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Mdm Halimah, Singapore's first woman Speaker, could make history again

SINGAPORE — Mdm Halimah Yacob, 62, has a long record of public service, having first entered politics as a Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC in 2001.

Mdm Halimah Yacob speaks to members of the media during the Marsiling National Day Dinner celebration held on Aug 6, 2017. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

Mdm Halimah Yacob speaks to members of the media during the Marsiling National Day Dinner celebration held on Aug 6, 2017. Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY

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SINGAPORE — Mdm Halimah Yacob, 62, has a long record of public service, having first entered politics as a Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC in 2001.

A decade later, she was made Minister of State (MOS) in the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in 2011. She held that portfolio for about a year, before moving on to the Ministry of Social and Family Development in 2012.

After former Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer stepped down abruptly in December 2012 due to an extramarital affair, Mdm Halimah became the first female Speaker in January 2013 — a post that she has held since.

During the General Election in 2015, Mdm Halimah moved out of Jurong GRC to contest in the newly-formed Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.

Prior to entering politics, Mdm Halimah studied law at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on a Muis scholarship, graduating with an honours degree in 1978. She received a Master of Laws from NUS in 2001.

Entering the workforce, Mdm Halimah joined the National Trades Union Congress as a legal officer. She climbed the ranks to become the director of the Legal Services Department and director of the Women’s Development Secretariat, and subsequently, Deputy Secretary-General of the labour movement.

On the international arena, Mdm Halimah, a mother of five, was the first Singaporean to be elected into the International Labour Organisation.

Among the aspirants who have declared their intention to contest in the Presidential Election (PE), Mdm Halimah is the only one who checks all the boxes of the eligibility criteria, having spent at least three years in a key public office.

If elected in the country’s inaugural reserved PE next month, she will become the Republic’s first female president.

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