Flowers, badges, umbrellas: Show of support for Halimah Yacob from unionists, former residents at nomination centre

SINGAPORE - Madam Tng Moi Kee bought a bouquet of flowers from the market near her home in Marsiling for Madam Halimah Yacob, before going to support her former MP at Jalan Besar.

The 76-year-old retiree, who came with 10 friends, has volunteered with the residents' committee in her estate for many years.

She said of Madam Halimah: "She really takes care of us, she helps those who need things like wheelchairs, household appliances, tuition for children."

Hundreds of supporters like her gathered at the People's Association Headquarters on Wednesday (Sept 13), where Madam Halimah is set to be declared president-elect after she submits her paperwork for the presidential election.

Many came decked in orange, the colour chosen by her campaign as it represents unity. Some brought orange umbrellas emblazoned with a "H".

Cheers erupted when Madam Halimah and her campaign team arrived at the nomination centre.

"I came to support her because I'm really happy there will be a Malay woman president," said Madam Marmon Kamat, who is in her 70s and uses a wheelchair.

She and her husband Atan Ibrahim are from Ain Society, a cancer patient support group, where Madam Halimah is an adviser.

Madam Rohani Mohamad, 58, an executive council member of the Union of Telecoms Employees of Singapore, met Madam Halimah during courses.

"She came to speak during some of our courses, like one on how to work with the tripartite partners. She's very credible, very wise, when she speaks she gives facts and figures not just opinions," said Madam Rohani, a unionist for more than 40 years.

More than 500 unionists from about 45 unions turned up to support the former Speaker of Parliament, including those from the United Workers Of Electronic & Electrical Industries, Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Employees' Union and National Transport Workers' Union.

Said Labour MP Zainal Sapari: "Madam Halimah has done a lot for many workers, and we strongly believe she will make a good president."

Mr Vincent Teo, 71, bought a large bouquet of orange flowers for Madam Halimah, as well as 40 stalks of orange gerberas which he handed out to other residents from Buona Vista.

The grassroots leader, who met Madam Halimah several times at dialogue sessions, said: "I chose these flowers for her because the bright colour is like her, I hope she will bring brightness and cheer to Singapore."

He also hopes she can do more for the elderly as president: "Many people here are concerned about the economy and jobs, and more and more elderly are concerned about their future. I think she will make a difference because she is very caring. Through the conversations with the Prime Minister and Government she could give suggestions."

Sister Theresa Seow was Madam Halimah's resident in Bukit Batok, and met her more frequently when she was Minister of State for Community, Youth and Sports.

"She went from just being my MP to someone in the same social sector. We've become friends," said Sister Seow. "She's very concerned for the well being of our residents."