Self-help groups pledge full support for President

Congratulatory messages continued to pour in yesterday for Madam Halimah Yacob, who this week became Singapore's eighth President.

The four ethnic-based self-help groups, in a joint statement, pledged their full support for Madam Halimah in building a "better home and a better future for all Singaporeans".

They will continue to explore opportunities to work together and ramp up their outreach efforts, they said, responding to her call for Singaporeans to look out for one another and help their fellow citizens.

They are also confident that the veteran former unionist, who over the past four decades has spoken up for families, women and workers, will continue to champion these causes.

"An embodiment of excellence, true grit and determination, Madam Halimah's wide repertoire of knowledge and experience will serve her well in her new role," they added.

The heads of the four groups also paid tribute to Madam Halimah, who is Singapore's first woman president and second Malay president after 47 years, and said they were certain she would be a unifying force for the nation.

Mr Pok Cheng Chong, executive director of the Chinese Development Assistance Council, said: "We are confident that she will be a president who champions the well-being of all Singaporeans."

"We are also confident that she will continue to support the self-help groups in uplifting the less privileged in our communities and contributing to the continued success of multiracial Singapore."

Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) chief executive officer K. Barathan said Madam Halimah has been a role model in caring for all communities, and he is confident she would keep on championing the needs of all Singaporeans with renewed passion, dedication and vigour. "Given her wealth of experience, a stronger and more cohesive nation will be fostered under her leadership," he said.

This was echoed by Mendaki CEO Rahayu Buang, who was confident Madam Halimah will put her heart and soul as President into bringing communities together.

"In the various projects that she was adviser to, Madam Halimah had been instrumental in bringing together expertise within the community to help provide innovative solutions and ideas," she added.

Eurasian Association president Benett Theseira said: "With passion for the nation, her commitment to service and helping people, we will strive towards great heights together."

Muslim welfare organisation Jamiyah Singapore also congratulated the new President in a letter.

"You have done all Singaporeans proud by becoming the first woman president in the history of our nation," said Jamiyah president Hasbi Abu Bakar.

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2017, with the headline 'Self-help groups pledge full support for President'. Subscribe