Lim Swee Say

Workers' champion known for light-hearted approach

Mr Lim Swee Say serving food to cleaners at an event organised by NTUC in June 2013 to show appreciation for them. The 63-year-old is retiring as Manpower Minister after a 21-year career in politics.
Mr Lim Swee Say serving food to cleaners at an event organised by NTUC in June 2013 to show appreciation for them. The 63-year-old is retiring as Manpower Minister after a 21-year career in politics.LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE PHOTO
With Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He was first elected to a GRC led by Mr Lee in 1996.
With Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He was first elected to a GRC led by Mr Lee in 1996. ST FILE PHOTO

There were no such words as "betterer", "betterest" or "futurise" in local politics, until former labour chief Lim Swee Say came along.

The veteran minister also coined snappy slogans such as "cheaper, better, faster" and "upturn the downturn" in his speeches, sometimes drawing ridicule and criticism.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2018, with the headline 'Workers' champion known for light-hearted approach'. Print Edition | Subscribe