Singapore—A special committee in Parliament, headed by Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, will review the candidates for Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP). Eight individuals submitted their applications by the deadline at 4.30pm on Monday (Nov 23).

The committee will interview the candidates and come up with the final list of nominees. They will then present the list as a recommendation to President Halimah Yacob, who will appoint the NMPs.

There can be as many as nine NMPs in Parliament. Nominees are sought from the following sectors: business and industry; the professions; the labour movement; social service organisations; civic and people sector; tertiary education institutions; and media, arts and sports organisations. The public may also submit candidates for nomination.

The scheme, introduced in Singapore in 1990, was put in place to ensure that there would be broad representation in the country’s highest legislative body.

Two of the NMPs from the last Parliament session are once again bidding for the position— Anthea Ong, a social entrepreneur, and Terence Ho, the executive director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

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Last week, candidates for NMP were announced by two groups.

On Thursday (Nov 19), SG Green Groups Town Hall, a group of environmental activists who say they “hope to see more representation of environmental advocates in the Singapore Parliament” announced their nominee, Dr Andie Ang, a primate researcher who wants to “participate in the decision-making process so as to push for positive changes”.

And on Friday (Nov 20), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) announced that it had chosen vice-president Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, a union leader since 2006, as a candidate for NMP. Mr Samad, 48, is the general secretary of the Union of Power and Gas Employees.

The straitstimes.com (ST) reports that four other candidates for NMP have been named, namely: Ms Audrey Lim, an actress and event host; Ms Nabilah Said, a playwright and poet; Mr Terence Tan, a community artist and Mr Johann Annuar, the executive director of Engineering Good, a non-profit organisation.

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Ms Lim, Ms Nabilah and Mr Tan, along with former NMP Mr Ho, seek to represent the arts sector.

ST also quoted the chief executive of Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Mr Ho Meng Kit, as saying that the group has also handed in their candidates for the business and industry sector.

“They are all excellent candidates who will be able to represent the business community,” he said. The names of the candidates have not yet been disclosed.

Ms Ong said she did not expect that she would be reappointed to the position, ad she “raised issues and questions that are not always the most comfortable for the Government in my first term.”

But a meeting with youth activists and volunteers convinced her to seek another term. “I felt that I should honour the process, if people were coming forward to endorse me.”

Her fellow former NMP Walter Theseira, an Associate Professor of Economics from the Singapore University of Social Sciences, has not said whether he will seek the position again, ST reports.

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“Parliament doesn’t release information about prospective candidates unless they are actually nominated. I have come to agree that this can be useful in encouraging people to put their name forward for consideration, although it may run counter to expectations for transparency. I prefer to follow the current process by not commenting,” he said.

Three other former NMPs—Lim Sun Sun, a professor of communication and technology, Yip Pin Xiu, a Paralympian swimmer, and Irene Quay, a pharmacist, have said they will not seek a second term. —/TISG

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