Singapore is About to Elect Their First Female President

Halimah Yacob, 63, is set to become Singapore’s first female president.

Among three hopefuls, Yacob was the only one issued a Certificate of Eligibility by the Presidential Elections Committee on Monday, resulting in a walkover.

She is expected to file her nomination papers on Wednesday. If all goes well, she will be declared president-elect and start her term the next day, according to The Straits Times.

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Five applications were submitted to contest the Presidential Election — reserved for the Malay community — before the Sept. 4 deadline. Two applicants were immediately disqualified after one declared himself Chinese and another did not identify as a member of any ethnic community, Today noted. Yacob will be the first Malay president in 47 years.

Yacob, who went with the slogan “Do Good Do Together,” then faced two contenders from the private sector: Salleh Marican, chief executive of Second Chance Properties, and Farid Khan, chairman of Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific.

Marican and Khan’s applications for the Certificate of Eligibility, however, were rejected on the grounds that their respective companies did not have an average of at least $500 million in shareholder equity over the last three years. Had their applications been approved, an election proceeds on Sept. 23.

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Yacob, who described herself as a “ponteng queen” in her earlier days, most recently served as Speaker and Member of Parliament.

She entered politics in 2001 at the encouragement of then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, whom she quoted as saying (via Channel NewsAsia), “Remember, you can perform a bigger role, in a different capacity, if you’re elected as a Member of Parliament.”

The youngest of five children, Yacob was born on Aug. 23, 1954. Her father died when she was 8. Since then, she helped out her mother to make ends meet.

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Yacob attended the National University of Singapore where she obtained a Bachelor of Laws, Honors (1981), Master of Laws (2001) and an honorary Doctor of Laws (2016). Prior to politics, she worked as a legal officer at Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) for over 30 years.

The mother of five is married to businessman Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, who happened to be her university sweetheart.

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