Halimah Yacob became Singapore’s first female president on the 13th of September 2017. This makes her the 12th woman to serve as president in the Asian continent.
Her Excellency has been in Singapore’s political scene for more than a decade with a good record of impartial service. Born on the 23rd of August 1954 to an Indian father and a Malaysian mother, she came from an average family. Following the death of her father when she was eight years old, she was raised by her mother.
The president attended the all-girls Chinese school in Singapore and Tanjong Katong Girls’ School. She had her tertiary education in the National University of Singapore in 1978 where she gained an LLB (Hons) degree. It took Yacob some added years to gain an LLM degree at the National University of Singapore (2001), and six years later she was conferred an honorary Doctor of Law degree from NUS (July 2016).
Prior to gaining her LLM degree Yacob was called to the Singapore Bar in 1981 and started a career afterward.
In 1992, she became the director of legal services department in the National Trades Union Congress after she had worked as a legal officer for years.
But she had a passion for politics and was ready to take her steps one at a time. In 1999, Yacob was appointed as a director of the Singapore Institute of Labour Studies.
However, destiny kept on calling for her and the more it calls the more her heart yearned. She finally took a bold step in the year 2001 when she joined the political field to serve her country.
Yacob was elected as a member of parliament in the Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) of Singapore in 2001.
Becoming an MP in Singapore was the beginning of a practical journey to the top. she was appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports on account of the result of the 2011 general election.
Yacob was dedicated to service and was recognized for good work, this caused her to receive a promotion as Minister of State at the Ministry of Social and Family Development after a cabinet reshuffle in November 2012.
Yacob continued to move forward breaking records and upgrading status, serving at different post and positions with results to show for them.
Having served as the Chair of Jurong Town Council, she was also appointed as first female Speaker of Parliament, being appointed in the 14 January 2013 after she was nominated by the Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to succeed the former speaker Michael Palmer who resigned following rumors of an extramarital affair.
Yacob was known for standing out on any issue, no wonder she was always the preferred choice when decisions arise on whom should ascend a position.
Finally, she decided to up her game, she declared on the 13 of August 2017 that she will be stepping down as a speaker to contest for 2017 Singapore presidential election. The news was huge to every hearer by the matriarch was serious about it.
The position was almost impossible for her since she was not a Malaysian by birth, her father was Indian. There were all other controversies that stood against her decision of becoming the president but she was strong to withstand every opposition until 13 of September when the electoral commission announced her as the only eligible candidate for the presidency.
President Halimah Yacob has made history as the very first female president of Singapore and the twelfth female president of Asia. She is married to Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee and has five children.