Updated: 01/09/2013 01:54

PM Lee to nominate Halimah Yacob to be elected as Speaker on Jan 14 sitting



PM Lee to nominate Halimah Yacob to be elected as Speaker on Jan 14 sitting

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will nominate Minister of State Halimah Yacob to be elected as Speaker of Parliament when the House next sits on Monday, January 14. 

If elected, she'll be Singapore's first woman Speaker and will fill the post vacated by former Member of Parliament, Mr Michael Palmer, who stepped down last month due to an extramarital affair. 

The Prime Minister's Office announced this in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier in the afternoon, Mr Lee briefed Members of Parliament of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) on this at a party caucus and received their full support. 

As the Speaker cannot be elected from members who are office holders, Mdm Halimah will resign as Minister of State (MOS) on 13 January. 

Mr Lee thanked Mdm Halimah for her many valuable contributions in the Cabinet, and as MOS for Community Development, Youth and Sports and subsequently for Social and Family Development over the past two years. 

He said in Cabinet, she spoke up with a practical, compassionate voice, helping to shape effective policies with a human touch. 

In her portfolio, she oversaw the expansion of home- and community-based eldercare services, and introduced innovative concepts such as Senior Care Centres and Senior Home Care Services. 

Mr Lee said she enhanced ComCare support for the poor and needy, and strengthened services for children and families in need of care and protection. 

She also worked with women's groups to expand the space for women to contribute to Singapore's economy and society. 

He described her as passionate about these issues, saying she threw her heart and soul into the work, as she had done during her time in the National Trades Union Congress, tirelessly championing the cause of low-wage workers. 

Mr Lee said he looks forward to Mdm Halimah continuing her interest in social issues and pre-school education, in a suitable capacity that is compatible with her role as Speaker. 

Mdm Halimah, who said she's deeply honoured to be nominated, has pledged to do her best to uphold the integrity and dignity of Parliament, and to conduct proceedings in a fair and impartial manner. 

She said she's aware of the high demands and the heavy responsibilities of the office and looks forward to working with all MPs. 

"I really love what I am doing now, and I had been working with so many wonderful people who champion the different causes, be it the disadvantaged, the elderly or women and children. I am glad that even if I am elected, I will be able to continue work on some of these areas such as social issues and pre-school education," she said in a statement.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing described Mdm Halimah as a wonderful partner at the ministry, as well as a torch bearer - with a passionate and tireless style. 

He said he has always benefited from her frank counsel. 

Mr Chan, who said he knew of Mdm Halimah's nomination with both joy and sadness, added that he and his colleagues will miss her. 

"I would also like to congratulate Halimah on her nomination to be our first woman Speaker. I am heartened that I will have an opportunity to continue to work with her," he said.

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