Ex-MP Amrin Amin embraces new challenges in tech sector after exiting Govt

Member of PAP's Sengkang team cites tech's cutting-edge quality in joining two local firms

Mr Amrin Amin, a member of the People's Action Party team that lost to the Workers' Party team in Sengkang GRC in the July general election, will be strategy director at robotics and automation firm Platform for Bots and Automation (above) and non-ex
Mr Amrin Amin, a member of the People's Action Party team that lost to the Workers' Party team in Sengkang GRC in the July general election, will be strategy director at robotics and automation firm Platform for Bots and Automation (above) and non-executive adviser at Adera Global, a company involved in data security, artificial intelligence and automation. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Former political office-holder and MP Amrin Amin has moved to the technology sector and will be taking up roles at two local firms, following his exit from the Government after the recent general election.

Mr Amrin, 42, has been appointed strategy director at robotics and automation firm Platform for Bots and Automation (PBA).

A lawyer by training, he will also take up the role of non-executive adviser at Adera Global, a company involved in data security, artificial intelligence and automation.

A member of the People's Action Party (PAP) team that lost to the Workers' Party (WP) team in Sengkang GRC during the election, he officially starts both roles next Monday, but has already been attending meetings and onboarding himself in these companies.

Mr Amrin was previously Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health and an MP for Sembawang GRC, helming the Woodlands ward.

Speaking to The Straits Times at PBA's office in Yishun last Friday, he said he started thinking about job-hunting the day after Polling Day on July 10.

A former partner at a law firm, he said returning to the legal field would have been the "easy way", but the cutting-edge quality of the tech sector excited him and he wanted to try something new.

"I think that I've checked that box," he said, referring to the legal sector.

"And I was looking ahead, what's hot right now, and what is going to add value to my life experience. And the answer must be to venture into new areas, to stretch my potential beyond legal and government."

But when asked if this meant he would not be returning to either politics or law, Mr Amrin laughed and said "never say never".

"We cannot be living in our past, neither do we want to get too ahead of ourselves," he added.

BYE BYE, SENGKANG GRC

Mr Amrin has no regrets contesting Sengkang GRC, which was newly carved out for the 2020 General Election and made up of the former single seats of Sengkang West and Punggol East, as well as the Sengkang Central ward of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

"Do I regret contesting in Sengkang? Definitely not. No regrets because it's a great honour. A great honour to fight one of the toughest battles for the party and stand up for what I believe in," he said.

The PAP team lost to WP MPs He Ting Ru, Jamus Lim, Louis Chua and Raeesah Khan, who received 52.1 per cent of the votes.

Mr Amrin campaigned together with labour chief and former minister Ng Chee Meng, former senior minister of state for health and transport Lam Pin Min and PAP newcomer, lawyer Raymond Lye.

Mr Ng remains the secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, while Dr Lam has returned to medical practice. He is chief executive officer and a director at Eagle Eye Centre.

Mr Amrin, who became an MP in 2015, said the PAP had a good team running in Sengkang, but they respect the voters' choice, as that is "the nature of life and politics".

 

As much as the result did surprise him, it was the reactions from the people who expressed their support after the loss that made a deep impression.

In government, he had, among other things, worked to get former offenders back on their feet and supported the role of Home Team officers. He was also involved in efforts to uplift the Malay-Muslim community.

As he spoke about the people who thanked him for his service, he turned emotional. "I thought I was just a small cog in the whole system, just trying my best to do my part, but I was very touched and humbled by the depth of sincerity of people who came up to share about the impact of my work and urged me to continue to serve the people."

HELLO, TECH SECTOR

Mr Amrin said he is looking forward to using his experience to grow the companies he will be working for. At PBA, he will focus on its Robotics Automation Centre of Excellence academy, which trains budding robotics professionals, including mid-career workers. It has trained more than 700 people since 2018 and has supplied over 100 firms with workers.

He will also be helping both PBA and Adera to expand their business here and overseas. Adera runs initiatives such as a digital payment system in the Philippines and unmanned automated banking machines in Cambodia.

"These are very exciting developments. And important too because they enlarge Singapore's economic footprint. They provide Singaporeans with more jobs," said Mr Amrin.

 
 

Being in the private sector complements his experience in law, community work and government, he said, adding that it will give him a chance to observe creative and technological trends here.

He said he now gets to spend more time with his one-year-old daughter and his wife, a family doctor. He has been enjoying going to the park, baby gym and catching up on Korean dramas. A post last month on his Facebook account for K-drama recommendations garnered over 2,000 reactions.

He remains committed to public service as the PAP's Sengkang Central branch chairman. He said the work continues for him and his running mates. "We'll just have to do our best as party activists, not as elected officials of course, having lost the election. But we do our best as party activists in that constituency," he said, declining to reveal more.

With a social media following of close to 55,000 on Facebook and 19,000 on Instagram, Mr Amrin intends to continue speaking up on issues that matter to him and for people whom society might overlook, such as blue-collar workers and former offenders.

"I will still keep my ears close to the ground," he said. "It is a habit that is hard to kick. You don't quit from feeling for the people you deeply care about and for the country that you dearly love in just one election cycle. It's in my blood."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2020, with the headline 'Ex-MP embraces new challenges in tech sector after exiting Govt'. Print Edition | Subscribe