Former national swimmer Mark Chay Jung Jun and NTUC vice-president Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab are among nine individuals who made the cut as Singapore’s new Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs), it was reported on Friday (15 January).

Mr Chay, a multiple gold medallist and a record holder at the Southeast Asian Games, represented Singapore in the Olympics Games in 2000 and 2004.

He now trains para-athletes on a national level as a swimming coach at the Singapore Disability Sports Council and serves as chairman of the Singapore National Olympic Council Athlete’s Commission.

Mr Abdul Samad, 48, is also a principal technical officer of utilities firm SP Group.

Mr Chay told TODAY that he aims to touch on how changes in society can be brought on by sports and how it can inspire Singaporean youths to build a more resilient nation.

He would also like to address some issues in sports such as game addiction, eye health and betting, frequently seen in e-sports.

Mr Abdul Samad in a statement said that he is keen on relaying the concerns and aspirations of workers and their families as COVID-19 continues to ravage the economy and affect the lives and livelihoods of many people, in addition to helping workers obtain better wages, welfare and work prospects.

The other NMPs who have just been appointed are:

  • Conservation scientist Koh Lian Pin, 44, who leads the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions at the National University of Singapore (NUS);
  • Event ticketing firm Sistic chair, Janet Ang Guat Har, 61;
  • GuocoLand Limited group managing director Cheng Hsing Yao, 48;
  • Singapore Management University (SMU) economics professor Hoon Hian Teck, 61;
  • Tang Thomas LLC law firm partner, Raj Joshua Thomas, 41, who is also president of the Security Association of Singapore;
  • Shahira Abdullah, 33, associate consultant with the dental surgery team in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital; and
  • Thomson Breast Centre clinical director Tan Yia Swam, 40, who is also president of the Singapore Medical Association.

Mr Chay and Mr Abdul Samad, alongside the seven other new NMPs, were chosen by a special committee of eight MPs after a shortlisting process and an interview. The committee agreed on the final nominees and recommended them to President Halimah Yacob.

Prior to that, the selection of the non-partisan NMPs was kicked off with members of the public and seven functional groups — comprising sectors ranging from business and labour to sports and the arts — being invited to submit the names of potential NMPs.

This process took place from 26 October to 23 November last year, according to the Office of the Clerk of Parliament in a statement today.

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah, one of the members of the committee, said that the NMPs are a “good slate” of individuals whose specialised knowledge “will add to the depth and breath of the debates in Parliament”.

“I look forward to the fresh perspectives and ideas the new NMPs will bring to Parliament as we work to help Singapore navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge stronger,” she said.

Other MPs on the committee are Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Maliki Osman, Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang, and Workers’ Party Aljunied GRC MP Leon Perera.

None of the newly appointed NMPs are returnees from previous cohorts. The previous batch saw labour economist Walter Theseira, paralympic swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, social entrepreneur Anthea Ong and Singapore Chinese Orchestra’s executive director Terence Ho Wee San.

Dr Theseira and Mr Yip stepped down during Parliament’s dissolution on 23 June last year, while Ms Ong and Mr Ho were not appointed despite putting in their names for a second term.

President Halimah will appoint the new NMPs for a two-and-a-half-years’ term, which will commence on 21 January. The new NMPs will take their oaths next month at the next Parliament sitting.

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