S'pore actress Janice Koh steps forward for NMP position

Singapore actress Janice Koh has put herself forward as a possible nominated Member of Parliament (NMP).

Announcing her decision to do so on Facebook on Sunday afternoon, Koh said she is responding to the need for nominees to step up ahead of the 8 December deadline, when nominations from members of the public close.

Pointing out that interest in stepping up to the NMP post to represent the arts community has been “lukewarm”, she wrote, “I do think it is important to have representation, and have only JUST decided to put myself forward as a possible nominee, in the event no one steps forward.”

Koh, who is with FLY Entertainment, added that she hopes to be able to build up on the work that the most recent arts NMP Audrey Wong has done, find out relevant concerns that have been raised, and have face-to-face sessions with the various art sectors.

Wong, whose term ended on 19 April this year, does not intend to stand for a second term as NMP.

Sharing her intentions, Koh wrote, “I think it’s about how the NMP can make our marginalised voices heard in Parliament, to serve as a check on the work of the government that has impact on the cultural sector, and to be that cultural conscience for Singapore, which I find so lacking in the chamber."

Koh also expressed hope that her move will “start the ball rolling” and motivate others to step up to fill the NMP role for the arts community, so that the Special Select Committee of Parliament will have a more diverse range of candidates to choose from.

Koh’s announcement has since triggered positive response from the arts community.

Theatre and television actress Peggy Ferroa wrote in a comment, “Janice, wonderful that you are stepping up. Many artists want things done for them but are they doing anything for themselves to move forward? Sometimes they don’t clearly articulate and clarify what they want, so nothing seems to please them.”

An event is also being organised to collect signatures in support of Koh’s application to the NMP post. More details can be found here.

Other than Koh, Fencing Singapore president Nicholas Fang, Singapore Management University assistant law professor Eugene Tan and private investment manager Kurt Wee have also flagged interest in being an NMP.