Sunday, September 17, 2017

Halima Yacob becomes first women president of Singapore: Malay Muslim woman, daughter of Indian man at the helm

The daughter of an Indian father and a Malay mother, has become the President of Singapore.

Halimah Yacob, who is a a Malay Muslim minority and was the parliament speaker till recently, had quit the position last month.

On Thursday, she took over as the republic’s first woman president and the second Malay ever in the island republic to hold office as head of state.

 Her father was an Indian Muslim. He was a watchman. She was just eight when her father died. Halimah, 63, was born in Singapore. Her mother was a Malay.

A lawyer, Halimah practiced in the Singapore bar. Her husband Abdullah Alhabshee is a Malay. They have five children. Halimah was associated with People's Action Party.

There has been opposition to Halimah's election from certain quarters and it was termed that this was not a voter's election. Also, her race and her father's Indian link, was made an issue.

The last Malay president was Yusof Ishak. He held the office from 1965 till 1970, when he died. Though a ceremonial post, it has immense significance attached to it.

The premier, Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong, said that in the Chinese-majority, multiracial city state of 5.6 million people, it was “important that minorities have a chance to be elected president, and that this happens regularly”.