Mr Yeoh Lam KeongMr Yeoh Lam Keong
 is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies. He is a prominent economist in Singapore and is heavily involved in public policy research.

Mr Yeoh worked as a senior economist and strategist at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation for 26 years where he was Director of Economics and Strategy and Chief Economist. He is an active public policy commentator and analyst and has been an advisor to a number of research institutes in Singapore including the Singapore Centre for Applied Policy Economics (SCAPE) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Singapore Management University (SMU) faculty of economics, and the government feedback unit REACH. He is also a fellow of the Singapore Civil Service College (CSC).

Recently, Mr Yeoh is the talk of the town for his controversial series of articles, “Behind Singapore Inc.”

Mr Yeoh graduated with a BSc (Econs) and MSc (Econs) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is married with two children.

NizamMr Mohd Nizam Ismail is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA). He is also the Chairman of the 3rd National Convention of Singapore Muslim Professionals. He is heavily involved in community leadership and development, being the Founding President of Young AMP from 2004 to 2009, and Chairman of AMP from 2009 to 2011.

His vast experience in the legal field includes senior Vice President and Head of Compliance for Southeast Asia of Lehman Brothers and Senior Legal Counsel of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank. He is currently the Executive Director and Head of Compliance for Southeast Asia of Morgan Stanley.

Mr Nizam regularly gives talks and seminars on youth activism and the economic development and openness of the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore.

faizal_120x160Dr Faizal bin Yahya is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and, at the same time, an Assistant Professor in the South Asian Studies Programme of the Faculty of Arts and Social Scienes at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Dr Faizal has also served in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (International Policy) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as a Foreign Service Officer. He was a member of the Singapore Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1998 and was also involved in multilateral meetings dealing with environmental issues.

His research interests include human capital, social capital, multicultural and societal issues. He sits on the Board of Directors of RIMA.

halijahMs Halijah Mohamad graduated with a law degree from National University of Singapore in September 1983.

Since February 1994, she has been the sole proprietor of her law firm which specializes in family law, both civil and syariah law. She is a member of Singapore Association of Women Lawyers, UNIFEM, and the newly formed Muslim Financial Planning Association. She has been an active member of AWARE since 1986. As a member of AWARE, she was involved in various representations which led to amendments of various legislations including the Women’s Charter and Penal Code. In 1999, she assisted in drafting the Amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Rules. In 2007, as Co Chairperson of the Muslim Law Practice Committee (Law Society), she and 2 other lawyers prepared a position paper on Enforcement of Syariah Court Orders, which contributed to amendments made in the practice and procedure on enforcement of Syariah Court Orders. In 2005-2006, she was part of AWARE’s team which prepared and submitted a position paper on Child Sex Tourism which led to amendments in the Penal Code, making it an offence for Singaporeans, residents and organizations to be involved in  sexual activities with children overseas. In 2006-2007 she was part of AWARE’s team which prepared and submitted the Shadow Report for CEDAW. In 2007/2008, she was part of the team which prepared and submitted AWARE’s position paper on Sexual Harassment at the Workplace.



2012-09-09 02:24:13


A former chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) yesterday critiqued the “myth of meritocracy” at the core of the Singapore system.

Mr Nizam Ismail, 45, also took issue with Minister of State Halimah Yacob’s National Day Rally speech, saying it suggested that the reason the Malay-Muslim community has not succeeded “as much as we can is because we did not work hard”.

Her statement took a “very broad-brush approach” that ignored real problems, he said, adding that meritocracy glosses over social inequality.

Mr Nizam was speaking at an AMP dialogue on the National Day Rally.

He pointed to “stubborn gaps” that the Malay-Muslim community faces in education and issues like juvenile delinquency and high divorce rates. Without addressing inequality, these gaps will widen, he said.

In his view, meritocracy also breeds elitism when those who succeed think they deserve it and look down on those who fail.

“I fear that perception is already ingrained in the minds of our policymakers,” he said.

He suggested it was time to look at some forms of affirmative action.

Three other speakers spoke at the forum, including Economic Society vice-president Yeoh Lam Keong, who said the Malay-Muslim community’s economic vulnerability at the bottom of the income ladder is its Achilles’ heel. It threatens to undermine its main strength – strong social cohesion.

He called for the Government to move back to its old stance of “thoughtful government intervention” in public service areas where the market does not do a good job. He named six key social policy areas which need rethinking and restructuring: the social security system and safety net, public housing, education, health care, public infrastructure and transportation, and population and immigration policies.

Mr Yeoh said public housing used to be affordable, with flats priced at two to three times annual income. Now, as a result of public housing being pegged to market prices, it has become markedly more unaffordable and threatens to become even more so.

He referred to former senior parliamentary secretary Mohamad Maidin Packer’s open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Mr Maidin had touched on housing and immigration to warn of the eroding social compact and trust between Government and people.

Agreeing strongly, Mr Yeoh said if wide-ranging social reforms in these areas are not put in place, “unfortunately, one of the most relatively negatively affected are likely to be members of the Malay-Muslim community”.

Dr Faizal Yahya of the Institute of Policy Studies warned that with many Malays working in the manufacturing sector, there will be implications as Singapore moves to a service and knowledge-based economy.

Also discussed yesterday was Our Singapore Conversation. Mr Nizam and lawyer and Aware activist Halijah Mohamad said the conversation should include alternative views and the voices of civil society.

Separately, the Singapore Democratic Party also held a forum yesterday to discuss issues faced by the Malay-Muslim community and the role it plays in Singapore’s future.

RIMA’s Post-National Day Rally Forum

A Report by the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA)

Click the link below to read the abridged transcription report

Post National Day Rally Forum Report























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