Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New NMPs in the House

A brand new slate of NMPs in the House
Source: Channelnewsasia.com

SINGAPORE: It will be a slate of completely new faces in the House, all nine of them – the maximum number of Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) allowed by the Constitution. But you might recognise a few familiar names.

One surprise is former national swimmer and Olympian Joscelin Yeo, who makes the move from pool to politics; while ex-current affairs television presenter Viswa Sadasivan will simply be taking his long-time involvement on government panels to the next level.

On Monday evening, an email sent out by the Select Committee, tasked with whittling down the list of 46 applications, revealed the results of their deliberations.

Subject to President S R Nathan's formal approval, the nine picked to give voice to non-partisan, alternative views in Parliament comprise an entrepreneur, a decorated unionist, a top honcho at a Big Four accountancy firm, a vocal sociologist, a shipping industry leader, a communications consultant, a sportswoman, a community service veteran and an artistic director.

Former NMPs Mr Siew Kum Hong and Mr Gautam Banerjee, both of whom had sought second terms, were conspicuously absent from the list.

The newbies, who will be sworn in before Parliament sits on July 20, were selected after interviews held over three days last week.

The sportswoman, former national swimmer and Olympian Joscelin Yeo, said,"some of the things close to my heart are sports and youth."

The communications consultant, ex-current affairs television presenter Viswa Sadasivan, said,"I would like to form a loose resource panel of individuals with domain knowledge in specific areas like economics, social work, education, defence policies and so on ... so I'll be able to tap on their expertise which I might articulate (through) my views in Parliament."

The artistic director, The Substation co-artistic director Audrey Wong, said,"to develop a stronger education programme where we give young people insights into arts and culture, and how the arts and society are intertwined."

The decorated unionist, Terry Lee, said he would focus on workers' welfare and employability - especially with Singapore in recession.

The entrepreneur, Calvin Cheng, said,"At no time is having a strong, unique and proud cultural identity more important than right now, when we throw open our doors to the world."

The vocal sociologist, National University of Singapore sociologist Paulin Straughan, said,"As more Singaporeans marry foreigners and grow their families here, we must find an innovative way to help these children maintain their bi-cultural identity."

TODAY was unable to contact the top honcho at a Big Four accountancy firm, Ernst & Young Associates managing director Mildred Tan; the shipping industry leader, Teo Siong Seng; and the community service veteran, executive director of Presbyterian Community Services Laurence Wee.

Let's hope that these NMPs could really contribute, especially by putting on table topics that the government kept aloof from. And hope that they will not be as crass as some MPs hiding behind GRCs.

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