They want to be NMPs

They want to be NMPs
Kok Heng Leun, 42, artistic director of local theatre group, Drama Box.

SINGAPORE - Two men have stepped forward as potential Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) candidates.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) yesterday submitted its nomination of veteran union leader K Karthikeyan, 54.

It was sent to the Special Select Committee of Parliament for nomination by the Committee for appointment by the President as Nominated Member of Parliament.

Mr Karthikeyan is the vice-president of the NTUC Central Committee and General Secretary of the United Workers of Petroleum Industry.

Meanwhile, theatre veteran Kok Heng Leun, 48, has also declared his intention to represent the arts sector as an NMP.

The father of two children, aged 17 and 14, is the artistic director of Drama Box, a theatre group known for its interactive community plays in Chinese.

The New Paper spoke to both men on what they planned to do as NMPs. NMPs were introduced in 1990 to provide alternative voices in Parliament.

The public has until May 20 to put up names of individuals they deem suitable for the role.

HE'LL FOCUS ON ARTS ISSUES

Mr Kok Heng Leun, 48, artistic director of Drama Box.

Why do you want to represent the arts sector as an NMP?

We have seen the work of the other arts NMPs (arts lecturer Audrey Wong and actress Janice Koh) and they have been effective in initiating the process of bridging the gap (between the arts community and the policymakers). The work has started and should continue.

What I feel is needed is for platforms for dialogue between the arts community (to continue) and then we can bring forth this dialogue to the policymakers.

What are the things that you hope to bring up in Parliament?

I shall be focusing on arts issues, like the role of arts as part of our national identity and culture, as well as the role of the arts as part of community building, education and our life.

I also would like the policymakers to consider the arts an important component in their decisions.

Is there anything else you would like to champion?

I also have interests in other topics like education and health issues.

Whenever appropriate, I will speak on these issues if given the opportunity.

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