Today - - HOT NEWS -

Se­cu­rity mea­sures have been stepped up around Madam hal­imah Ya­cob’s pub­lic hous­ing block at Yishun Av­enue 4 yes­ter­day, as she pre­pares to be sworn in as Sin­ga­pore’s eighth Pres­i­dent to­day.

When to­DAY vis­ited her home yes­ter­day evening, two po­lice of­fi­cers were seen sta­tioned out­side.

one of them was sit­ting at the lift lobby, while the other stood guard out­side her flat.

in ad­di­tion, two park­ing lots near the lift land­ing, de­mar­cated by red signs, have also been re­served for po­lice ve­hi­cles.

neigh­bours told to­DAY that th­ese changes took place hours af­ter Mdm hal­imah was de­clared Pres­i­dent-elect yes­ter­day.

Mr tan Kim Boon, a 56-year-old tech­ni­cian who lives just a cou­ple of doors from Mdm hal­imah’s cor­ner unit, said: “it was sur­pris­ing at first to see of­fi­cers at the lift lobby when i stepped out of the lift. i thought some­thing hap­pened. But we found out that the of­fi­cers are there to pro­tect her. i think the res­i­dents un­der­stand. the se­cu­rity mea­sures don’t re­ally in­con­ve­nience us.”An­other res­i­dent, Mr Lim eng Seng, a 57-year-old safety of­fi­cer who lives one floor above her unit, said: “When i left the house in the morn­ing, they hadn’t marked the park­ing lots yet. i saw it when i came back from work. i’ve been liv­ing here for so long and it’s a safe neigh­bour­hood, but i un­der­stand why she needs ex­tra se­cu­rity. the mea­sures also don’t in­con­ve­nience us, so we have noth­ing to com­plain about.”

Mr Lim added: “if she wants to con­tinue liv­ing here, good for her. the neigh­bours don’t dis­turb her any­way.”

Af­ter she was de­clared Pres­i­dent-elect yes­ter­day, Mdm hal­imah had re­it­er­ated to re­porters that she would like to con­tinue liv­ing in her hous­ing and De­vel­op­ment Board (hDB) flat, a break from tra­di­tion where the head of state would re­side at the is­tana.

When asked if there could be se­cu­rity con­cerns with such an ar­range­ment, Mdm hal­imah said that she would leave such is­sues to those in charge.

“i think they know how to se­cure the area,” she said.

tra­di­tion­ally, the is­tana serves as the of­fi­cial pres­i­den­tial res­i­dence and of­fice.

Mdm hal­imah added yes­ter­day that liv­ing at the hDB block helped her to stay fit as she would try to take the stairs when pos­si­ble. SIAU MING EN, FARIS MOKhTAR

Photo: RAj nADARAjAn

Park­ing lots have been re­served for po­lice ve­hi­cles at Mdm Hal­imah’s HDB block in Yishun.

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