KUALA LUMPUR • The presidential bid by Singapore's former Speaker Halimah Yacob has attracted attention from both sides of the political spectrum in Malaysia, who have commended her credentials as a capable leader.
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had on Aug 12 called on the women's wing of Umno to pray that she wins.
And yesterday, the No. 2 leader of opposition Parti Amanah Negara, Mr Salahuddin Ayub, said the Malays in Singapore have risen through their own effort and praised Madam Halimah as someone who is "truly qualified and is capable".
Datuk Seri Zahid, speaking at the opening of the annual meeting of Johor Umno's Parit Sulong division on Aug 12, said his party is committed to fielding more women candidates at the next general election.
He said many countries have had women playing leading roles and Malaysia aims to do the same, Bernama news agency reported him as saying.
"In Bangladesh, they had as prime minister Khaleda Zia, (then there's) president of Indonesia Megawati Sukarnoputri... God willing, (former) Speaker of Singapore Parliament Halimah Yacob will become president of Singapore, we pray together for this."
Amanah's deputy president Salahuddin, speaking at its women's meeting yesterday, praised both Singapore's Malay community and Madam Halimah.
He said, as quoted by news site Malaysiakini: "The racial rhetorics played up in our country, particularly through government propaganda, they say 'what will happen tomorrow if the government were to change? Malays here will end up like Malays in Singapore.'
"Hello! Wake up. This is no longer the time. The Malays in Singapore today have enough money (on their own)," he said, citing funds collected through Mendaki for the education of Singaporean Malays. "They struggled to gain merit and not become a race that thrives on sympathy or a 'subsidy race' which is the practice here."
He also praised Madam Halimah for rising to become the Speaker on her own merit and not based on her gender.
"Singapore appreciates and uplifts the women of Singapore... She (Halimah) is truly qualified and is capable. A woman who has undergone the processes in the political world. A woman who is great and is able to prove her worth anywhere she is," Mr Salahuddin said, as quoted by Malaysiakini.