Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean tagged his former colleague Ng Chee Meng in a social media post about job vacancies, leading some to ask tongue-in-cheek questions like whether he is suggesting jobs for the recently unseated ex-MP.
Mr Ng, a former Chief of Defence Force with decades of military experience under his belt, was fielded as a fresh face in Mr Teo’s six-member team for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC in the 2015 general election, which took place less than a month after Mr Ng retired from the army. Mr Ng coasted to victory and was elected into Parliament.
The first-term MP was one of a rare few in Singapore’s history to be appointed as cabinet minister as soon as he joins Parliament. As part of the PAP’s fourth-generation (4G) cohort of leaders, Mr Ng was made Minister of Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport shortly after the election in 2015.
In the Government’s cabinet reshuffle in 2018, Mr Ng was appointed a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and became the Government’s labour MP after he was elected Secretary-General of Government-linked labour movement, NTUC.
Mr Ng was perceived as one of the more likeable and reliable members of the PAP’s 4G. Months before the election, he was even spotted walking the ground at Potong Pasir SMC which was wrested back by the ruling party relatively recently after being held by opposition legend Chiam See Tong for decades.
A day before nominations, on 29 June, Mr Ng was identified as the leader of the PAP team contesting the newly-carved out Sengkang GRC. In a stunning upset, Mr Ng – along with former Senior Minister of State Lam Pin Min, beloved grassroots MP Amrin Amin and fresh face Raymond Lye – lost to the Workers’ Party (WP) team.
Although he was voted out of political office and lost his ministerial position, Mr Ng and the other PAP candidates who contested the ward remain active as PAP branch chairmen in Sengkang. Mr Ng was also appointed to continue as labour chief, despite losing the July election, in a move that was contrary to the norm.
On Tuesday (20 Oct), Mr Teo published a Facebook post featuring photos of an advertisement for a job fair in Sengkang GRC. Four jobs were highlighted in the post – three listings were for security jobs while the remaining listing was for a general cleaner position.
The Senior Minister somewhat cryptically captioned the post: “22 October: Project Success – walk-in job fair at Sengkang CC. # Ng Chee Meng 黄志明”
While many understood that the minister is probably referring to Mr Ng since he may be one of the people behind the job fair – given his role as non-elected branch chairman in Sengkang GRC – some others online quipped that it was kind of Mr Teo to suggest these jobs for his recently ousted colleague.
The most-liked comment in the comments section was a remark by Facebook user Ethan Lou who said, “Minister very kind, recommending these four jobs to his ex-colleague who recently lost his seat.”
Ethan’s comment drew 17 reactions – 13 positive reactions and 4 negative ones. Some others responding to his comment asked why there weren’t any PMET jobs available for Singaporeans. Read the comments here.