NMP scheme sparks less controversy than before

NMP scheme sparks less controversy than before

Interest in Nominated Members of Parliament remains strong, with stories about the line-up of nine new NMPs announced last week, and outgoing NMPs among the most popular on The Straits Times' Singapolitics website in the same week.

But the scheme no longer seems to court as much controversy as before, with few criticisms from netizens.

Among those who were still against it, though, was straitstimes.com reader Bruce Teo.

Echoing the sentiment of critics, who say NMPs are no longer relevant with more opposition politicians in Parliament now, he said the scheme was a "waste of time and money".

"Now we have opposition party in Parliament, why do we need NMPs?" he said.

But another reader, Ms Chelsea Sim, did not agree. She said opposition MPs had not packed a "punch", adding that "NMPs represent the under-represented, like arts groups, youth at risk, or (the) disabled in society".

This was a view shared by some of those lamenting the lack of an arts NMP in the new line-up, after theatre veteran Kok Heng Leun failed to be selected for the post.

Some of these commentators wondered if the arts community would be left without a voice in Parliament.

But weighing in in a Facebook comment, observer Matt Lee said: "Every 2 1/2 years some interest group is destined to be disappointed. Funny system."

Some readers of straitstimes. com cheered the selection of the new batch of nine NMPs, with Ms Teo Lay Yan commenting: "Congrats! The voices of the under-represented in society finally make it to Parliament."

The new line-up of NMPs, who will be appointed on Aug 26 by the President, includes corporate lawyer Chia Yong Yong, 52, the first wheelchair user to have a seat in Parliament. She is the president of SPD, formerly known as the Society for the Physically Disabled.

Last week, a Supper Club interview of an outgoing NMP, law professor Eugene Tan, also drew eyeballs on Singapolitics.

He spoke about his 21/2-year NMP term and defended the system, saying that "non-partisan voices can play a part in offering alternative perspectives".

Other stories that generated interest last week included those about Mr Lee Hsien Loong's 10 years as prime minister and Mr Lee Kuan Yew's two public appearances, at the National Day Parade and the Tanjong Pagar National Day dinner.

A story about MP Teo Ser Luck's selfie with Mr Lee, taken at the parade at Marina Bay, drew comments from netizens such as Ms Pang Maymay, who said: "Thank you Mr Lee, without you there's no Singapore and a place we call home."

Another photograph of Mr Lee at the Tanjong Pagar National Day dinner had Mr Joseph Phua saying: "Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew for all that you have done for Singapore. Wishing you the best of health!"

This article was first published on August 17, 2014.
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