Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Halimah set to be President: 'Let's work together for a stronger Singapore'

Halimah Yacob greets supporters at People's Association headquarters in Singapore on Sept. 13 2017 Halimah Yacob greets supporters at People's Association headquarters in Singapore on Sept. 13 2017
Stacy Diaz | 13 September, 2017, 01:06

The former Speaker of Parliament was the only candidate declared eligible to contest in the first presidential election (PE) reserved for those in the Malay community by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) yesterday.

The election process that resulted in Singapore likely naming its first female president, Halimah Yacob, drew an outpouring of criticism on Tuesday.

The 63-year-old politician is the youngest of five children, raised by a single mom who worked as a food cart seller. That can not be said of Madam Halimah, who, despite of her claim to not be serving any political party after stepping down as Speaker of Parliament just about a month ago, would always be seen to be beholden to her supposedly erstwhile political masters. She resigned from that post in August. An Independent Commission appointed by the Elected President should look into every attempt of amendment made to the Constitution and the Elected President should also be vested with Veto power to such amendment with the advice of the Commission.

This year's Presidential Election has been reserved for the Malay community, following changes to the Elected Presidency scheme passed by Parliament last November.

"In that respect, reserving this next election for the Malays is appropriate - unfortunately, because of these circumstances around the world which Singapore is caught up in", Tan said.

The ELD had earlier said that only one individual had qualified for the PE.

Of the four other applicants, two were not Malays and two were not given certificates of eligibility, the elections department said.

President Yusof Ishak was Singapore's first President and the only Malay to have held the office till he died in 1970. They were required to have managed a company with shareholder equity of at least S$500 million (HK$2.9 billion).

Richard C. Paddock is a New York Times writer. "They can not go about arbitrarily awarding eligibility certificates just because a contest is ideal", he added.

Although Yacob is set to make history for Singapore as a hijab-wearing woman, the city-state still has bans against hijabs in some government schools and public sector jobs.

She replied, "One of the main focus and function of the elected president is to act as a unifying force".

"Obviously there is work that I have to do, but the most important thing for me is I would like Singaporeans to work together with me", she said, according to Channel News Asia.