Halimah Yacob to be declared president after noon

Madam Halimah, who will be declared president-elect today, will address supporters gathered at the People's Association Headquarters. Madam Halimah Yacob, surrounded by key members of her team, writing a letter to thank Singaporeans for their show of
Madam Halimah Yacob, surrounded by key members of her team, writing a letter to thank Singaporeans for their show of strong support. She said in the letter that she was deeply touched by the words of encouragement and good wishes from many people.PHOTOS: COURTESY OF HALIMAH YACOB
Madam Halimah, who will be declared president-elect today, will address supporters gathered at the People's Association Headquarters. Madam Halimah Yacob, surrounded by key members of her team, writing a letter to thank Singaporeans for their show of
Madam Halimah Yacob, surrounded by key members of her team, writing a letter to thank Singaporeans for their show of strong support. She said in the letter (above) that she was deeply touched by the words of encouragement and good wishes from many people.PHOTOS: COURTESY OF HALIMAH YACOB
Madam Halimah, who will be declared president-elect today, will address supporters gathered at the People's Association Headquarters. Madam Halimah Yacob, surrounded by key members of her team, writing a letter to thank Singaporeans for their show of
Madam Halimah, who will be declared president-elect today, will address supporters gathered at the People's Association Headquarters.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Former residents, unionists and other supporters expected at nomination centre to cheer her on

The field at the People's Association Headquarters in Jalan Besar will be a sea of orange as supporters turn up bearing banners and flowers today to cheer on the woman set to be Singapore's next president in a walkover.

Well over 1,000 unionists, residents and other supporters are expected at the nomination centre where Madam Halimah Yacob will submit her paperwork for the presidential election after 11am.

"I am looking forward to filing my nomination papers. This is the procedural part which I have to fulfil," Madam Halimah, 63, told The Straits Times yesterday. "My work will start immediately after that."

Today, after she files her papers, returning officer Ng Wai Choong will declare her the president-elect after noon.

She will be flanked by her proposer, seconder and assentors, and address her supporters. They will come from all walks of life - a reflection of Madam Halimah's four decades in public service.

Many will be in orange - a colour she chose as it represents unity.

Unionists and bigwigs from the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will be out in full force to stand by "Sister Halimah", their long-time comrade in fighting for workers' rights. She started her career in the labour movement in 1978, and left as deputy secretary- general in 2011.

Residents from her former wards of Bukit Batok East and Marsiling, where she was MP for the past 16 years, plan to make their way across the island to wish her well. And representatives from diverse community and faith groups, many of whom she visited over the past few weeks, will join voices to cheer her on as she embarks on the task of unifying the nation as its president.

On Monday, Madam Halimah was the only hopeful declared eligible to contest the first reserved presidential election by the Presidential Elections Committee, as she had held the key post of Speaker of Parliament since 2013.

She resigned from the post, as MP and from the People's Action Party last month to stand for the election.

This morning, Madam Halimah will arrive at the NTUC Centre downtown to meet key members of her team, including NTUC president Mary Liew and veteran unionist G. Muthukumarasamy, before heading to the nomination centre.

At Jalan Besar, about 50 members of the United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries (UWEEI) - armed with banners, whistles and clappers - will be ready "bright and early" at 9.30am, half an hour before the nomination centre opens, said council member Sukartini Mawar. She said it is the least they can do for Madam Halimah, who was UWEEI's executive secretary from 2004 to 2011, and is still its adviser.

"She has always been there for us, speaking up for us and making sure women and low-wage workers are not left behind," said Madam Sukartini, 46. "Now, it is our turn to show that we are there for her."

 
 

Taoist Federation chairman Tan Thiam Lye will turn up with about seven others to reciprocate Madam Halimah's visit to their headquarters last month.

This show of support, added Madam Halimah's election agent Mohamed Irshad, the founder of interfaith harmony group Roses of Peace, is proof of her ability to inspire people from all walks of life.

Travelling all the way from Bukit Batok East will be retired deliveryman Roland Tan, 63, who will have a bouquet of flowers in hand.

He hopes to get the chance to shake the hand of his former MP of 14 years, and get a photo with Singapore's first woman president.

"It is one for the history books. She was a very friendly MP, cheerful and always there," he said.

"I was sad when she was moved to Marsiling in the 2015 General Election, but now she can look after everyone - all Singaporeans - as president."

SEE EDITORIAL

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2017, with the headline 'Halimah to be declared president after noon'. Print Edition | Subscribe