Halimah: 'Heartland President'

Security officers outside Madam Halimah Yacob's home in Yishun yesterday. The 12-storey HDB block built in 1987 has been home to Madam Halimah and her family for more than two decades, and she has lived there throughout her 16-year political career.
Security officers outside Madam Halimah Yacob's home in Yishun yesterday. The 12-storey HDB block built in 1987 has been home to Madam Halimah and her family for more than two decades, and she has lived there throughout her 16-year political career.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

More than 1,000 unionists, former constituents and members of the public will turn up at the People's Association (PA) Headquarters in King George's Avenue this morning to support Madam Halimah Yacob as she files her nomination papers for the presidential election.

These include residents from her former wards of Bukit Batok East and Marsiling, where she was MP for the past 16 years.

The 63-year-old will be elected unopposed as she was the only contender declared eligible to run by the Presidential Elections Committee on Monday, having been Speaker of Parliament since 2013.

She and her team members will gather at NTUC Centre this morning before heading to the PA Headquarters, the designated nomination centre, to submit her papers.

Shortly after noon, returning officer Ng Wai Choong will declare her the president-elect.

Madam Halimah will then address supporters, many of whom will be in orange - a colour that represents unity.

DOING THEM PROUD

This is very special because she will be Singapore's first woman president, and we are very proud that someone like her who lives in an HDB flat in Yishun could become president.

MR LEE SWEE SENG, HDB provision shop owner.

In a handwritten note posted on her Facebook page last night, she thanked Singaporeans for their strong show of support for her. She added she was deeply touched by the words of encouragement and good wishes from many people.

"I will serve Singapore and Singaporeans with great passion and commitment. I invite you to join me in making Singapore a great place by Doing Good, Doing Together," she said, referring to her campaign slogan.

Yesterday, residents in the Yishun neighbourhood where she has lived for over two decades - throughout her 16-year political career - seemed excited at the prospect of having someone from the HDB heartland representing them in the Istana, although some wondered if they might see less of her, given her new role.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2017, with the headline 'Halimah: 'Heartland President''. Print Edition | Subscribe