Indian-origin politician to be Singapore’s first woman speaker

Published - January 08, 2013 11:50 pm IST - SINGAPORE:

Indian-origin politician Halimah Yacob (58) is set to become the first woman Speaker of Singapore’s Parliament next week replacing Michael Palmer, who was forced to quit over his extra-marital affair.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday said he would nominate Ms. Halimah as the next Speaker when the House sits on January 14, 2014.

Ms. Halimah, a former labour lawyer, is a Member of Parliament from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and has extensive experience in the labour movement, social work and pre-school education. She would be resigning as Minister of State (MOS) at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports on January 13 as office holders cannot be elected Speaker, said Mr. Lee in a statement.

The Speaker’s post fell vacant when Mr. Palmer, also a PAP MP, resigned last month for his involvement in an extra-marital affair. Ms. Halimah would be confirmed as Speaker as PAP has an absolute majority in the 99-member house. Mr. Lee said he has briefed PAP MPs and received their full support on his intention to nominate Ms. Halimah to the position.

Ms. Halimah, a mother of five, entered politics in 2001.

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