SMU economics dean among 9 appointed as new Nominated Members of Parliament

Prof Hoon Hian Teck, dean of SMU's School of Economics, is one of nine new Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) to be appointed from January 21. Having always been fascinated with how Singapore managed to catch up with the US' standard of living, Prof Hoon plans to speak about designing policy to achieve economic inclusion, which he believes is important to social cohesion and a political equilibrium.

"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," said Prof Hoon.

The full story published in The Straits Times (15 January 2021) is enclosed below: 


Nine new Nominated MPs to be appointed from Jan 21

SINGAPORE - Olympic swimmer Mark Chay, conservation scientist Koh Lian Pin, and security industry association head Joshua Thomas Raj are among the nine new Nominated MPs (NMPs) who will be appointed by President Halimah Yacob for a 2½-year term starting next Thursday (Jan 21).

The others are union leader Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, Sistic chairman Janet Ang, GuocoLand group managing director Cheng Hsing Yao, Singapore Management University professor and economist Hoon Hian Teck, dental surgeon and National Youth Council member Shahira Abdullah, and Singapore Medical Association president Tan Yia Swam.

All are first-time NMPs, and their names were announced by Parliament on Thursday (Jan 14). 

They were chosen by a Special Select Committee of Parliament, chaired by Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, from a total of 61 nominated candidates.

Mr Tan said: "With many high-calibre candidates stepping forward for consideration, it was not an easy task for the select committee to nominate the maximum of nine NMPs."

"After careful deliberation, we have determined that the nine nominees have fulfilled all constitutional criteria and are eligible for appointment," he added.

"Collectively, they also have creditable accomplishments in their individual fields and a good grasp of issues they are passionate about. I thus look forward to the rich diversity of insights and experiences they can bring to the House when we debate matters concerning Singapore and Singaporeans."

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and was also on the eight-member committee, said it had been a difficult task to shortlist these nine out of 61 applicants.

"We have a good slate of nine NMPs who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to society or in their respective fields, and whose specialised knowledge will add to the depth and breadth of the debates in Parliament," she said.

"I look forward to the fresh perspectives and ideas the new NMPs will bring to Parliament as we work to help Singapore navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and emerge stronger."

Also on the committee were ministers Chan Chun Sing, Gan Kim Yong, Maliki Osman and Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of State Gan Siow Huang, and Workers' Party MP for Aljunied GRC Leon Perera.


1. Mr Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab

Mr Abdul Samad is one of three vice-presidents of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the general secretary of the Union of Power and Gas Employees and chairman of the NTUC Oil, Petrochemical, Energy and Chemical Cluster of Unions. He has been involved with the labour movement for the last 14 years.

As NTUC vice-president, Mr Abdul Samad guides the work of NTUC committees. He represents the trade union movement on the boards of SkillsFuture Singapore and the NTUC Learning Hub and is part of the NTUC team in the National Wages Council. Mr Abdul Samad was a recipient of the Public Service Medal in 2020.


2. Ms Janet Ang Guat Har

Ms Ang is currently chairman of and non-executive director at Singapore Press Holdings. She was appointed Singapore’s non-resident ambassador-designate to the Holy See in 2020.

Ms Ang also chairs the boards of the NUS Institute of Systems Science and Singapore Polytechnic, and is the deputy chair of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Foundation. In SBF, she chairs the digitalisation committee that works closely with government agencies, trade associations and chambers of commerce to address the digital needs of Singapore businesses. She was conferred the Public Service Medal in 2019.


3. Mr Mark Chay Jung Jun

Mr Chay is director of the secretariat of the Global Esports Federation and a national para swimming coach at the Singapore Disability Sports Council. He was a national athlete and represented Singapore in swimming at the Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004.

Mr Chay is a multiple gold medallist and a record holder at the South-east Asian Games. He was named Sportsboy of the Year in 2001 and Sportsman of the Year in 2002. He was appointed chief de mission at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He continues to contribute by serving as chairman of the Singapore National Olympic Council Athlete’s Commission. 


4. Mr Cheng Hsing Yao

Mr Cheng is currently group managing director at GuocoLand Singapore. He is also first vice-president of the Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore and executive committee member of the Urban Land Institute Singapore.

Mr Cheng is a board member in the National Parks Board and serves as a member of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Design and Advisory Committee and the Heritage and Identity Partnership. He is also co-chairman of BCA’s integrated digital delivery steering committee and the central procurers panel. Mr Cheng received the Public Administrative Medal (Bronze) in 2006 during his service with URA.


5. Professor Hoon Hian Teck

Prof Hoon is currently dean of the School of Economics at the Singapore Management University. He has published widely in macroeconomics, international economics and the Singapore economy and brought recognition to Singapore through his many book publications and academic journal articles as well as his visiting professor appointments at Columbia University and Harvard University.

Prof Hoon was the recipient of the Fulbright Research Scholarship in 2001 and was a member of the Tripartite Committee for Low-wage Workers and Inclusive Growth from 2015 to 2017.


6. Professor Koh Lian Pin

Prof Koh is a globally recognised conservation scientist who has recently returned to Singapore under the National Research Foundation’s Returning Singaporean Scientist Scheme to helm the new Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

He is the sixth recipient of this scheme, which seeks to attract overseas-based Singaporean research leaders back to Singapore to take up leadership positions in Singapore’s research institutes.

Prof Koh is currently professor of conservation science, technology and policy at the NUS’ Department of Biological Sciences and a member of the Emerging Stronger Taskforce to guide Singapore’s economic recovery out of the Covid-19 pandemic.


7. Mr Joshua Thomas Raj

Mr Raj is a partner at law firm Tang Thomas and director of TwinRock, a security agency. He is currently serving as president of the Security Association Singapore (SAS). During his tenure as SAS president, the association was recognised by the labour movement for its contributions to workers when it received two May Day Awards (Partner of Labour Movement) in 2018.

He also serves as a volunteer lawyer under the Law Society’s Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. As chairman of the NUS Political Science Department’s Singapore Forum on Politics and Policy, Mr Raj contributed in encouraging dialogue and engagement with policymakers.


8. Dr Shahira Abdullah

Dr Shahira is an associate consultant with the dental surgery team in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. She is also serving her first term as a member of the 16th National Youth Council (NYC). Prior to her involvement in NYC, Dr Shahira has been a dedicated youth leader and was the immediate past vice-president of Mendaki Club, with a focus on enhancing career development opportunities for youth.

In 2019, she was appointed by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth as one of the SG Youth Action Plan members to reach out to the youth on their vision for Singapore 2025.


9. Dr Tan Yia Swam

Dr Tan is a medical doctor and currently clinical director at Thomson Breast Centre. She is one of the youngest persons and the first female to be elected president of the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) in 2020 and is also a member of Singapore’s Academy of Medicine.

She has been a member of the SMA’s editorial board and council member since 2008 and the SMA news editor from 2014 to 2020. She is also a member of the Association of Women Doctors, Singapore.

Dr Tan received the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine dean’s award for teaching excellence in 2013 and the Singapore Health Quality Service Award (Gold) in 2018.