New NMPs mark start of term

New NMPs mark start of term
At the Istana for the appointment ceremony yesterday were President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mary, and Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob (fifth from left). The NMPs who received their instruments of appointment were (from left) Randolph Tan, Kuik Shiao-Yin, Rita Soh, Chia Yong Yong, Thomas Chua, Ismail Hussein, K. Karthikeyan, Benedict Tan and Tan Tai Yong.

With their appointment papers in hand, nine Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) marked the start of their 2½-year parliamentary term yesterday.

They will be sworn in next month, when Parliament sits on Sept 8.

The nine received their instruments of appointment from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a simple ceremony in the Istana yesterday.

Among them was doctor and former national sailor Benedict Tan, 47, who said: "The ceremony was a reminder of the heavy responsibility that each NMP has to the nation. It is important that NMPs think and act for the collective good of Singapore."

All first-time NMPs, the nine were selected from a pool of 36 candidates by a parliamentary committee chaired by Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob.

The list includes social entrepreneur Kuik Shiao-Yin, 36, who is expecting her first child in two months; corporate lawyer Chia Yong Yong, 52, the first wheelchair user to have a seat in Parliament; and banker Ismail Hussein, 51, a director of the Association of Muslim Professionals.

The others are Board of Architects Singapore president Rita Soh, 55; Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Thomas Chua, 60; veteran unionist K. Karthikeyan, 55; labour economist Randolph Tan, 50; and historian Tan Tai Yong, 51.

The NMP scheme was introduced in 1990 to provide more alternative voices in Parliament.

In a separate ceremony at the Istana yesterday, Mr Albert Chua was sworn in as the Second Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The MFA veteran joined the Foreign Service in 1992, and held various posts before becoming principal private secretary to then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong from 2004 to 2006. He was Singapore's High Commissioner to Australia in 2008 and the country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York in 2011.

This article was first published on August 27, 2014.
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