Labour chief speaks up for errant cabbies

Mr Ho, who was MP for Bras Basah and NTUC president, called on the Traffic Police to be more lenient towards cabbies.
Mr Ho, who was MP for Bras Basah and NTUC president, called on the Traffic Police to be more lenient towards cabbies.ST FILE PHOTO

Pioneer labour union leader Ho See Beng was in the news this week in 1965, for speaking up for taxi drivers in Parliament.

Mr Ho, who was MP for Bras Basah and president of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), called on the Traffic Police to be more lenient towards taxi drivers.

He felt that taxi drivers were being fined too heavily, adding that first-time offenders should be warned and that subsequent offences should result in small fines.

Mr Ho, who had worked as a cabby and a deliveryman, was a proofreader at The Straits Times at one time and general secretary of the Singapore Printing Employees' Union from 1958 to 1961.

In 1962, he became the first chairman of the newly founded NTUC and later served as its president and secretary-general.

Mr Ho, who was born in Fujian, China, and was fluent in Hokkien, was credited with helping NTUC win influence away from the pro-communist unions and for helping to modernise the labour movement.

Besides serving three terms in Bras Basah, he was a two-term MP for Khe Bong, which was later absorbed into Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Mr Ho, whose children included former West Coast GRC MP Ho Geok Choo, retired from politics and trade union work in 1984. He died in 2008 at the age of 90.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2015, with the headline 'Labour chief speaks up for errant cabbies'. Print Edition | Subscribe