Does Halimah Yacob fit the bill to be Singapore’s first female President?

via The New Paper

Presidential Election 2017 will only take place in September but some have already placed their bets on Madam Speaker, Halimah Yacob.

via The New Paper

The narrative on Singapore having her first female President was reinforced when Minister for Prime Minister Office, Chan Chun Sing, mistakenly addressed her as Madam President in Parliament. (Well, it seemed like a honest mistake.)

Anyway, wouldn’t it be a cause for celebration if Singapore really ends up with her first female President? All the feminist advocate groups would be the first to rejoice!

Madam Halimah would make a highly qualified candidate, based on the eligibility criteria for Presidential Election.

Not only was she the first Singaporean to be elected into the International Labour Organization (ILO), she was also the first Malay woman member of Parliament in 45 years.

Not forgetting her latest achievement as the first female Speaker of Parliament (ever in Singapore’s history) since 2013.

Here’s a more elaborate look at her credentials.


1978: Graduated from the University of Singapore (now known as NUS) with an honours degree in Law. She was on a MUIS scholarship. Accepted her first job offer as a legal officer in NTUC.

1989: Executive Secretary of United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries; Assistant Director of NTUC’s Research Unit – now known as Industrial Relations Unit)

1990: Assistant Director of NTUC’s Legal department and Secretary of Singapore Institute of Labour Studies

1992: Director of NTUC’s legal services department and Director of NTUC’s Women’s Development Secretariat

1999: Became the Director of the Singapore Institute of Labour Studies (now known as the Ong Teng Cheong Institute in NTUC), Assistant Secretary-General of NTUC

2000: Became Worker’s Vice Chairperson of the Standards Committee of the ILO, representing workers globally to make sure that employers and governments comply with labour standards

2001: Attained her Masters in Law. Named the first woman “Achiever of the Year” by Berita Harian/McDonalds. The award is given to individuals who have contributed significantly to the Malay/Muslim community. First Malay woman to be elected an MP in 45 years.

2003: Became Workers’ Spokesperson for the ILO Tripartite Committee on Human Resource Development.

2004: Named Her World Magazine’s “Woman of the Year”

2007: Deputy Secretary-General of NTUC

2013 – Present: First female Speaker of Singapore’s Parliament

Global recognition

If this isn’t impressive enough, check out what a German member said to Madam Halimah at one of the ILO conferences.

“I must congratulate you because you’re the first Southeast Asian woman to become the spokesperson for workers. And most definitely the first Muslim woman.”

Surely this means something for Singapore.


Source: Her World plus, Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame, NLB

Image credit: The New Paper

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