A Passionate Lawyer with a Singapore Dream
This post is a follow-up of the 20 Potential Candidates to look out for in the coming General Election.
Here we go, the People’s Action Party (PAP) is finally introducing their new candidates and bidding farewells to retiring Members of Parliament (MP) for the coming General Election.
Two days ago (12 August), Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen unveiled 3 new candidates for his Bishan – Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency (GRC) at a neighbourhood coffeeshop. Today (14 August), National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan appeared at non-profit organization SWAMI Home to unveil his team for Sembawang GRC.
Included in Minster Khaw’s Sembawang lineup is Amrin Amin — MustShareNews had spotted Mr Amrin as a potential candidate to look out for in the coming General Election in a previous article.
The corporate lawyer has been involved with grassroots activities of the People’s Action Party (PAP) since 2004, and has been touted as a potential electoral candidate for the PAP by AsiaOne in April 2014 — he’s had to wait for more than a year to be officially unveiled.
MustShareNews scored a personal interview with the boyish-faced 36-year-old lawyer. In the interview, Mr Amrin reveals an incident when a resident spooked him, his SG100 wish for Singapore, and the areas where he thinks the PAP Government can do better.
Community work is a second nature
Mr Amrin graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a Bachelor of Law, and did his Masters of Law as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar at the Columbia University School of Law.
Today, he is a corporate lawyer and partner at Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP (JTJB).
The 36-year-old has engaged in community-based activities since his schooling days. He was in the Students’ Council in Dunman Secondary School and Tampines Junior College. In university, he was actively involved with the National University of Singapore’ Student Union (NUSSU).
His academic life may have ended, but his community involvement continues. After university, Mr Amrin took his community involvement work to another level by volunteering as a PAP activist.
The lawyer started off in helping out at Meet-the-People sessions (MPS) with Law and Foreign Affairs’ Minister K. Shanmugam in Chong Pang. Subsequently, he headed north to help out Member of Parliament (MP) Ellen Lee’s MPS at Woodlands and Senior Parliament Secretary (SPS) Hawazi Daipi’s MPS at Marsiling — SPS Hawazi also happens to be Mr Amrin’s mentor since 1995.
From today and beyond, Mr Amrin will attempt to take his passionate community involvement cause to another level by contesting in the General Election.
Why has Mr Amrin always been so keen on being involved with the community? Well, it is a second nature to him.
I have always taken an interest in what’s affecting my community and doing what I can to help.
-People’s Action Party Candidate at the Sembawang GRC, Amrin Amin
People’s Action Party – A natural choice
With 11 active political parties in Singapore that may be contesting in the coming General Election, why did Mr Amrin chose to join the People’s Action Party (PAP)?
Mr Amrin believes that the PAP is the party that is most capable of making his SG100 wish come true — that is for Singapore to be a free, strong, and uncorrupted multi-racial home for all Singaporeans.
PAP is the party that can fulfill this promise [Amrin’s SG100 wish] with its track record, quality of its leadership and plans for Singapore.
– Amrin Amin
But, all is not perfect with the ruling party of 56 years, and Mr Amrin fully acknowledges it.
The lawyer opinionated that the Government can do better in communicating their policies with the ground, and in engaging with Singaporeans from all walks of life whom are concern about different interests and issues.
Instead of doing the Singaporean thing — to complain, Mr Amrin chose to roll his sleeves up, get his hands dirty, and take some action.
I can choose to fold my arms and criticise, but I figured why not help out with the process.
– Amrin Amin
Stories and memories from the ground
The 36-year-old has been helping out at Meet-the-People sessions (MPS) and being involved with grassroots activities since 2004. The Sembawang candidate’s experience has been fulfilling thus far, he shares two interesting experiences.
A makcik (Auntie in Malay) from a MPS once told Mr Amrin about a ghostly apparition near the bushes and the lifts a particular MPS venue.
Mr Amrin never quite got over it. Since that “warning”, the 36-year-old has been superstitiously checking his rear-view mirror of his car for any uninvited “passenger” each time he leaves that MPS venue late at night.
#AmrinIsSpooked #ButHeStillAttendsHisMPS #HeStillLeavesLateAtNight
Apart from getting spooked by a resident, Mr Amrin was also inspired by a certain Mr Leong Weng Fatt, who he met at the Man Fut Hong Nursing in Woodlands during one of his visits.
Mr Leong is a 82-year-old former soldier who had shared his photo of himself as a 28-year old soldier in the British Army with Mr Amrin. Mr Leong also recounted his life story to Mr Amrin with pride and satisfaction.
Mr Amrin was greatly inspired by Mr Leong’s story, prompting the Sembawang candidate to reflect on his own life.
[W]hat will I remember about my life in my old age and how I will feel. Have I done enough today?
– Amrin Amin, revealing his reflective thoughts after meeting Mr Leong Weng Fatt
Mr Leong Weng Fatt as a 28-year-old soldier (left). Mr Amrin’s selfie with Mr Leong (right) —
As a potential Member of Parliament
In an interview with The Strait Times last month (26 July), the boyish faced lawyer stated that one of the biggest issue that needs to be tackled in Singapore is social mobility. It is an issue that continues to concern him today, and also an issue that he resolve to work towards once he is elected.
In the interview, the 36-year-old elaborated on his thoughts, and what continues to inspire him on resolving social mobility.
The Sembawang candidate pointed out that the principle to resolving the issue of social mobility is not to conceptualise social equality as bringing down those at the top, but to push up those at the bottom, up.
Although there are many measures in place to push Singaporeans from poorer households up, such as compulsory education for all Singaporeans, the SkillsFuture national movement, and various social support schemes, Mr Amrin reiterates that it is not enough — in fact, it will never be enough.
The government has tried very hard, but is the job done? It never is done, it’s a continuing effort.
– Amrin Amin
The Sembawang candidate is also easily inspired. One of the latest inspiration to Mr Amrin on the issue of social mobility were the words of late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in the “Proclamation of Singapore” that was broadcast island-wide last Sunday (9 August).
The words of the Proclamation: “ever seeking the welfare and happiness of her people in a more just and equal society” is a great reminder of our sacred mission and responsibility.
We have to keep working at it [resolving social mobility], to live up to the meaning of the stirring words in the Proclamation and to keep the Singapore Dream.
– Amrin Amin
When queried on how he will manage his time between being a corporate lawyer and an elected MP, if he is elected, Mr Amrin assured that he will do his best. The lawyer further pointed out that it is a possible balancing act to achieve given that many elected MPs have done well in the same position.
Many MPs who are lawyers have done very well in managing their MP duties and an active law practice.
[Such as] MP Ellen Lee, MP Lim Biow Chuan, MP Edwin Tong, MP Vikram Nair, [among many others]
– Amrin Amin
Totally comfortable in his own skin
When prompted on how he will sell himself to the electorate during the General Election, Mr Amrin quipped that he will simply be himself, and continue the work he have been doing. Nonetheless, he assures the electorate that he will put in his best effort to serve the people if he is elected.
I had an ordinary life and was blessed to have extraordinary people around me. I hope to do some good by speaking up on issues close to my heart and that matter to others and to help others. I will do my best to help fellow citizens in need.
– Amrin Amin
Before ending the interview, Mr Amrin has some food for thought for all Singaporeans to reflect upon: in view of the coming General Election, how would you like Singapore to move from SG50?
Elections are always interesting. We also celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary this year. We have achieved a lot in the last 50 years. It is worth reflecting during the election hustings how we got to where we are today and where we would like to head.
– Amrin Amin
That’s Mr Amrin, the Sembawang candidate for the coming General Election for you, a constantly inspired and passionate gentleman.
Do expect more new candidates from the PAP to be unveiled in the coming weekends. In fact, the opposition teams may also join in fun of introducing their new candidates at respective constituencies as well.
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