Speaker Halimah Yacob ‘thinking about’ running for Singaporean President this election

As Singapore gears up for the election of a new President in September, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob said that she is thinking about running for the Presidency.

Talking to reporters at a community event in Marsiling ward, she said, “I am thinking about it, about running for the presidency.”

She added, “The EP (elected presidency) is a very heavy responsibility and an important institution in Singapore, so it's not something that one should take lightly. The duties are also heavy duties. So I have been thinking about it. It needs a bit of time to think.”

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob.
Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob. Photo courtesy: gov.sg

Halimah said, “I must say at this moment I have a lot of duties that I have to perform as Speaker, as member of Parliament. Those duties are also very dear, very important to me. I need to consult my family, my colleagues. It's not a question that we can just I say, make a decision alone.”

This time, two persons have announced their bid for the Presidential post;  Farid Khan Kaim Khan, Bourbon Offshore Asia chairman and Mohamed Salleh Marican, CEO of Second Chance Properties. This year’s Presidential election, reserved for Malay candidates, will be held in September.

Reacting on Halimah’s comments, Farid Khan Kaim Khan said, “I welcome Madam Halimah's intention to contest in the upcoming Presidential Election.”

Farid is chairman of marine services provider company Bourbon Offshore Asia. According to a statement by Farid, the company operated a fleet of more than 500 vessels in 2016. It has about 9,300 employees in 45 countries.

Speaker of Singaporean Parliament Halimah, who has spent 40 years in public service, was in the National Trades Union Congress more than three decades, in various roles including Deputy Secretary-General. She also served as Minister of State at the then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports from May 2011 to January 2013, before assuming the position of Singapore’s ninth Speaker of Parliament.

Applications for the 2017 Presidential Election certificates opened on June. They will close five days after the writ of election is issued in August, ahead of the elections in September.

The prospective candidates seeking to fight the election must apply to the Community Committee for a Malay community certificate. The Malay community sub-committee, chaired by former Nominated Member of Parliament Imram Mohamed, will then assess the application.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome before Nomination Day. Incumbent President Tony Tan Keng Yam will complete his term of office on August 31.