Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat, Perm Sec Aubeck Kam to receive May Day honours

Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs Chee Hong Tat (left) and Permanent Secretary for Manpower Aubeck Kam. PHOTO: ST FILE, MDA

SINGAPORE - Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs Chee Hong Tat and Permanent Secretary for Manpower Aubeck Kam will receive the Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest accolades in this year's May Day Awards.

Mr Chee has been a strong advocate for the protection of healthcare and public transport workers against abuse, while Mr Kam has made significant contributions towards improving the wages and work prospects of workers.

The Distinguished Service Award is conferred by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on those who are still active and continue to make significant contributions for three years or more after receiving the Meritorious Service award.

Mr Chee and Mr Kam are among the 143 individuals and organisations who will receive awards next Wednesday (April 28).

Other recipients include union leaders, government officials and firms advancing workers' interests amid an uncertain economic outlook brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as workers who are role models at their workplaces.

The recipient of the Medal of Honour - the top May Day accolade - will be unveiled at the event. It is given to individuals who have rendered distinguished service to the labour movement.

The ceremony will be held over two sessions - at Downtown East as well as online on Zoom. Last year, the physical ceremony was cancelled owing to tightened Covid-19 measures, but awardees were still recognised for their contributions.

Mr Chee told The Straits Times that he looks forward to "continue working closely with brothers and sisters in the labour movement to improve the lives of our workers".

He has been closely involved in advising the Union of Power and Gas Employees (Upage) and Healthcare Services Employees' Union (HSEU).

Over the years, Mr Chee has worked with HSEU leaders to ensure that the well-being of healthcare workers are taken care of, especially those in the front line in the fight against Covid-19.

He has also lent his support for Upage in the areas of skills upgrading and re-employment of older employees, said a citation for his award.

Mr Chee said the tripartite partnership has been "a source of pride and competitive advantage" for Singapore.

"Because our tripartite partners trust one another, we are able to create a pro-business, pro-worker environment which is trusted by overseas investors and customers," he added.

"This is important when the seas are calm, but it is even more critical when we are sailing in rough waters to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and to build back stronger after the crisis."

Mr Kam has played a vital role in formulating and implementing timely advisories and schemes on safe management measures for workplaces, manpower management and foreign worker dormitory needs since the coronavirus outbreak, said his citation. This has ensured that workplaces remain safe and businesses can continue to operate amid the pandemic.

He has also been involved in major tripartite efforts such as the enhancements to the progressive wage model and raising of the retirement and re-employment ages to ensure continued employability.

Mr Kam credited his colleagues at the Manpower Ministry for the award.

He told ST: "They work tirelessly with the unions and employers to advance the interest of workers and businesses, and contribute to the success of Singapore."

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