Who is Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab: the guy with SO MUCH fire in his belly?

By September 15, 2021Current

TL;DR – He bangs the table, quarrels over wages on behalf of the workers.

The Parliament session yesterday was intense and epic.

But nope, I am not going to talk about the hot mic incident (iykyk).

Instead, I am here to talk about the speech made by Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, who is also the vice-president of NTUC, when he responded to PSP’s Leong Mun Wai’s remarks about NTUC.

Here’s a video which I have lifted from his Facebook post, in case you have not watched him speak:


And for whatever reason you are unable to watch the video, here’s a full transcript of his speech

“I’m not so sure what’s the right word to use. When you said about NTUC not doing workers’ justice, I take it very badly because I am a walking union leader. My job is not full-time doing union (work), but it’s a mixture of sacrifices I have to take.

When you talk about how wages can be better, I would like to share with this House: What you have seen and heard based on just PWM is not reflective of all the work that the labour movement does.. Every union, through the branches that it represents, every time we renew a collective agreement, we make sure, the workers are benchmarked to the type of work that they do. Review their job scope, pay them accordingly.

As much as we know recently, when NTUC recently launched the Worker 4.0, we talked about 3Ws: Wages, Welfare and Work prospects. Wages is always inside our mind. So, it is not right to say that NTUC has not done our part. We have been doing it since it was founded. I am a beneficiary of past great union leaders, some have been NMPs like the late Nithiah Nandan.

We go to the table, we quarrel over wages, even if we know, at the end of the day there are some sacrifices that have to be made, I want to put it clear: NTUC, we are here for the workers, the wages, the welfare and work prospects will continue to be our main aim.

We’re not (completely) represented when we talk about FairPrice. That’s talking about trying to mitigate the cost of living, compared to other merchants. But we are a holistic institution that upholds every worker – who needs to be paid due respect for what they have contributed to the company. Thank you.”

After watching his speech, I got a little bit more curious about this guy who seemed to have got so much fire in his belly – especially when he talks about representing workers.

I decided to search up about him.

1) Who is Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab?

  • NTUC Vice-President and UPAGE General Secretary
  • A veteran union leader who has been serving for more than 10 years
  • The Labour Movement’s 13th NMP
  • Married, and has three children

2) His credentials in the Labour Movement?

Other than being part of the Union of Power and Gas Employees (UPAGE) since 2003, serving as the general secretary of the union since 2015, Mr Samad also chairs the NTUC oil, petrochemical, energy and chemical (OPEC) cluster of unions.

Additionally, Mr Samad serves as one of three vice-presidents of NTUC.

He also represents the Labour Movement on the boards of SkillsFuture Singapore, NTUC LearningHub, and the NTUC team on the National Wages Council (NWC).

In 2020, he was a recipient of the Public Service Medal from the Prime Minister’s Office.

3) Issues he would like to tackle as an NMP?

Strengthening the Singaporean core and expanding the progressive wage model to more sectors, he said.

Not sure about you, but I’m loving the vibes Mr Samad gives off when responding to the remarks from Mr Leong Mun Wai already. Not the most polished or the perfect-Queen’s-English kind of speech, yes. But it has got to be one of the most impassioned speeches I’ve seen thus far!

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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