The submission process for Nominated Members of Parliament (NMP) is now open as the public is invited to submit the names of people they would like to see appointed to Parliament by 23 November to the Special Select Committee of Parliament.
The eight-member committee is chaired by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and comprises of Mr Chan Chun Sing, Mr Gan Kim Yong, Ms Gan Siow Huang, Ms Indranee Rajah, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Mr Leon Perera, and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.
In a press statement, the Office of the Clerk of Parliament noted that a person is qualified for appointment as an NMP if the person:
- is a citizen of Singapore;
- is of the age of 21 years or above on the day of nomination;
- whose name appears in a current register of electors;
- is resident in Singapore at the date of his/her nomination and has been so resident for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than 10 years prior to that date;
- is able, with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him/her to take an active part in the proceedings of Parliament, to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read and write at least one of the following languages, that is to say, English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil; and
- is not disqualified from being a Member of Parliament under Article 45 of the Constitution.
The speaker will also consult representatives of seven ‘functional groups’ to seek the views of their constituent organisations and receive submissions for suitable candidates from them for consideration.
The coordinators of these seven functional groups are:
- Business and industry: Mr Lim Ming Yan, Chairman of Singapore Business Federation
- Labour: Mary Liew, President of National Trades Union Congress
- Profession: Dr Teo Eng Kion, Master of the Academy of Medicine
- Social Services Organisations: Ms Tan Li San, CEO of National Council of Social Services
- Civil and People Sector: Mr Lim Hock Yu, Chief Executive Director of People’s Association
- Tertiary Education Institutions: Prof Tan Eng Chye, President of National University of Singapore
- Media, Arts & Sports Organisations: Ms Goh Swee Chen, Chairman of National Arts Council
Organisations that want to nominate a person to be NMP can submit their nominations to their respective coordinators.
The nomination is not limited to organisations, however. The statement noted, “The invitation for submission of names to the Special Select Committee is open to the general public. A person not selected by a Functional Group may be nominated by another proposer. The Special Select Committee will consider all applications.”
When nominating a person, the public is reminded that they are also required to be people “who have rendered distinguished public service, or who have brought honour to the Republic, or who have distinguished themselves in the field of arts, letters, culture, the sciences, business, industry, the professions, social or community service or the labour movement.”
Alternatively, forms and relevant documents can be submitted to the Office of the Clerk of Parliament at the Parliament House.
The process of selection
After the closing date of submission, the Committee will consult elected MPs to seek their views on the proposed candidates. The Committee will then consider all the applications and the comments from MPs, guided by the criteria outlined in 3(2) of the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution.
This includes the criteria mentioned above of people who have rendered distinguished public service et cetera. They also have to be “able to reflect as wide a range of independent and non-partisan views as possible.”
The Committee will interview the candidates before discussing and agreeing on the list of people to be nominated for appointed by the President to be NMPs. After presenting the list to the President, they will be appointed before taking the Oath of Allegiance in Parliament.
The NMP scheme was introduced back in 1990 as a means of allowing the appointment of non-elected MP to provide alternative nonpartisan views in Parliament.
According to the amendment of the constitution in 1997, there can be between six to nine NMPs in Parliament at one time. The amendment in 2002 extended the NMP term of service to two-and-a-half years.