given the Temasek Sword.
DCP How noted that the Prime Minister had spoken then about two areas that the police must never neglect.
First, to maintain the highest standards of integrity, commitment and professionalism, so that the public’s strong trust in the police can be sustained.

Second, to continue to invest in technology, so that the police can keep up with the latest threats and deal with them effectively.
DCP How said 10 years on, the public’s trust in the police has remained high and that the force has also invested heavily in technology and developed new capabilities.
He said it was not only during good times that PM Lee inspired the police.
“The visits which PM Lee made to the SPF on Christmas Eve in 2013 after the Little India Riot, and on the eve of Chinese New Year in 2019 during a challenging period with our neighbour, uplifted our morale when we needed it most.”
He did not specify the incident, but there were ongoing air and maritime disputes between Singapore and Malaysia around that time.

PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking to police officers at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess on April 17. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Mr Shanmugam told the media that PM Lee has been a tremendous supporter of the police and of the Home Team as a whole, and that he has always been very clear on the importance of making sure that people live in a safe and good environment.
He also said PM Lee has a “once in a generation mind” and that Singapore has “been incredibly lucky” to have had him as a Prime Minister.
He added: “(PM Lee) is probably our most popular politician, because Singaporeans know that this man is not in politics because he likes power or looking to be rewarded.
“He is in politics out of a deep sense of obligation to Singaporeans.”


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‘I stand on the shoulders of giants’: DPM Wong pays tribute to PM Lee​


After he is sworn in, DPM Lawrence Wong (right) will be Singapore’s fourth prime minister, succeeding PM Lee Hsien Loong. PHOTO: ST FILE

Jean Iau

APR 16, 2024

SINGAPORE – Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong thanked Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on April 16 for his selfless service and contributions to the nation.
This comes a day after the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that DPM Wong will be sworn in at 8pm on May 15 at the Istana, as Singapore’s fourth prime minister.
Speaking to the media on April 16, DPM Wong started by thanking his Cabinet colleagues and fellow MPs for placing their confidence in him and choosing him to lead the team.
DPM Wong, who entered politics 13 years ago, said: “I stand on the shoulders of giants and one in particular stands out and that’s Mr Lee Hsien Loong.
“He has done so much for Singapore, especially in the last 20 years of leading our country.”
He added that during PM Lee’s tenure, Singapore’s economy has grown tremendously, and Singaporeans have enjoyed steady improvements in their incomes and standard of living.
“We have weathered through many crises and emerged stronger each time,” he said.

DPM Wong said Singapore’s international standing has also strengthened considerably, and the Singapore brand is admired and respected worldwide.
“On behalf of all Singaporeans, I thank Mr Lee Hsien Loong for his selfless service to our country and lasting contributions to Singapore.”
He added that he had asked PM Lee, who has served as prime minister since 2004, to continue serving in the Cabinet as a senior minister after the handover, which PM Lee has agreed to.
DPM Wong, who is 51, had been the presumptive next prime minister since April 2022, when his peers picked him as the leader of the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) 4G team.
At the biennial PAP convention held at Singapore Expo in November 2023, PM Lee made his intention clear that he wanted to hand over to DPM Wong by PAP’s 70th anniversary in November 2024.


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Vivan did not mention that LHL screwed up relations with China.
China demoted Singapore and LHL.

PM Lee ‘a respected statesman’ who opened doors, gave Singapore credibility on world stage: Vivian​


Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (right) paid tribute to PM Lee Hsien Loong (left), who will be handing over the reins to DPM Lawrence Wong on May 15. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Mara Cepeda
Philippines Correspondent

APR 18, 2024

MANILA – Outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has opened so many doors for Singapore, giving it credibility and opportunities on the world stage, said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
During an interview with the Singapore media on April 18, at the end of his four-day visit to the Philippines, the minister took the chance to pay tribute to PM Lee, who will hand over the reins to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on May 15.
“Prime Minister Lee and his reputation has opened so many doors for us. It has given us opportunities on the international stage. It has given us credibility.
“And his style of conducting foreign policy on the basis of realism, consistency, constructiveness, goodwill, trust – all these have been calling cards, attributes of our foreign policy,” said Dr Balakrishnan, in his first comments on the upcoming leadership change announced on April 15.
Dr Balakrishnan had arrived in the Philippines for his visit on the same day. Manila and Singapore, both founding members of Asean, are celebrating 55 years of diplomatic ties in 2024.
The minister said he was honoured to have served under PM Lee, who first appointed him as acting minister for community development, youth and sports in 2004. Dr Balakrishnan became a full-time Cabinet member the year after.
He later served as minister for environment and water resources from 2011, until PM Lee named him foreign minister in 2015.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime for me to have served under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,” said Dr Balakrishnan.
Like all Singaporeans, he wanted to say a big thank you to PM Lee, he said.
PM Lee has continued to fly the flag of Singapore internationally, the minister said, adding that he has been present at almost all of Mr Lee’s meetings with leaders.
Dr Balakrishnan said he has always been struck by “how much people wanted to listen, to pick (Mr Lee’s) brains, to glean advice from his wisdom and his experience”.
He described PM Lee as an erudite leader with wide interests, who is always curious as well as disciplined and data-driven. Above all, Mr Lee is “driven by a powerful sense of duty, of mission and compassion”.
Singapore has been “very blessed” to have a man like Mr Lee not only as a leader domestically, but also as “a respected statesman on the international stage”, he added.
Dr Balakrishnan said DPM Wong “will have big shoes to fill” when he takes over as prime minister. PM Lee will stay on as senior minister.


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Union leaders present gifts, mementos to PM Lee at his last May Day Rally as PM​


PM Lee Hsien Loong receiving a gift from Ms Ng Yuen Jiuan from the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute at the May Day Rally on May 1. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Tay Hong Yi and Jean Iau

MAY 01, 2024

SINGAPORE – After delivering his last major speech as Prime Minister on May 1, unionists dressed in red polo shirts surrounded PM Lee Hsien Loong, presenting gifts and lining up to take photos.
PM Lee on May 1 delivered his final major speech at the annual National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) May Day Rally 2024, held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The annual event was attended by some 1,700 unionists, business leaders, government officials and guests.
He is set to pass the baton to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who will be sworn in as the Republic’s fourth prime minister on May 15.
PM Lee received several standing ovations throughout his speech, with some in the audience holding up balloons that spelt out “I LOVE U PM LEE” and blowing whistles.
The group behind the balloons was the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union. The union’s president Julie Cheong said that unionists wanted to express their appreciation to PM Lee, especially after the Government subsidised up to 75 per cent of workers’ wages during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union was the group behind the balloons that read “I LOVE U PM LEE”. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Ms Cheong, 52, recounted meeting PM Lee over lunch at the Istana before several May Day Rallies. The meetings were held to give PM Lee a sense of unionists’ and workers’ sentiments on the ground.
“Each time, PM Lee made us feel comfortable. He doesn’t make us feel that we are in any way inferior in (the) Istana or when we meet him,” said the union leader, who works as a guest relations executive at Four Seasons Hotel.

Another group that waited in line to present PM Lee with a gift was the NTUC Aerospace and Aviation Cluster. The cluster’s union leaders signed a plaque that they presented to PM Lee.
One of the union leaders was ST Engineering Staff Union general secretary Sazali Zainal, who told The Straits Times that during the Covid-19 pandemic, PM Lee met him and other union leaders in the aerospace industry to discuss jobs when air travel was restricted as countries shut their borders.
“He was open to the feedback and the suggestions we gave to him, about training, about job redesign, job upskilling, basically just to protect workers from having to leave the industry,” said the 51-year-old aircraft engineer.

Mr Sazali said that PM Lee’s recounting of his 40th year in politics and public service was touching. “He has left behind a legacy that I think he should be proud of. As a Singaporean, I’m also very proud of (him),” he added.
Veteran union leader John De Payva, 74, who was NTUC president from 1997 to 2011, was part of a committee tasked to help bring Singapore out of recession in 1985, which PM Lee chaired. Mr De Payva said PM Lee, who was then DPM, made sure the committee formed robust wage reform proposals that were practicable.
“He (encouraged us) to explore ways and means of tackling the rigidity of the wage system,” he said, adding that PM Lee is a “guiding light” for the labour movement.
Mr De Payva recalled how PM Lee sought his views when preparing for his maiden May Day Rally speech as Prime Minister in 2005. “We have such a humble Prime Minister,” he said.

Ms Mary Liew, general secretary of the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), said that the growth of the labour movement was made possible by the stability of the country under PM Lee’s stewardship.
Ms Liew, who was NTUC president from 2015 to 2023, said: “I’ll always remember his quote that ‘tripartism is our national treasure’; we must never take it for granted and we must always grow it.”
The SMOU was among several unions that presented gifts to PM Lee. Ms Liew, 61, said the union’s gift was a set of medallion coins depicting a hybrid orchid cultivated in 2016 to mark SMOU’s 65th anniversary.
“We wanted to present this gift that meant a lot to us to PM, to show the appreciation the SMOU has for him.
“The Prime Minister has walked a journey with the labour movement, so he’s part of our family,” said Ms Liew.

Read PM Lee’s May Day Rally speech in full.


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S'pore became a 1st-world nation under PM Lee's leadership: Ng Chee Meng at 2024 NTUC May Day Rally​

Ng said the labour movement owes a debt of gratitude to PM Lee, and that they wished him the very best.
Fiona Tan


National Trades Union Congress' (NTUC) Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng said Singapore became a first-world nation under Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong's leadership.
Ng paid tribute to PM Lee in his speech which opened the 2024 NTUC May Day Rally on the morning of May 1, 2024.

The 2024 May Day will be PM Lee's last one as the head of Singapore's government, before PM Lee hands over the reins to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong on May 15.

PM Lee and his leadership advanced workers' interests​

Ng said PM Lee has made remarkable contributions to the labour movement as the leader of the country.
He added that PM Lee has been a steadfast partner in advancing the interests of workers to better their wages, welfare, and work prospects, and his commitment to improve workers' lives is "admirable".
He noted several initiatives that PM Lee has shown support for, such as the Progressive Wage Model and SkillsFuture, as well as the Jobs Support Scheme and Self-employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) which were implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ng said these initiatives led to a more inclusive and equitable society, and during "challenging times" served as a beacon of hope for "many desperate workers in the darkest of times".
Ng said all of these initiatives underscored PM Lee's dedication to safeguarding workers’ interests and well-being, alongside the labour movement.
He said PM Lee's strategic leadership and unwavering support have strengthened the bond between the People's Action Party (PAP) and NTUC.
Ng remarked that having the government on the side of workers and, at the same time, on the side of employers is the "secret sauce" to tripartism — something he said many other countries are "simply not able to do".
Recounting an encounter with PM Lee in 2019, when he apparently put forth a plan to PM Lee for a Downtown South in Singapore, Ng said PM Lee agreed without hesitation, exhibiting his leadership's care for workers.
Ng said the encounter left him with a "deep impression", and joked that it was his "best negotiation performance" given that it was concluded in just 30 seconds.
He said that the labour movement owes a debt of gratitude to PM Lee, and they wished him the very best.
Ng called on the crowd present at the NTUC May Day Rally at Marina Bay Sands to give PM Lee a standing ovation.
PM Lee drew rousing applause from the audience, and several individuals raised balloons that spelled "PM Lee".

Photo by Hannah Martens.

Incoming PM has labour movement's support​

To DPM Wong, the soon-to-be PM, Ng said he has the labour movement's fullest support.
Ng said Wong has been a consistent and strong advocate for workers, and his journey with the union has been longstanding.
Noting that Wong and his team had previously set aside S$100 million to scale up Company Training Committees (CTCs), Ng said the CTC has had great success and benefitted workers, companies and the nation as a whole.
Ng called this "a win-win-win" and said he hopes to call on Wong to top up the CTC grant soon.

Ng: Industrial harmony is not the "natural" state of things​

In his speech, Ng also stressed the importance of tripartism in Singapore, and spoke about NTUC's ongoing efforts to champion workers' interests.
Pointing to recent global events, Ng said there is increasing uncertainty in a tumultuous world, but Singapore has thankfully enjoyed industrial harmony for the past few decades.
However, he was quick to caution that industrial harmony is not the "natural" state of being. Instead, it requires careful nurturing, and give and take.
Ng said the labour movement, the government and the employers have worked hard to build trust by taking concerted action and forging win-win outcomes to transform Singapore from a third-world country to where it is today.
He stressed the importance of tripartism and said it remains key to Singapore’s success.
Ng also highlighted NTUC's efforts over the years to help youths jumpstart their careers and navigate the workplace, to champion flexible work arrangements, to strengthen workers' employability and enhance their retirement adequacy, and to push for improvements in productivity, which led to better wages.
He also said NTUC would do more to support workers, including professionals, managers and executives (PMEs).

#EveryPrimeMinisterMatters commemorative book​

At the end of the 2024 NTUC May Day Rally, Ng and NTUC President K Thanaletchimi presented PM Lee with a commemorative book titled “#EveryPrimeMinisterMatters: Our Salute to Brother Lee Hsien Loong”.
NTUC authored the book to express their gratitude to PM Lee and serve as a testament to his dedication and contributions to the labour movement and Singapore's workers.

Image screenshot from NTUC Singapore/YouTube.