NOTE SENT TO NTUC PRESIDENT JOHN DE PAYVA
I write to you as your union member.
You disclosed recently that you invited one of the presidential candidates to speak to fellow union members. The NTUC has always supported values of fair treatment and equal opportunities. It is therefore unfortunate that it has not invited others in similar situations to do the same.
I must also protest your expression of personal views on your preferred presidential candidate. It has never been in the tradition of trade union leadership in Singapore to have one's personal political views expressed in the face of a high likelihood of the NTUC making known its preference.
It is for this reason union leaders must be publicly supportive of the People's Action Party, even though personally they may hold a different view. Anyone who has dared express such a divergent personal view publicly has been swiftly removed from his position as a union leader.
In expressing your personal views, you may have prejudiced the process by which the NTUC
goes about deciding its preferred presidential candidate. In the interest of good governance, you may wish to now detach yourself from such a process.
You have also disturbed that fragile balance that exists between the public and private views of a union leader. You may have set the wrong precedent for union leaders to follow. It is not surprising that other union members have started to follow your example, and are expressing their own personal views on this issue.
Your exemplary act thus frees me to register my disagreement with your choice of presidential candidate. If your criteria is that you "want a person who has got that kind of stature and that kind of exposure, who understands the fundamental role of the President", there are many others within the NTUC, including yourself, who can meet your criteria.
With respect, a unionist does not need to support a person, who cut his links with the NTUC more than a decade ago.
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