Singapore ruling party PAP has convened an eight-member committee to accept the nominations for 9 Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) beginning today (June 4) to July 6. The NMP scheme is a make-pretend “opposition” invented by the ruling party to dissuade voters for voting in real opposition members.
Exalted as “people with distinguished achievement”, the committee chaired by PAP Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin get to choose who to sit as NMP for 2½ years in Parliament. Former PAP members, PAP supporters and government-linked businessmen are often favourites for the NMP position. Although the NMPs claim themselves to be independent voices, the past 20 years have only seen them making pro-ruling party speeches.
In 2015, former NMP Chia Yong Yong made a speech declaring that the retirement CPF funds is not an individual’s asset and hence Singaporeans have no right to demand full access to it:
“And so in relation to the use of CPF monies, we have heard proponents who argue that CPF money is theirs. It’s our money, it’s in our account, it’s our retirement money, I want it out, I will spend it any way we want. Fine. Is it our money? I’m not sure if I want to go into legalese and I certainly don’t want to argue about ownership rights. Our CPF savings are enhanced, enforced CPF savings which are accumulated through our own deferred consumption, through co-payment by our employers and through top-ups from public funds. Is it really my private money? Do I have the right to spend it the way I would spend my own salary? I’m not entirely sure but I know at the end of the day that because I am not the only person contributing to that fund, I cannot be the only person to call the shots as to how I’m going to spend it.”
While most NMPs maintain a near-nonexistent presence in parliament, there are controversial ones like former NMP Calvin Cheng who openly called for children of terrorists to be killed.
For the NMP nomination this year, PAP supporter Xiaxue declared that she will be nominating herself to be NMP. The PAP blogger who is notorious for engaging in online squabbles involving police reports, said although she is unqualified for the role, she wanted to “try and see” if she gets chosen.