Ex-Hougang MP Yaw now in Myanmar

He had left S'pore abruptly after sacking; goes by Amos Rao now

Mr Yaw, who was expelled by the Workers' Party after allegations of extramarital affairs surfaced, is now working in Myanmar.
Mr Yaw, who was expelled by the Workers' Party after allegations of extramarital affairs surfaced, is now working in Myanmar.

Former Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong, who left Singapore abruptly some five years ago after he was expelled by the Workers' Party (WP), is now working in a private education college in Myanmar and goes by the name Amos Rao.

His sacking, for not coming clean on alleged extramartial affairs, triggered a by-election in the WP's Hougang stronghold and sent voters there to the polls again just a year after the May 2011 General Election.

Mr Yaw, 40, is now a senior vice-president of Shenton Co, a private education provider in Myanmar, and oversees overall operations, business strategy and recruitment. He is also general manager of three subsidiaries there, including Temasek International College, which provides degrees and diplomas in business and hospitality and has 11 lecturers.

He is listed in social media and the college's website as Amos Rao. Rao is the hanyu pinyin spelling of his Chinese surname.

When contacted in Yangon by telephone yesterday, Mr Yaw declined to comment on his activities since leaving Singapore. He said that he is a private citizen and needed his "private space".

Mr Yaw has been involved in the education sector for several years, including when he was in Singapore. He founded and ran an enrichment programme development firm named Eduhearts Consultancy from 2005 to 2012, and was also a lecturer at a private college.

Mr Yaw reportedly left Singapore with his wife on Feb 15, 2012, a day after his expulsion from the WP and just hours before the news was made public. Their whereabouts in the months thereafter were not known. But his Facebook account shows he has been in Yangon since at least May last year, and that he was in Zhengzhou, China, for about four years before that.

He spends 10 months in Myanmar and the rest of the year in Singapore, according to his profile on the LinkedIn networking site.

Once a rising star in the WP, Mr Yaw was chosen to defend party chief Low Thia Khiang's long-time Hougang seat after Mr Low moved to contest in Aljunied GRC in the 2011 General Election.

Mr Yaw won the seat with 64.8 per cent of the vote, a better result than Mr Low secured in the 2006 election. But allegations of extramarital affairs surfaced online in January 2012. He repeatedly refused to comment on them.

But a month later, the WP sacked him for failing to be accountable to the party and his constituents. The ensuing May 2012 by-election, which the WP won with a reduced vote share, was the first to be held here in nearly 20 years.

Mr Yaw was the first of three MPs in a four-year span to lose their seats over personal scandals. Former Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resigned in December 2012 after admitting to an affair, while Bukit Batok MP David Ong stepped down in March last year, also over an alleged affair.

The social media accounts for Amos Rao only hint at his previous involvement in politics.

They state that he was a leader and activist, organising grassroots activities in "non-profit organisations" from 1999 to 2012, the same period he was active in opposition politics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-Hougang MP Yaw now in Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe