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Maryam Mokhtar and Rachel Au-yong
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Singapore

SMU law don will seek second term as NMP

The Straits Times | Maryam Mokhtar and Rachel Au-yong | Thursday, May 1, 2014

NMP Associate Professor Eugene Tan (above) is the first to confirm that he will seek a second term in the House.

Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan is the first among nine Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) to confirm he will seek a second term in the House.

Associate Professor Tan said he believes he can still have an impact as a non-partisan contributor.

NMPs, he said, have a vital role to play "in a more competitive political landscape and a more partisan House".

He has also received support to do so from MPs and colleagues at the local universities.

As for green advocate Faizah Jamal and DBS wealth management head Tan Su Shan, The Straits Times understands that they will step down when their two-and-a-half-year term ends in August.

That means six of the nine current NMPs will not seek extensions. Five of the six are "first-termers": National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre chief executive Laurence Lien, actress Janice Koh, unionist Mary Liew, Ms Faizah and Ms Tan.

The only NMP who is serving his second term in the House is Mr Teo Siong Seng, immediate past president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In the first 15 years of the NMP scheme, which was launched in 1990, most went on to serve an additional term or two. In the last decade, however, the vast majority have served just one term.

Of the nine current NMPs, two are undecided on whether to seek a second term. They are businessman R. Dhinakaran and Singapore Institute of International Affairs executive director Nicholas Fang.

They have until May 20 to decide, when nominations close at 4.30pm.

Parliament has invited the public to submit names, and Speaker Halimah Yacob will meet representatives of seven groups to inform them of the procedures required to submit their nominations. The seven are business and industry; the professions; the labour movement; social service organisations; civic and the people sector; tertiary institutions; and media, arts and sports organisations.

As the nomination deadline looms, the search for new faces has begun.

The arts community will hold a town hall meeting on May 10 to introduce potential nominees to the arts community, the Arts NMP nomination secretariat said in a press release last week.

Ms Faizah, who was nominated by the Nature Society, said she hopes representatives from "non-mainstream" fields such as mental health will also step forward to represent the civic sector.

Meanwhile, Mr Fang said he was undecided and that he "still (has) a fair bit of time" before the May 20 deadline for nominations.

The Fencing Singapore president is glad to have been part of the sports discussion in Parliament so far. He said: "The upcoming Sports Hub, the SEA Games and a continued push for the Olympics - these are the things I'm pleased about and have believed in."

maryamm@sph.com.sg

rachelay@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 29 in The Straits Times.

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