Sin­ga­pore names first woman president

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

AN es­tab­lish­ment fig­ure has been named Sin­ga­pore’s first fe­male president af­ter a “walkover” elec­tion that saw no vote af­ter no other con­tenders ran for the po­si­tion.

Hal­imah Ya­cob, a for­mer speaker of par­lia­ment from the Mus­lim Malay mi­nor­ity, did not have to face an elec­tion for the largely cer­e­mo­nial post orig­i­nally due this month af­ter au­thor­i­ties de­cided her ri­vals did not meet strict el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria. Ya­cob (63) is ex­pected to be sworn into of­fice to­day. Ya­cob is Sin­ga­pore’s first eth­nic Malay president in 47 years. Au­thor­i­ties had de­cided to al­low only can­di­dates from the Malay com­mu­nity to put them­selves for­ward for the pres­i­dency, a bid to fos­ter har­mony in the city-state of 5.5 mil­lion peo­ple which is dom­i­nated by eth­nic Chi­nese. The other two con­tenders, Salleh Mar­i­can and Farid Khan, were both de­nied el­i­gi­bil­ity, hav­ing fallen short of a con­sti­tu­tional rule that re­quired any can­di­date from the pri­vate sec­tor to have led a com­pany with share­holder eq­uity of at least 500m Sin­ga­pore dol­lars ($372m).

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment, Ya­cob thanked her sup­port­ers in a speech, call­ing it a “a proud mo­ment for Sin­ga­pore, for mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and multi-racial­ism.”

It was not the first time in the af­flu­ent city-state — which is tightly con­trolled and has been ruled by the same po­lit­i­cal party for decades — that the govern­ment has dis­qual­i­fied can­di­dates for the pres­i­dency, mak­ing an elec­tion un­nec­es­sary.

While some have ap­plauded the his­toric mo­ment, the elec­tion has also drawn pub­lic crit­i­cism due to what was seen as a lack of demo­cratic process.

Ya­cob, who wears a head­scarf, ad­dressed th­ese con­cerns, say­ing: “I am a president for ev­ery­one, re­gard­less of race, lan­guage, re­li­gion or creed. Al­though there’s no elec­tion, my com­mit­ment to serve you re­mains the same.”

The president is vested with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of over­see­ing the coun­try’s na­tional as­set re­serves, but does not hold any of the ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers of the prime min­is­ter or mem­bers of the cabi­net. — AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.