SINGAPORE: Social entrepreneur Anthea Ong has put her name in the ring for a second term as a Nominated Member of Parliament.
The application was an "eleventh-hour effort" after prompting from a friend last week, she said in a Facebook post on Monday (Nov 23). The deadline for submissions is Nov 23 at 4.30pm.
A term for an NMP usually lasts two-and-a-half years. Ms Ong's previous term ended when Parliament was dissolved on Jun 23, less than two years after she was sworn in on Oct 1, 2018.
Up to nine NMPs can be appointed in each Parliament.
A number of functional or interest groups are generally represented by NMPs, including business and industry, labour, the professions, social service organisations, the civic and people sector, tertiary education institutions, and media, arts and sports organisations.
The National Trades Union Congress has nominated union leader Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, 48, while environmental groups have put forward Dr Andie Ang, 35, a primatologist and president of the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore).
The applications will be considered by a Special Select Committee of Parliament, which will recommend the candidates for appointment by the President.
Those nominated to be NMPs should have rendered distinguished public service, "have brought honour to the Republic", or have distinguished themselves in one of the fields above, the Office of the Clerk of Parliament said when calling for applications.
Ms Ong said in her Facebook post that other than "the 3Ms of her heart" - mental health, marginalised communities including migrant workers and "Mother Earth" - she is keen to champion "the strengthening of the NMP system as a nonpartisan institution especially as she sees the ills of divisive partisan politics around the world".
The founder of A Good Space, a co-operative to support active citizenry, she has often pushed for putting greater priority on mental health. She is known for highlighting the rights of migrant workers and was among those who signed a recent open letter calling for more diverse representation on the Emerging Stronger Taskforce.
During a parliamentary debate in May on the COVID-19 outbreak, Ms Ong asked Manpower Minister Josephine Teo if the Government would apologise to Singapore's migrant workers for the “dismal conditions” at dormitories.
Mrs Teo replied then that the workers are focused on how the authorities are helping them deal with the situation, and she has not come across any workers who have demanded an apology.
Among the NMPs in her term, Ms Ong filed the most number of parliamentary questions and responded to the most number of Bills, according to a tally by CNA in February.
The other NMPs in the previous term were Mr Mohamed Irshad Abbas Ali, the founder of inter-faith group Roses of Peace; labour representative Arasu Duraisamy; Sakae Holdings chairman Douglas Foo; executive director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra Terence Ho; communications and media professor Lim Sun Sun; president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore Irene Quay; labour economist Associate Professor Walter Theseira, as well as Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu.