HE President Halimah Yacob
President of Singapore
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HE President Halimah Yacob
President of Singapore

Halimah Yacob became Singapore’s eighth, and first female, President in September 2017 when she was elected unopposed.

 

Birth: 23 August 1954 (Age: 68)

Source of Influence: Political

Influence: Political

School of Thought: Sunni

Status: Featured in current year

Influence

Halimah Yacob became Singapore’s eighth, and first female, President in September 2017 when she was elected unopposed.

Election: A former speaker of Parliament, she gave up her parliamentary seat and position with the ruling People’s Action Party to run for Pres­ident. The government’s criteria for the current Pres­ident, including that the President must be an ethnic Malay, meant that Yacob was unopposed and became President unelected, a process which has drawn some criticism.

Background: Halimah Yacob comes from hum­ble beginnings, being raised by her Malay mother after her Indian father passed away when she was eight years old. Her mother struggled to raise her five children and Halimah almost neglected her school studies because of the need to help out at home. She was successful at school and continued to obtain her law degree and master’s in law from the National University of Singapore. She then went on to work at the National Trades Union Congress before becom­ing Director of the Singapore Institute of Labour Studies.

Political career: She entered politics in 2001 and a decade later was appointed Minister of Commu­nity Development, Youth and Sports and later on Minister of Social and Family Development. She was elected Speaker of Parliament in 2013, becoming the first woman to hold the post. As President she has promoted initiatives for supporting a cohesive socie­ty, strengthening interfaith and recognising all work­ers who contribute to Singapore’s growth. She has a strong international profile, regularly meeting world leaders.

Advocate: In 2019, she advocated for companies to embrace gender equality during her speech at the Women’s Forum Asia. She has also publicly condemned local media for offensive remarks against women and asked those responsible to apologise.