Singapore, 28 Safar 1434 H/10 January 2013 (MINA) – Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would nominate Halimah Yacob, currently minister of state at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, as the Speaker of Parliament when Parliament opens session on Monday.
“I intend to nominate Mdm Halimah Yacob to be elected as the Speaker of Parliament when Parliament next sits on Jan 14th. I briefed PAP (People’s Action Party) MPs on this at a party caucus Tuesday afternoon, and received their full support,” Singaporean PM said in a press statement released by PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE on 8 January 2013 and received by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).
She will be the country’s first female Speaker.
Halimah, 58, will replace Michael Palmer, 44, who abruptly resigned last month after publicly confessing he had an extramarital affair with a community worker in the latest high-profile sex scandal to hit the city-state.
Halimah, who must resign from the cabinet before she takes up her new post, has extensive experience in the labour movement, social work and pre-school education.
“In cabinet, Halimah spoke up with a practical, compassionate voice, helping us to shape effective policies with a human touch,” Lee said in a statement.
Singapore’s small and diverse opposition parties have urged Lee to call a by-election in the Punggol East ward vacated by Palmer, a married father of one who said he quit “to avoid further embarrassment” to the ruling party and parliament.
The 87-member parliament is dominated by the People’s Action Party, which has governed the island-republic continuously since 1959. There are currently only six opposition members in parliament.
Here is the complete statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong:
I intend to nominate Mdm Halimah Yacob to be elected as the Speaker of Parliament when Parliament next sits on Jan 14th. I briefed PAP MPs on this at a party caucus this afternoon, and received their full support.
As the Speaker cannot be elected from members who are office holders, Mdm Halimah will be resigning as Minister of State (MOS) on 13 January 2013.
I wish to thank Mdm Halimah for her many valuable contributions in the Cabinet, and as MOS(Community Development, Youth and Sports) and subsequently MOS(Social and Family Development) over the past two years. In Cabinet, Halimah spoke up with a practical, compassionate voice, helping us to shape effective policies with a human touch.
In her portfolio, Halimah oversaw the expansion of home- and community-based eldercare services, and introduced innovative concepts such as Senior Care Centres and Senior Home Care Services. She enhanced ComCare support for the poor and needy, and strengthened services for children and families in need of care and protection. Halimah also worked with women’s groups to expand the space for women to contribute to our economy and society. She is passionate about these issues, and threw her heart and soul into the work, as she had done during her time in NTUC, tirelessly championing the cause of low-wage workers.
“I look 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,” PM Lee concluded his statement. (T/R-025/R-006)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)