The NMP Farce

posted by Charles

It is beneficial to have plurality of voices in debates. Yet, the current NMP system is not viable for two very basic reasons. It is unconstitutional and anti- democratic.

Unconstitutional as our statutes does not provide for certain people, which may be considered as outspoken members or elites, to have a voice in parliamentary debates.

Anti- democratic for the NMP is chosen by the government and not elected. Though NMPs do not have any voting rights in parliament, their outspoken position means they can alter or effect the course of parliamentary debates. Moreover, the procedure for choosing these NMPs are neither transparent nor accountable.

They are chosen by the government for their prominent positions in their sectors, and sometimes thought by the government to be representative voices of these sectors. However, even within these smaller communities, it does not always follow that the voices may be unified and that the selected individual is representative of those voices.

The current list of Singaporeans being bandied around for the NMP posts may be outspoken and respected individuals in their fields but it cannot be thus guaranteed that they should have a voice in the parliament.

There is also the problem of which sectors or groups should have a privileged voice in parliamentary debates. Why are gay representatives not included? Foreign workers? Single parents? Where is the litmus test on who should be chosen?

It has also often been argued that the NMP system is PAP’s way of co-opting opposing voices, or to be seen as accepting of pluralistic views.

There is no doubt that we cannot continue to endorse the NMP system. It makes a mockery of what democracy is.

PAP – chosen individuals asked to become NMPs should flatly decline the offer and publicly denounce the selection process. By rejecting the NMP nomination and openly stating their reasons for not doing so, they are destroying the perpetuating myth that Singapore is a functioning democracy.


The above short commentary is in response to a news article on TODAY, published on Friday November 17, entitled, “Wanted: Less conventional NMPs; SINGAPORE: As the month-long race to put up names for Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) for the 11th Parliament kicks in, names are already being bandied about.”


About soci
Lived in Singapore for 6 wonderful years and has been blogging since 2003, under various names but always on Singaporean issues.

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