Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Singapore's First Woman Speaker

Halimah Yacob: I am deeply honoured by nomination
8th January 2013
Madam Halimah Yacob said she is “deeply honoured” to be nominated as Speaker of Parliament.
In a statement issued shortly after her nomination was revealed on Tuesday, she said that if she is elected by the MPs on Monday, she would do her best to “uphold the integrity and dignity of our august Parliament, and to conduct proceedings in a fair and impartial manner”.
She added that she was aware of the high demand and responsibilities of the office.
Madam Halimah said that even if she becomes Speaker, she will continue working for the causes she believes in.
“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.
Her nomination as Speaker caps a glittering 30-year career in the labour movement.
After graduating with a law degree from the National University of Singapore in 1978, she grabbed the first job offer that came her way and became a legal officer at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
There she became known for being a unionist with heart, a reputation she cemented with her performance in Parliament after she joined politics in 2001. She stood out as a brave advocate for workers, women and minorities, impressing with her passion and persistence.
When she first entered politics, she was billed as a crowd favourite, known for her grassroots appeal, unflappable mien, high emotional quotient and independent streak.
Colleagues dubbed her a “walking labour law dictionary”.
As the only MP to wear a tudung back then, Madam Halimah Yacob shrugged off initial concerns about how that might colour people’s perceptions of her.
In a previous interview, she indicated that her appearance, race and gender had not been obstacles in her career and public life.
“I think they (residents) see beyond what’s covering my head. I think what’s important is what’s in here (she points to her heart).”

Source: The Straits Times' Singapolitics

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