LISTEN: Use the player above to hear our full interview with MP Louis Ng
SINGAPORE — A politician, an activist, and father, Louis Ng is known as a champion of the underdog.
The 41-year-old Member of Parliament founded the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) non-governmental organisation in 2001, while he was still in university. At the 2015 General Election, he stood as a People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate and has been an MP for Nee Soon GRC ever since.
During a 26-minute podcast with Yahoo News Singapore’s “On The Mic” podcast, he also spoke about how he’s learnt to achieve his goals in Parliament, the opposition’s role in government and the causes he’s supporting.
Here are some things we learnt about the man during our interview:
1. What he’s learnt from the pandemic
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the global economy, Ng said that one of the good things to come out of it is that people working from home are spending more time with their families.
“It’s sort of slowed things down and made everyone reflect about what’s important in their lives. And I hope that continues,” he said.
“It’s also brought a very strong community spirit, where people from all walks of life step forward to help each other. The migrant worker is a fantastic example of when Singaporeans really stepped forward to help our migrant friends,” Ng added.
2. He was brought into politics by K Shanmugam
Ng also recounted how his journey into politics began in 2008 when Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam was guest-of-honour at an ACRES gala dinner.
During the event, Shanmugam asked him about the obstacles he faced and offered to help Ng with them. “And then he told me quite infamously, ‘Louis, you cannot just help animals. You must help humans as well’,” he recalled.
Ng went on to volunteer at Shanmugam’s meet-the-people sessions, where he realised that he had the capacity to have a wider impact on society.
“I’m happy to be given this chance to speak up and fight for better policies for all,” he said.
3. He believes all MPs should be activists
As someone who has gone from activist to politician, Ng believes that the two roles share many similarities.
“I always stress that the activist that becomes an MP, it’s actually about the same role. MPs should be activists,” said Ng.
“We’re there to mobilise people. We’re there to fight for changes to policies. We’re there to speak up, and I brought the skillsets in as an MP,” he added.
4. He enjoys a good debate
While many are expecting political debates to heat up with an increased opposition presence in Parliament, Ng said he’s looking forward to hearing more ideas being presented regardless of party affiliation.
“A good debate moving forward will be a debate of different ideas. And I’m looking forward to that,” he said, adding that he was “excited” to debate the Workers’ Party’s proposal for a minimum wage.
“I’ll be very excited if (for) next year’s Budget, the opposition comes up with an alternative Budget... and then we can actually debate which one is better,” said Ng.
5. What a nappy changing room taught him
On the issue of gender inequality, Ng recounted the “terrible example” of a nappy changing room that was built at the Nee Soon East community water park.
“When I built the water park, I told them to build a nappy changing room to make it family friendly. And the builders built it in the ladies’ (toilet). When I met them, I asked ‘Why?’ and they said, ‘Adviser, isn’t it that the women change the nappies?” he recalled.
“And this was in 2019... that really showed me that there’s this huge mindset that it’s the women’s job to look after the children,” he added.
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