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Two MPs take on serving residents full-time in their constituencies

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Chen Show Mao – MP for Aljunied GRC 

“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to retire from active practice as a partner of the Davis Polk law firm with effect from July. It is quite clear to me that given my new responsibilities as MP I will not be able to continue practicing law the way I have in the last twenty years. Law is in my blood and no doubt it will be part of my life. Meanwhile, my retirement from the partnership will afford me more time for my family, to serve constituency and country, and to explore alternative work arrangements.

I wish to thank my partners for what I received over the years: their best efforts to aid my professional success and advancement, and the opportunity to use my best faculties to our common benefit. The same goes to our colleagues and clients. I have had many good years with the firm and leave with fond memories and many friendships.

On this new journey for Singapore, to everyone who has in some way extended to me encouragement, support and hope, you have my gratitude for reaffirmation. In many ways, this is as much our journey as it is my journey: let us forge our way forward for a better Singapore for all Singaporeans.

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向 前

我将在七月从达维退任。于我而言,这是一个非常艰难的决定。法律是我生命中的一部分,无疑,也将继续在我人生中占有重要的分量。但考虑到作为国会议员所需要履行的职责,我深知自己无法再以过往二十年同樣方式继续从事法律事业。从律師事務所合伙人的位置上退下来,我将可以有更多的时间陪伴家人以及服务选民和国家,也有机会探索其他不一样的职业选择。

感谢这些年来在我职业道路上所有尽其所能助我一臂之力的达维合伙人,也谢谢他们让我有机会为大家的共同事业贡献自己最大的力量。同样的感谢我也想送给所有的同事和客户。在达维,我度过了太多美好的时光,所有回忆和友谊将常存于心。

我还要再次真挚地感激所有在我踏上这段新旅程的努力中给予鼓励、支持和希望的人们。
我深信我所开始的这段旅程也是我们大家共同的旅程 — 让我们为所有的新加坡人民,为一个更好的新加坡,一起向前!” (source: http://bit.ly/29nMvG3)

Mr Chen was a partner in the Corporate department of the international law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell and a managing partner of its Beijing office.

Mr Murali Pillai – MP for Bukit Batok SMC

“Many of the partners that we’ve identified who are still working with Bukit Batok residents are partners who have served us for a number of years. I still recall Dr Ong bringing in Feiyue Family Service Centre, Concern and Care, St Luke’s Hospital, and Promiseland. And these are partners brought in by Dr Ong to serve Bukit Batok’s needs, and it is this team approach that is needed to address the needs of Bukit Batok.

So if anyone has a notion that a single person working full-time, as an elected representative, would be able to address the needs of our Bukit Batok residents, I’m afraid he may have to reassess the situation. That does not accord with my own experience, having spent 16 years here, under particularly the late Ong Chit Chung, and after he passed away, under the stewardship of the other MPs of Jurong GRC.

Dr Chee has mentioned, I’m told, that it is not humanly possible to have a day job and then attend to the needs of Bukit Batok residents. I’m afraid my experience is different. MPs have been doing this day in and day out. They take care of the residents’ needs, as and when it arises – it can even be in the daytime – they will prioritise the residents’ needs ahead of their own. They, of course, have MPS, but more than the Meet the People’s Sessions, they have regular house visits, regular market visits, they visit the coffeeshops, this is part and parcel of what they do, day in, day out. And this is part and parcel of what I’ve been doing for a number of years, because I was the branch chairman of the Paya Lebar branch for four years, and this is what I was doing. And in Bukit Batok, after the late Dr Ong Chit Chung passed away in 2008, this was what I was doing – helping to take care of the residents’ interests.

There are a number of occasions where meet residents in Bukit Batok where they have more than one job, they have two jobs, occasionally they may even have three jobs. Many of these situations are driven by need and we must help these people where we can, through our social programmes. But if you were to ask them, are you able to cope, would you be able cope with the demands, I don’t think you’ll get a different answer. They say ‘Yes we will do it, we can do it, because we are driven by issues of need, we are driven by being passionate about service.’ So these are the kind of responses that you’d get. So I’m driven by the passion to serve our Bukit Batok residents. That is why, I want to today unequivocally say that I would also put Bukit Batok residents’ needs above my own. If there is a situation where Bukit Batok residents’ needs would compete with my own, I would always put Bukit Batok residents’ needs above mine. And this is shaped by my values of putting community above self – this is what my late father, a trade unionist, taught me and I have been abiding by it.” (source: http://bit.ly/29bU1nO)

Mr Pillai is a partner of the local law Rajah & Tann’s Commercial Litigation Practice.

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