New NMPs sworn in at start of Parliament sitting

(Clockwise from bottom) MsYip Pin Xiu (seated), Professor Lim Sun Sun, Mr Douglas Foo Peow Yong, Mr Arasu Duraisamy, Ms Irene Quay Siew Ching, Associate Professor Walter Edgar Theseira, Ms Anthea Ong Lay Theng, Mr Ho Wee San and Mr Abbas Ali Mohamed
(Clockwise from bottom) MsYip Pin Xiu (seated), Professor Lim Sun Sun, Mr Douglas Foo Peow Yong, Mr Arasu Duraisamy, Ms Irene Quay Siew Ching, Associate Professor Walter Edgar Theseira, Ms Anthea Ong Lay Theng, Mr Ho Wee San and Mr Abbas Ali Mohamed Irshad were sworn in as Nominated MPs yesterday.PHOTO: GOV.SG

The new cohort of Nominated MPs (NMPs) was sworn in at the start of yesterday's Parliament sitting.

The nine new NMPs are: Paralympian swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, 26; Sakae Holdings chairman Douglas Foo Peow Yong, 49; Singapore Chinese Orchestra executive director Ho Wee San, 49; Professor Lim Sun Sun, 46; Roses of Peace founder Abbas Ali Mohamed Irshad, 29; social entrepreneur Anthea Ong Lay Theng, 50; Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore president Irene Quay Siew Ching, 43; Associate Professor Walter Edgar Theseira, 40 and labour unionist Arasu Duraisamy, 50.

Two of them - Prof Theseira and Mr Mohamed Irshad - got down to business immediately, speaking up on two Bills that were being debated in the House.

Prof Theseira spoke on the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, raising his concerns about a proposal for changes in electoral divisions to be published as maps online or for public viewing, instead of in written detail in the Gazette.

He said that while this is efficient, it may unintentionally harm the historical record of changes in Singapore's electoral divisions, as materials published purely online have little permanence.

He added that the Gazette is a permanent part of the Republic's history and cannot be readily altered or destroyed, and scholars use the Gazette for their research.

For example, he said, an academic paper published in 2010 by two National University of Singapore researchers, "The Political Economy Of Housing Prices", drew on information from the Gazette to study how electoral boundaries affect housing prices. He said, to laughter from the House: "I leave it to members to guess whether government or opposition wards enjoy higher housing prices. I hope this will encourage members to read more academic papers."

Meanwhile, Mr Mohamed Irshad gave a speech on the Gas (Amendment) Bill, in which he spoke of the importance of energy sustainability, resilience and security.

The nine NMPs - all of whom are first-timers to the role - will serve a 21/2-year term.

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2018, with the headline 'New NMPs sworn in at start of Parliament sitting'. Print Edition | Subscribe