9 nominated to be NMPs, including paralympian and Sakae Holdings chairman

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Photo: Sports Singapore/Sakae Holdings

Paralympian swimmer Ms Yip Pin Xiu and Sakae Holdings executive chairman Mr Foo Peow Yong Douglas are among the nine individuals who have been nominated to be appointed as Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs).

If approved, President Halimah Yacob will officially appoint the nominees to their new post at the Istana on Sept 26.

NMPs can participate in debates in Parliament and vote on all issues except amendments to the Constitution, motions relating to public funds, votes of no confidence in the Government, and removing the President from office.

Besides Sakae’s Mr Foo and gold medallist Ms Yip – who won Singapore’s first gold medal in the 50m backstroke a decade ago at the Beijing Paralympic Games in a world record time, before getting a better record at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games – the seven nominees for the NMP posts are:

  • Mr Arasu Duraisamy – Singapore Port Workers Union general secretary and elected member of the labour movement’s Central Committee.
  • Mr Ho Wee San – The Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s managing director
  • Professor Lim Sun Sun –  Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Head of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and Media Literacy Council member.
  • Mr Abbas Ali Mohamed Irshad – Founder and director of non-profit Roses of Peace (ROP) that aims to promote inter-faith understanding and dialogue.
  • Ms Ong Lay Theng Anthea – Social entrepreneur and founder/CEO of corporate social responsibility consultancy, Anagami.
  • Ms Quay Siew Ching Irene – Certified pharmacist, Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore president and assistant director in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s Allied Health Office.
  • Associate Professor Walter Edgar Theseira – Transport economist at the Singapore University of Social Sciences and Ministry of Social and Family Development’s research advisory panel member.

NMPs are appointed for a term of two and a half years on the recommendation of a Special Select Committee chaired by the Speaker of Parliament – presently ruling party MP Tan Chuan Jin. The Committee may nominate persons who have rendered distinguished public service or who have brought honour to Singapore.

In the past, the committee has invited proposals of candidates from community groups in the fields of arts and letters, culture, the sciences, business, industry, the professions, social or community service, and the labour movement.

In 2009, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong proposed in Parliament that the Committee should also invite nominations from the civil society such as grassroots leaders, young activists, and even new citizens so that NMPs can reflect as wide a range of independent and nonpartisan views as possible.

The NMP scheme, however, has been criticized on the grounds that it is undemocratic, and that unelected NMPs have no incentive to express the electorate’s views in Parliament.