Ong Teng Cheong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In January 1986, Ong sanctioned a strike in the shipping industry, the first for about a decade in Singapore, believing it necessary as "[the] management were taking advantage of the workers". However, he did not inform the Cabinet beforehand, out of fear that the Cabinet would prevent him from going ahead with the strike. Ong recalled in a 2000 interview in Asiaweek: "Some of them were angry with me about that...the minister for trade and industry was very angry, his officers were upset. They had calls from America, asking what happened to Singapore?"  Tony Tan, the minister for trade and industry, vigorously opposed Ong Teng Cheong's decision to sanction the strike, being concerned with investors' reactions to a perceived deterioration of labour relations or an impact on foreign direct investment needed for jobs creation. Ong Teng Cheong viewed the strike as a success: "I had the job to do..[the strike] only lasted two days. All the issues were settled. It showed the management was just trying to pull a fast one." According to Barr, Ong justified his commitment "in Confucian terms" in a "notion akin to noblesse oblige".