Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

TL;DR – His speech is simple, direct and personal.

Not bad for someone who just joined the Labour Movement almost a month ago on April 24th and speaking as an incoming Labour Chief (now Labour Chief).

Minister Ng Chee Meng delivered his speech during the debate on the President’s address last Tuesday (15 May) in response to the priorities of Government mentioned in President Halimah’s speech.


We pretended to be PR experts and deconstructed his 11 minutes long speech.

Here’s why we think he nailed it:

Keeping it simple

“For Singapore to be competitive in this new arena, we need to be hungry. Businesses will need to transform, towkays will need to change their mindsets, and workers will need to be eager to learn, upskill and continually upgrade…”

No flowery language. No jargons.

Ng spoke in a simple language and conveyed what really mattered.  

Using active voice

“…Workers are worried about making ends meet. There are concerns about buying a home, about their retirement savings, about healthcare costs, and having enough for their children’s education…”

Note how Ng’s speech was written in active voice.

It’s more informal (not casual though) and doesn’t come across as distant as it would have if it was written in passive voice.

Addressing the root of the problem

“The real question here is whether employers are willing to employ senior workers instead of having the fixed mindset that these workers are a burden, more expensive and untrainable.”

The Labour Movement lobbied for re-employment of older workers and now, it wants to set up a Tripartite Committee to help mature workers continue working if they choose to.

READ MORE:  Find out why Ng Chee Meng is still NTUC secretary-general, if he's still bro, and what he's been up to

But all these efforts will be futile if employers cannot transform their mindset towards hiring of mature workers.

Being personal

“I chatted with 2 uncles, both 75 years old, at Changi Terminal 2 curbside recently. They are working as porters…On one hand, I was happy to see them healthy and active; but on the other, I wonder if provisions for their retirement are adequate when they are no longer fit to work or decide to retire.”

Ng related his personal experiences with union leaders whom he met during union visits. This added a human touch to his otherwise factual and “dry” speech.

Storytelling is also an effective way to engage the audience…but don’t tell grandfather story lah. 😛

Being direct and persuade with a classic structure

“The Labour Movement will need to push the transformation agenda by working even closer with Government and businesses, and this how the Labour Movement will be here to assist.”

Ng was direct in stating the purpose of his speech early. Subsequently, he expanded his points on how the Labour Movement wants to make things better for workers.   

“In conclusion, we need to take better care of our low-wage workers…But needless to say, solutions are only possible if employers, workers and Government work together…We hear you, we are with you, and we will make it real, together.”

Towards the end, he summarized key takeaways for people who did not follow through the speech. (Aiyah, sometimes speeches are too long :P)

Here’s Minister Ng Chee Meng’s full speech in Parliament:


By Joey Wee

I am nice, most of the time!

One thought on “Ng Chee Meng nailed his first Parliament speech as incoming Labour Chief, here’s why”
  1. Now we have a new labour chief and he is addressing the old issue of singapores older workforce… this issue has been a thorn in singapore long before he arrived as it was also a issue brought up by pass ministers… why keep bringing up this over and over again… find a way to settle this once and for all … you can form a thousand committees and not come up with a solution …. then get someone who can.. like the finance minister who every year tell us that the future market is going to be very competative and that we need to safe our reserves and spend it wisely… when has it ever been good going for us ????, never right…. the world is competative and thats never going to change… all in all we are lucky that the old guards build a singapore for all of us and they never fell short on delivering a great economy and a honest goverment… i hope to be able to say this for the present PAP.

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