Melvin Yong and Desmond Choo to move up as NTUC assistant secretaries-general

NTUC directors Desmond Choo (left) and Melvin Yong will be appointed assistant secretaries-general with effect from April 1, 2018.
NTUC directors Desmond Choo (left) and Melvin Yong will be appointed assistant secretaries-general with effect from April 1, 2018.PHOTOS: BERITA HARIAN, LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Two labour MPs will be promoted on April 1 to higher leadership roles in the labour movement.

The National Trades Union Congress Central Committee has endorsed the appointment of Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, 46, and Mr Desmond Choo Pey Ching, 40, as assistant secretaries-general, announced labour chief Chan Chun Sing in a statement on Friday (Feb 23).

Mr Yong is a People's Action Party MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, while Mr Choo is a PAP MP for Tampines GRC and Mayor of the North East Community Development Council.

"The new appointments are part of NTUC's ongoing staff and leadership development to groom and strengthen the NTUC leadership team. It is also to recognise their contributions to the labour movement," said Mr Chan, who is the NTUC's secretary-general.

The move brings the total number of assistant secretaries-general to five, including former Nominated MP Cham Hui Fong and PAP MPs Patrick Tay and Zainal Sapari.

Along with deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How, they assist Mr Chan in implementing the decisions of the NTUC Central Committee, the highest decision-making body in the labour movement.

Mr Yong joined NTUC in 2015. He is director for tripartism in the industrial relations department and director of the workplace safety and health secretariat.

He is also the executive secretary of the National Transport Workers' Union and the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries.

He said on Friday that he wants to strengthen the NTUC's relationship with partners such as employers and the Government.

"There is still a lot of work that we need to do to help our working people given the everchanging economic landscape and technological disruptions to businesses and jobs," he said.

Mr Choo first joined NTUC in 2010. He left the labour movement for the private sector in 2013, and rejoined NTUC in 2015.

He oversees work to help young people balance their personal and career goals, in his role as director of the Youth Development Unit in the NTUC.

As director of industry transformation and productivity, he also looks at helping workers to be more efficient and productive.

He is the executive secretary of the Union of Telecoms Employees of Singapore and Young NTUC, the labour movement's wing for working adults aged 35 and below.

"I will continue to work hard to serve our workers, especially those affected by the restructuring of our economy," he said, adding that he plans to help workers make the most of new job opportunities highlighted in the Industry Transformation Maps.

As a mayor, he also hopes to encourage more collaboration between the labour movement and corporate partners to support workers, he said.

Both Mr Yong and Mr Choo are former Singapore Police Force scholarship holders who were elected MPs at the 2015 general election. Before his election in 2015, Mr Choo fought and lost in the polls for the Hougang single-member constituency in 2011 and 2012.