Time ripe to have political philosopher as NMP

Since the inception of the Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) scheme in 1990 we have had lawyers, economists, doctors, businessmen and trade union officials, as well as representatives from the arts, social service, social enterprise and sports fields as NMPs (NMPs have contributed to healthy debates: Grace Fu; Sept 11).

They have been eloquent spokesmen for their fields and much else besides. One even managed to enact a private member's Bill on the need for children to look after their parents.

We are at an inflection point in our history.

There are suggestions that there is less interaction between the socio-economic classes.

There are debates, sometimes heated, on such issues as the state versus the market, equality versus loss of motivation, the community versus individualism, the repeal of Section 377A, the fear of fake news and loss of privacy as we move towards being a smart nation, stem cell research, and even revisionist history.

Readers will no doubt have other issues in mind.

In this climate, I think we need a moral philosopher who can bring to bear a moral viewpoint on the debates in Parliament.

Or a political philosopher with a strong moral viewpoint, such as that represented by Dr Michael Sandel who is a professor at Harvard University.

I hope such a person could be considered for the next selection of NMPs.

Tan Ying San

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2018, with the headline 'Time ripe to have political philosopher as NMP'. Print Edition | Subscribe