~ by Jack Sim ~

Photo credit: keropokman.blogspot.sg
9 Singaporeans have been appointed Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) by the government this year, and it turns out that the successful applicants are rather good quality representing a very balanced coverage of the different facets of society.

They are Faizah Haji Ahmad Jamal, Nicholas Fang, Janice Koh, Laurence Lien, Mary Liew, R Dhinakaran, Eugene Tan, Tan Su Shan and Teo Siong Seng.

There were a total of 50 proposal forms were received. 

The committee considered 47 candidates, as 3 forms were invalid, in its assessment of suitable candidates for appointments as NMPs. 

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Leader of the House and member of the Committee added that they had many high quality candidates from which to choose 9 NMPs.

The question now is who are the other 41 candidates? For the sake of transparency, this information should be made public.

As one of the applicants, I wrote to the Parliamentary Clerk department requesting for the names list. Their reply was that the proceedings are confidential and protected by parliamentary privilege, therefore they were unable to release the information requested. 

If the list was fully confidential, then why were the names of Janice Koh, Eugene Tan, Laurence Lien and Bernise Ang revealed to the press earlier?

It is important to have the names published to prove that there is no shortage of talented Singaporeans willing to offer their service to country, even if they are not part of any political party.

The crux of the problem is both ruling party and the opposition parties are finding it very difficult to attract quality candidates.

Is our political environment too stifling or are there any other reasons?

How can we relax our political environment so that more talented people can step up to serve?

Mr Lee Kuan Yew has lamented before that there are not enough talented people willing to come forward to serve. Has situation improved now?

If the list is released, the public will be able to see the quality of the candidates and draw some conclusions for themselves.

Jack Sim is the founder of the World Toilet Organization. Jack was one of the 50 names put up for Nominated Member of Parliament and is an Ashoka Fellow.