Singapore Welcomes a New President Despite No Election

Singapore Welcomes a New President Despite No Election

Yacob is Singapore's first ethnic Malay president in 47 years.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has lauded the impending appointment of PAP's Halimah Yacob as the eighth president of Singapore, hailing her achievement as a significant milestone for women as well as Malay-Muslims.

"From the age of 10, my hours outside of school were spent being my mother's assistant: cleaning, washing, clearing tables and serving customers, and I am a better person for it", Halimah wrote about her hard childhood in a self-penned biography on her website.

It was intended that the people should be able to choose the representative they want to see safeguarding Singapore's reserves and upholding the integrity of the public service, as these are important tasks.

Halimah, a former member of the ruling People's Action Party, entered politics in 2001. However, the candidates needed to comply with new rules about providing minorities with representation in the Chinese-majority Singapore.

But there was already unease about the process as it was the first time that the presidency had been reserved for a particular race, in this case the Malay community.

Since she's the only candidate, the elections scheduled for September 23 were cancelled and she will be appointed president on Wednesday. They were required to have managed a company with shareholder equity of at least S$500 million (HK$2.9 billion).

She also insisted her status as Singapore's first female president was "not just tokenism", in a speech to a cheering crowd while wearing orange, a colour supposed to symbolise unity.

"All Singaporeans are unhappy that meritocracy and electoral fairness, core Singaporean values, have been eroded to fulfil perceived political goals", writer and political commentator Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh told the AFP news agency.

This was not the first time in Singapore that the government disqualified candidates for the presidency, making a poll unnecessary. Yusof Ishak was Singapore's first President and the only Malay to have held this prestigious office.

Singapore's population is 74% Chinese, 13% Malay, 9% Indian and 3.2% are the ambiguously named "Others". A case in point is Yacob herself, who while standing as a Malay, is reported to have an Indian father. "I think probably if my life had been a lot easier, I would not be where I am", Halimah added.