SINGAPORE - Former political office-holder and MP Amrin Amin has moved to the tech 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). Mr Amrin, a lawyer by training, will also take up the role of non-executive adviser at ADERA Global, a company involved in data-security, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.
The People's Action Party (PAP) Sengkang GRC candidate, whose team lost to the Workers' Party in GE2020, officially starts both roles on Sept 14 but has already been attending meetings and on-boarding 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 on Friday (Sept 4), he said he started thinking about job-hunting the day after Polling Day on July 10.
A former partner at a law firm, Mr Amrin said that 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.
Mr Amrin has no regrets contesting Sengkang GRC, which was newly carved out for the recent 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.
Mr Amrin campaigned together with labour chief and former minister Ng Chee Meng, former senior minister of state 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 the chief executive officer and a director at the 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 of people who expressed their support after the loss that left him most surprised.
In Government, Mr Amrin 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 uplifting efforts for the Malay-Muslim community.
As he spoke about the people who thanked him for his service, Mr Amrin 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," he said.
Mr Amrin said he is looking forward to using his experience to grow the companies he will be working for.
At PBA, he said 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 expand their business here and overseas. ADERA runs initiatives like a digital payment system in the Philippines and unmanned automated banking machines in Cambodia.
"These are very exciting developments. And important too because it enlarges Singapore's economic footprint. It provides 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.
Mr Amrin 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 and 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 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 elections. But we do our best as party activists in that constituency," he said, declining to reveal more.
With a sizeable 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 who society might overlook, like blue-collar workers and former offenders.
"I will still keep my ears close to the ground. It is a habit that is hard to kick," he said.
"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."