Speaker Halimah Yacob of Indian and Malay descent to run for elections, could become Singapore’s first female president

Should Mdm Halimah Yacob, 62, be elected to become the next President of Singapore, she would be set to make another first in the country's history.

She is currently the ninth Speaker of Parliment, having assumed the role in 2013 after the former Speaker Michael Palmer stepped down abruptly in December 2012 due to an extramarital affair, Todayonline said.  A politician of Indian and Malay descent, she was the first women to hold the post in Singapore's history, and the third consecutive Speaker belonging to a minority race. 

If elected in the inaugural reserved Presidential Election (PE) next month, Mdm Halimah will be the first female president in Singapore's history. 

Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob. Photo courtesy: Facebook
Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob. Photo courtesy: Facebook

Out of the three people who have announced their plans to contest, Mdm Halimah is the only who fulfills all the boxes of the eligibility criteria. Having first entered politics in 2001 as a Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC, she holds a long record of public service. 

“I’ve served a period of 40 years in public service… Taking part in the PE will allow me to continue with my service to the people of Singapore, including you, my Marsiling residents, although in a different capacity,” said Mdm Halimah at a National Day dinner for Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

She will be handing her resignation letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today, August 7, and step down as Speaker of Parliament and a Member of Parliament, as required by law. “I’ll ask the PM to ensure there are proper replacements for me quickly, especially in the Marsiling division, so there’s no disruption to you, my residents,” she said in her speech, according to Todayonline.

A mother of five, Mdm Halimah was also the first Singaporean to be elected into the International Labour Organisation.

The upcoming PE has been reserved for the Malay community. Changes had been made to the Elected Presidency scheme, which were passed in Parliament last November to ensure that a reserved election will be triggered when a particular race has not had an elected representative for five consecutive terms.