Praising the outgoing Nominated MPs (NMPs), the PAP Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin said that they “have done well” and behaved in the ruling party’s expectations:
“The current batch of Nominated Members of Parliament (NMP) have done well and pushed boundaries. Sometimes they may make the Government feel uncomfortable but then that’s how it ought to be. Not for its own sake, but issues that are difficult, awkward, that ought to be discussed … ought to be discussed. And I think it’s the Government’s responsibility to also respond.”
The NMP scheme is a fake Opposition presence instituted by the ruling party to crowd out actual opposition voices in Parliament. Most NMPs are PAP-linked cronies, with some former PAP members like Calvin Cheng or relatives of former PAP MPs like Chia Yong Yong. NMPs are nominated by a PAP-dominated committee and they are paid for 2.5 years in Parliament.
During a Parliament hearing in 2015, NMP Chia Yong Yong commented that CPF is not Singaporeans’ money, earning praises from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. She was subsequently re-nominated by the PAP in 2016.
Formerly a Minister, the newly-demoted Speaker said his government is ready for “bolder voices” in Parliament:
“We ought to be ready, and we should be ready to accept because it represents society out there. Increasingly we have an electorate which is educated, who have expectations, who has access to a lot more information. They have views, aspirations and we need to allow those voices to be manifested.
The job of any government is to listen, to take on board as many perspectives as possible, sense-make as to what would eventually be sensible to be incorporated into policies and that’s what governments must do.
“Now if it makes the Government uncomfortable – and I’ve been there before because I was a Cabinet minister, and it can be uncomfortable – but I think we need to learn to embrace that because it keeps us on our toes, it makes us think harder about the policies that we make.”
The ruling party is nominating a new batch of NMPs this month, with a favourite being former PAP supporter Xiaxue.