New NMPs and the issues they plan to raise in Parliament

(From top left) Mr Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, Ms Janet Ang and Mr Mark Chay. (From centre left) Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, Professor Hoon Hian Teck and Professor Koh Lian Pin. (From above left) Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, Dr Shahira Abdullah and Dr Tan Yia Swam.

Mr Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, 48, NTUC vice-president

The veteran unionist and general secretary of the Union of Power and Gas Employees hopes to push for a stronger Singaporean core, the expansion of the Progressive Wage Model and a greater appreciation for older workers.

"With the Covid-19 pandemic still affecting the lives and livelihoods of many, I hope to be able to address the immediate needs of my fellow workers and their families," he said.

Ms Janet Ang, 61, Sistic chairman

Ms Ang believes her experiences with companies such as IBM, Singapore Press Holdings - where she is a director - and Sistic will help her contribute to the diversity of views as Parliament discusses the challenges facing businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

Ms Ang, who is also deputy chair of the Singapore Business Federation Foundation and Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to the Vatican, said: "It's all about people. Businesses are also made up of people, our whole ecosystem is made up of people. I hope to speak for the people."

Mr Mark Chay, 38, director of Global Esports Federation

The former Olympic swimmer and SEA Games medallist believes sports can help foster a resilient society and impart important values to the young. He hopes to make sports more accessible.

"Sports has an important part to play in Singapore's recovery and enabling a resilient society, so I feel it's important to have a voice for sports and I'm happy that the committee also recognised that," he said.

Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, 49, group managing director of GuocoLand

The former city planner at the Urban Redevelopment Authority and current first vice-president of the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore hopes to foster greater collaboration between the public and private sectors in formulating policies.

"There is a lot of work and ingenuity that society needs to pull together to make Singapore stronger," he said.

Professor Hoon Hian Teck, 61, Singapore Management University

The dean of SMU's School of Economics said he has always been fascinated with how Singapore managed to catch up with the US' standard of living. "Now, as a mature economy, there is a need to understand anew how to tackle new challenges and find new opportunities to deliver good jobs and good pay for our citizens," he said.

He plans to speak about designing policy to achieve economic inclusion, which he believes is important to social cohesion and a political equilibrium.

Professor Koh Lian Pin, 44, National University of Singapore

The globally recognised conservation scientist recently returned home to helm NUS' new Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions. He hopes to foster more constructive debate on nature conservation, climate change and sustainability. "I hope to help clarify the trade-offs and opportunities in many of these issues, in relation to the many priorities of Singapore."

Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, 41, partner at Tang Thomas LLC

The Security Association Singapore president hopes to contribute to discussions on lower-wage workers, how to ensure they get a fair share of the pie, and how to redesign and raise the profile and reputation of their jobs. The lawyer, who volunteers under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, also wants to speak about the importance of maintaining faith in the criminal justice system, including access to legal representation.

Dr Shahira Abdullah, 33, associate consultant at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

The vice-president of Mendaki Club and member of the 16th National Youth Council hopes to champion the voices of young people. Among the issues she plans to raise are inclusivity, diversity and addressing sensitive issues like race openly. "I also hope I can provide a different kind of voice and alternative opinions in Parliament."

Dr Tan Yia Swam, 40, clinical director of Thomson Breast Centre

The first woman to be president of the Singapore Medical Association said it is not unusual for medical diagnoses to be challenged vigorously at times, and doctors see this as part of the process that is in the interest of patients. In the same way, she hopes that differing and even dissenting views will be welcome in Parliament.

She hopes to speak about mental wellness and the challenges faced by single adults, single parents and other less-represented groups.

Tham Yuen-C

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2021, with the headline New NMPs and the issues they plan to raise in Parliament. Subscribe