SINGAPORE: Madam Halimah Yacob will be the first woman to become Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament, if elected.
This is to fill the post vacated by former Member of Parliament, Mr Michael Palmer, who stepped down last month due to an extramarital affair.
However, she will have to relinquish political office as she’s currently Minister of State for Social and Family Development.
Madam Halimah Yacob entered politics in 2001 when she was elected MP for Jurong GRC. After the 2011 General Election, she was made Minister of State for then—Community Development, Youth and Sports.
Her portfolio — including child care and the social service sector — remained unchanged after the ministry’s restructure into the new Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Fifty—eight—year—old Madam Halimah is known as a labour MP, with 34 years in the labour movement.
In her 2011 campaign video, she championed low—wage worker issue and she said: "We’ve all seen how globalisation has affected incomes, particularly those who’re low—skilled, income has stagnated. But those who have higher qualifications, better capabilities, their incomes will continue to rise. So one of those things I’m really happy about is that over the last few years, we’ve been focusing a lot on how to upskill and help our low—income, low—skilled workers to improve their lives."
Before taking up political office, she took charge of women’s affairs at NTUC, and worked closely with union leaders as their legal advisor.
She held various posts at NTUC as deputy secretary general, director of the Legal Services Department, director of the Women’s Development Secretariat and executive secretary of the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries.
A lawyer by training, Madam Halimah holds a Master of Law Degree from the National University of Singapore.
Her international credentials include serving on the governing body of the Geneva—based International Labour Organization.
She’s also involved in the Malay community, having sat on the board of organisations like the Young Women Muslim Association and the Malay Teachers Co—operative.
Madam Halimah is married with five children.
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