TL;DR – We hope Googling Ng Chee Meng has brought you here.
Ng Chee Meng: who is he?
You may have heard of Ng Chee Meng, but you may not be sure who he is, or how he came to be the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC’s) Secretary-General. We went to see how much of his past we could dig up online, and what people want to know about him.
Google revealed that a large majority of searches on ‘Ng Chee Meng’ were related to his family, background and how to get in touch with him.
He joined NTUC as Deputy Secretary-General on 23rd April 2018, and then took over the Secretary-General role from Chan Chun Sing on 22nd May 2018. Let’s CSI a bit more and see what we can find online!
1. What is Ng Chee Meng’s age?
Ng Chee Meng was born on 8 August 1968, hence he will be 52 on 8 August 2020, one day before National Day!
2. Who is Ng Chee Meng’s family?
Ng Chee Meng is one of five brothers.
Two of his brothers also served in the military:
– Ng Chee Khern (married to Elaine Ng)
– Ng Chee Peng (married to Valerie Low Yin Lee)
His family moved to Blk 27, Dover Crescent in the 1970s, which is famous for producing at least 16 recipients of Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarships.
Ng Chee Meng has been married to Datin Michelle Lim Bee Leng for 25 years.
He seemed to be very close to his late mother. In previous years, he would even go around Punggol North to give out flowers to the mothers in the area!
Ng Chee Meng and wife Michelle have 2 daughters, Elisabeth and Sara.
3. Ng Chee Meng’s Education – where did he study?
Ng Chee Meng studied in Hua Yi Primary School, The Chinese High School and Hwa Chong Junior College. His favourite teacher is Madam Salome Chua who taught him science and was also his CCA teacher in Chinese High. Ng Chee Meng’s favourite subject in Primary School was Physical Education, and then Science when he was older.
His primary school co-curricular activities (CCAs) were swimming and table tennis, and National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) in secondary school where he met his wife Michelle (also in NPCC from Cedar Girls’).
In junior college, he joined the Science Club, won a taekwondo national schools medal and obtained a private pilot licence from the Junior Flying Club. Ng Chee Meng then studied at the United States Air Force Academy. In 1991, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1991.
In 2003, he obtained a Master of Arts (International Relations) at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, USA.
4. Where is Ng Chee Meng’s church?
An online search revealed that he’s been with Bethany Independent Presbyterian Church for more than 20 years, and has chaired worship services before. In one prelude to the congregation with co-chair Lai Chung Han, Ng Chee Meng revealed he’s an Arsenal fan too!
5. What experience does Ng Chee Meng have?
Having accumulated a wealth of experience from his time with the Air Force, as the Education minister, and engaging with people of all backgrounds as the Labour Chief, Ng has the ability to connect with individuals from all walks of life.
As a firm believer that education must go beyond the classroom and academic grades, Ng built on Singapore’s strong education system during his time with Ministry of Education. He also worked on enhancing students’ access to opportunities to support their aspirations.
Chief of Air Force
In his first leadership role in the RSAF, Ng Chee Meng improved flying standards and forged the SQN (squadron) into a cohesive fighting unit using the maxim “Officer first, pilot second”.
When he was Chief of the Air Force, the RSAF augmented the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Task Group, and deployed patrol aircraft for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Ng Chee Meng also forged closer working relations between the RSAF and air forces around the world, and sent aircraft to New Zealand to help in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake relief efforts.
Second Minister for Transport (MOT)
Before he became NTUC Secretary-General, Ng Chee Meng was already engaging transport workers and unions to understand their challenges, and find opportunities for workers to keep up with technology.
Since 2015, Ng Chee Meng has engaged transport unions on issues affecting workers (via)The General Secretary of the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU), Mr Fang Chin Poh, had this to say about Ng Chee Meng based on his previous encounters with him:
“He (Ng Chee Meng) is young and personable, and is empathetic when he listens to our concerns about issues such as having to meet higher service standards under the new bus contracting model.”
Now as NTUC Secretary-General, Ng’s immediate focus is to create new jobs, save jobs, protect livelihoods of workers and work on providing more opportunities for upskilling. Keeping his ears close to the ground, he has also gained invaluable feedback on job security issues, particularly those of mid-career PMEs and self-employed persons. More than 12,000 workers have been matched by NTUC’s Job Security Council to date.
6. How did Ng Chee Meng’s passion to help workers come about?
This Labour Chief fully understands how sudden change in circumstances and job security issues could impact upon families, and even young children from his personal experience.
Ng Chee Meng did not have a rich upbringing. He recalled in an ST interview that his father was retrenched from a middle manager position in the textile industry when he was a young boy. Money was tight as the family was the midst of upgrading from a 3-room to a 5-room flat. He had an allowance of 50 cents in Secondary School, spending 20 cents on rice and 10 cents on cabbage, so he could save 20 cents. This childhood experience is one reason why he wants to help displaced workers or workers whose employment income is disrupted.
A minister who believes in being on the ground, he shared how he had come across valuable feedback – whether from chief executive officers, workers, or freelancers. When the pandemic hit, Mr Ng recalled how messages were coming to him at all hours from workers, and from his residents to seek help – many of them in desperation. This probably explains why he is on this mission to protect workers’ livelihoods and encourage them to upskill so as to be ready when the upturn comes.
On 29 June 2020, the media announced that Ng Chee Meng will helm the People’s Action Party team to contest in the new Sengkang GRC for the 2020 Singapore General Election. The GRC has more than 120,000 eligible voters.
On 30 June 2020, it was confirmed that Ng’s PAP team will contest for Sengkang GRC against the Workers’ Party team. The PAP team comprises Ng, former MP for Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC; Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin; and PAP’s new candidate Raymond Lye, a lawyer. The Workers’ Party team is helmed by lawyer He Ting Ru, economist Jamus Lim, 44, equity research analyst Louis Chua, 33, and social activist Raeesah Khan, 26. Of the four Workers’ Party candidates, three are taking part in their first general election. Ms He had been part of the WP team contesting Marine Parade GRC in 2015.
7. What is Ng Chee Meng’s Facebook and email?
<Article last updated on 4 July 2020>