New NMP appointments

The new Nominated MP appointments are out:

  1. Mr Calvin Cheng Ern Lee, entrepreneur
  2. Mr Terry Lee Kok Hua, president, Singapore Insurance Employees’ Union
  3. Mrs Mildred Tan-Sim Beng Mei, managing director, Ernst and Young
  4. Assoc Prof Paulin Tay Straughan, NUS sociologist
  5. Mr Teo Siong Seng, chairman, Singapore Maritime Foundation
  6. Mr Viswaroopan s/o Sadasivan, CEO, Strategic Moves
  7. Mr Laurence Wee Yoke Thong, executive director, Presbyterian Community Services
  8. Ms Audrey Wong Wai Yen, artistic co-director, The Substation
  9. Ms Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling, former national swimmer

I’m glad that Mr Viswa Sadasivan was selected, my opposition to the NMP scheme notwithstanding. Viswa is a very insightful and frank political commentator, although he has not be quoted in the press much the last few years. I attended a very enlightening off-the-cuff talk by him last year, where he commented that there is a “crisis of leadership” in our nation. I blogged about it on TOC (with his permission). If he doesn’t pull his punches, and speaks what he really thinks, I think he will make a good contribution to the discourse in Parliament.

I’ve read A/P Paulin Straughan’s views in the media several times, and she comes across as an expert in her field of sociology, balanced and independent. I look forward to hearing her perspectives in Parliament.

As for the others, I have yet to hear or read any of their views or arguments on public matters. I hope that the Select Committee chose them for what they can contribute to the Parliamentary debates, rather than who they are.

Conspicuously missing from the list is Mr Siew Kum Hong. Many would assume his term was not renewed because of his involvement in the Aware saga. But more disconcerting than that, would be if he was booted out because of his very well-articulated speeches against government proposals like the Public Order Act, the Films Act and the Jobs Credit Scheme. This would really be a shame on the PAP-dominated Select Committee. But on the other hand, it will prove that the NMP scheme subject to political manipulation to serve the interests of the ruling party.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

7 thoughts on “New NMP appointments”

  1. Gerald thanks for highlighting this but I’m afraid your response is typical of the general lack of will to promote democracy. You say, ” my opposition to the NMP scheme notwithstanding…….” It’s not opposition to the NMP scheme if you only oppose those candidtes you don’t approve of being appointed. I opposed the scheme on principle and I made it clear that this was opposition to the scheme not to the individuals and that not withstanding the excellent work done by some NMP’s… None of them should be in parliament. You further weaken your opposition to the scheme by adding “…I think he will make a good contribution to the discourse in Parliament.” Parliament isn’t about discourse. Speaker’s corner, blogs, forums, conventions, meetings are for discourse.

  2. Hi Kenneth,

    Thanks for reading my blog and your comment.

    I think you have slightly misunderstood what I intended to convey.

    Firstly, I would just like to state that I am fully committed to promoting democracy in Singapore. Not only have I pledged it (and meant it) all my life, but I have expressed it through my writings on my blog and my other political activism. I don’t think I need to further prove my will to promote democracy.

    Do read my post on why I oppose the NMP scheme (linked from this post). That will give you a clearer idea of why I oppose it. My opposition to it is not based on any NMP personalities. It is against the SCHEME itself.

    Having said that, the reality now is that the NMP scheme is here, and will soon be here to stay. I similarly oppose the GRC scheme, but it doesn’t mean that I will reject any candidate who contests a GRC.

    My comments about Viswa were based on my observations and personal interactions with him. If he is true to himself in Parliament, I think we could hear lots of intelligent criticisms of the PAP’s way of doing things. I think it’s better to have him, than to have some PAP-lookalike cheerleading the govt like some of the previous batch of NMPs (fortunately one of those cheerleaders didn’t make the cut).

    Having said that, I acknowledge that my choice of words “good contribution to the discourse in Parliament” may have given the wrong impression regarding what I feel is the role of MPs in Parliament. I will be more careful with my words in future. For the record, I agree that Parliament isn’t just about discourse. The role of the MP is primarily to propose, debate, shape and vote on legislation, and to hold the executive to account. Everything else is secondary.

  3. Case of the “watchdog” being too efficient that even the “owner” has to replace it with a “tamer” one?

    Sorry if my analogy offends some but this is what is happening IMHO :(

  4. Hi Gerald,

    Thanks for clarifying KJ’s comments. The bigger scheme of things, if anyone notices at all, is NMP scheme puts out the fire of any capable individual, whom has a burning desire to make a difference (politically or not). If there is a backdoor entry into Parliament, why bother to stand for elections?
    This is the barrier of entry of all barrier of entries for politics in Singapore.

  5. Q1. If all opposition were branded as ‘incredible’ why are there now more pushes for internal opposing voices?

    A1. A realization that group think is very dangerous? Or to further protect the rice bowls of some by pandering to ‘populist’ demands for more opposition? Or is the ruling party and hence government of the day trying to look good in some international forum where a KPI such as ‘level of political representation’ is considered?

    Q2. If the ruling party, the PAP, were so good and right all the time and is constantly and perpetually infused with ‘talent’ why the need to even consider NMPs, much less an increased number of NCMPs to ‘oppose’ (or ‘provide a different voice’ if we were to put it in a more politically correct by wordy way) the house?

    A2. Refer to A1.

    Q3. If NMPs and NCMPs are deemed a ‘requirement’ for whatever reason known only to the ruling party who has graciously decided to accomodate more ‘opposition’ instead of ‘fixing’ them why is there such a disparity in their allowances? About 15k a month for MPs and under 2k a month for NMPs and NCMPs?

    A3. Refer to A1.

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