Union lead­ers, other sup­port­ers turn out in an or­ange show of sup­port

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Par­lia­ment (MP) for Pasir Ris-Pung­gol GRC and ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of the Build­ing Con­struc­tion and Tim­ber In­dus­tries Em­ploy­ees Union, said: “Mdm Hal­imah has done a lot for many work­ers and we strongly be­lieve that she will make a good pres­i­dent.”

Res­i­dents from the Mar­sil­ing-Yew Tee con­stituency also trav­elled to the Nom­i­na­tion Cen­tre yes­ter­day to show their sup­port for Mdm Hal­imah, who used to be their MP.

Mr Rasid Ibrahim, 65, an en­gi­neer at the Sin­ga­pore Turf Club, said he is glad to have a Pres­i­dent who is “no stranger to us”.

Re­call­ing her pres­ence in the con­stituency as an MP, he said: “She al­ways goes to a cof­fee shop (in Mar­sil­ing) for din­ner or break­fast. Once, I saw her hav­ing In­dian ro­jak be­cause she at­tended an event nearby.”

Dressed in an or­ange linen suit, Ms Angie Ng, 63, is one of the few mem­bers of the pub­lic who chose to wit­ness the of­fi­cial dec­la­ra­tion of Sin­ga­pore’s “first lady Pres­i­dent”.

Ms Ng, who is semi-re­tired, said: “As women, we must show our sup­port. Hope­fully, Hal­imah can show Sin­ga­pore­ans that she has the ca­pa­bil­ity to do even bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents.”

Ad­min­is­tra­tive worker Alvin Lee, 40, said: “It’s sig­nif­i­cant that she (would) be the first fe­male Pres­i­dent. Even the United States didn’t (achieve that).”

In the crowd were also a few who re­spect Mdm Hal­imah, but do not nec­es­sar­ily agree with her be­com­ing Pres­i­dent. Mr Rah­man Sidik, 78, told TO­DAY: “There is no vot­ing (for this pres­i­dency) ... That’s no good for her and Sin­ga­pore­ans.”

How­ever, the re­tiree said that he re­spects Mdm Hal­imah for be­ing some­one who rose up the ranks “step by step” from a hum­ble back­ground.

Pro­ceed­ings at the nom­i­na­tion cen­tre were largely smooth yes­ter­day, bar­ring a brief com­mo­tion when for­mer pri­vate tu­tor Ooi Boon Ewe, 76, asked to be let in to ap­ply as a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

He was stopped by se­cu­rity per­son­nel, and some shout­ing en­sued. He was seen be­ing es­corted away by staff mem­bers at the cen­tre.

Af­ter mak­ing her in­au­gu­ral speech as Pres­i­dent-elect, Mdm Hal­imah spent close to 20 min­utes min­gling with the crowd and thank­ing her sup­port­ers.

She hugged some of them, and signed au­to­graphs for those who asked for one.

Just as she was be­ing whisked away by her min­ders at the end of the day’s en­gage­ments, her hus­band, Mr Mo­hammed Ab­dul­lah Al­hab­shee, 63, told re­porters: “She will be the peo­ple’s Pres­i­dent.” AD­DI­TIONAL RE­PORT­ING BY SIAU MING EN

Photo: Koh Mui Fong

Madam Hal­imah Ya­cob sup­port­ers cheer­ing at the open field of the Nom­i­na­tion Cen­tre at Peo­ple’s As­so­ci­a­tion head­quar­ters at King Ge­orge’s Av­enue yes­ter­day.

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