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Five new faces among next batch of NMPs

SINGAPORE – Out of a list of 41 proposed names, nine people have been selected to fill the Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) positions.

Five new faces among next batch of NMPs

Members of Parliament rise as President Tony Tan enters at the Opening of the 13th Parliament of Singapore on Jan 15, 2016. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The names of the next slate of Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) were announced on Thursday (March 17), with almost half of the previous batch set to be re-appointed.

Entering the House soon as first-term NMPs are Mr Azmoon Ahmad, managing director of Desay SV Automotive Singapore; Mr Ganesh Rajaram, Fremantlemedia International’s executive vice-president (Asia); Mr Kok Heng Leun, theatre company Drama Box’s artistic director; Assistant Professor Mahdev Mohan from Singapore Management University; and Healthcare Services Employees’ Union president K Thanaletchimi.

The four NMPs to be appointed for a second term are lawyer Chia Yong Yong; The Thought Collective co-founder Kuik Shiao-Yin; Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Thomas Chua; and SIM University’s Associate Professor Randolph Tan.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam will formally appoint the NMPs at the Istana on Tuesday and they will take their oath at the next Parliament sitting next Thursday.

Ms Thanaletchimi, 50, a veteran unionist, said she was looking forward to the opportunity to be the voice of workers here. The senior assistant manager at the National University Hospital also said that the upcoming appointment would give her the chance to “speak with more legitimacy about workers’ issues on a different platform”.

Mr Rajaram, 49, said the news came as “quite a shock” to him, but he was humbled by the faith vested in him by the media fraternity, which put him up for appointment. He said he hopes to take up the issue of how media companies here may ride on the wave of the digital age and flourish. He would also like to delve into how local content — be it online or otherwise — can stay relevant.

Ms Kuik, who served her first term as NMP from 2014 to 2015, said she was glad to have the chance to serve another term. “I don’t take it lightly that they (are appointing) me a second time. I would hope that I can do even better than in my first term,” the 39-year-old told TODAY.

In assessing the candidates’ suitability for the posts, the eight-member Special Select Committee was guided by criteria which state that the NMPs must, among other things, be persons who have rendered “distinguished public service” or have “distinguished themselves” in their respective fields, such as business and the labour

The committee also considered whether the proposed candidates understood the current issues and challenges facing the country and were able to make effective contributions to parliamentary debates.

Ms Grace Fu, a committee member and Leader of the House, said: “Besides their individual qualities, the candidates were selected bearing in mind the issues that we will discuss in this Parliament session — including economic transformation and skills training framework, development of media and art sectors, changes to the Constitution and building a caring and resilient society.”

In its final deliberations, the committee also considered whether to make public the names of all the candidates proposed, but decided to still maintain confidentiality since many had not revealed their names publicly. “Revealing the names of unsuccessful candidates may give rise to speculation and public debate on their suitability. This may deter potential good applicants from participating in the nomination process in the future,” the committee said in its report on the nominations.

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