Champion of disabled among two likely names for NMP posts

With one week to go before nominations close for Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) next Tuesday, the social sector looks likely to put up the chief of a major group for the disabled here as a candidate.

Sources told The Straits Times that the application for Society for the Physically Disabled president Chia Yong Yong is expected to be submitted for the position, though Ms Chia declined to comment when contacted.

Ms Chia, 51, who has peroneal muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, will be one of the rare few parliamentarians to have a disability if her bid is successful.

Another new face who is stepping forward is Mr Raymon Krishnan, 45, president of the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Society.

The industry veteran with more than two decades of experience is also a director of marketing at logistics technology firm Astrum Lighting Technologies.

He hopes to represent the business and industry which, along with social services, are among the seven sectors that will nominate the next group of NMPs.

Social service professionals said Ms Chia will be an apt champion of social and community issues as she is known to speak up on key issues in the sector, even those that go beyond disability matters. Despite her personal struggles, she is an accomplished corporate lawyer and has been president of the Society for the Physically Disabled since 2008.

In seeking inclusiveness for people with disabilities, she pushed for the setting up of Singapore's first centre to provide IT training for the disabled in 2008 to enhance their employability and integration into society.

She has also spoken out on various issues of the day, from the need to support disabled athletes comparably with other national athletes, to questioning if the tightening of the governance of charities comes at too hefty an administrative cost.

As for Mr Krishnan, he told The Straits Times that manpower and productivity were two key areas of concern for the logistics industry. He called for a platform for greater dialogue between businesses and noted that small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, struggle as they try to improve productivity.

"As with other industries, the lower-end jobs in the logistics industry are getting harder to fill. So we have to consider how the logistics industry can increase productivity amid tighter labour resources," said Mr Krishnan.

The father of two, who is married to an Australian university lecturer and has worked overseas for several years, said he can also contribute to the discourse on integration and foreigner relations in Singapore.

So far, seven of the nine current NMPs have said they will step down. The other two - businessman R. Dhinakaran and law don Eugene Tan - have confirmed they intend to seek another term.

NMP hopefuls who have emerged in recent weeks include National Trades Union Congress vice-president K. Karthikeyan, Drama Box artistic director Kok Heng Leun and former national sailor Ben Tan. The NMP scheme was introduced in 1990.

This article was published on May 14 in The Straits Times.

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