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Swee Say wins poll by landslide
Keith Lin
Wed, Oct 31, 2007
MR Lim Swee Say received resounding support on Wednesday in his first election as NTUC secretary-general, garnering 360 out of 373 votes cast.

This was the highest number of votes polled by the 23 candidates vying for 21 seats in the labour movement's central committee.

The elections, held once every four years, were conducted at the end of the three-day NTUC's National Delegates Conference on Wednesday. It was attended by 1,000 unionists and guests.

Once the results were announced, the 21 top scorers went into a huddle to decide on appointments in the central committee.

Labour MP Halimah Yacob, 53, received a promotion. Formerly an assistant secretary-general, she moved up to become one of two deputy secretary-generals. The other deputy is Mr Heng Chee How.

Six new faces also took seats in the NTUC's top policy making body, with women upping their number from three previously to four.

The newcomer was labour MP Josephine Teo, 39. Her colleagues voted her in as one of two assistant secretary-generals, while unionist Nora Kang, 52, became the NTUC's first woman vice-president. The other assistant secretary-general is Mr Seng Han Thong.

'It means women will have a louder and more prominent voice,' Ms Kang said, of the female presence in the committee.

A visibly-pleased Mr Lim, 53, described the committee - which has people in their 30s, 40s and 50s - as having a 'good mix of youth and experience'.

He said he was heartened by how unionists had responded to his call for the NTUC's leadership to reflect the diversity of Singapore workers.

He added: 'And as a result today we now have the new central committee which is as inclusive as you can get.'

Mr Mohd Isa Sudin, 47, second vice-president of the National Transport Workers' Union said Mr Lim's high score was evidence of the 'confidence' unionists had in him.

He added: 'The way (he) talks, he uses 'pasar' (Malay for market) language and he can really connect with the ground.'

Among the new faces was Union of Security Employees president N.Silva. The security guard-turned-supervisor, who earns about $1,100 a month, said he used to earn $400 a month, and plans to champion issues relating to low-wage workers.
 

 
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