Halimah Yacob

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Halimah Yacob

President of Singapore
Halimah Yacob became Singapore’s eighth, and first female, President in September 2017 when she was elected unopposed.

Influence: Political

School of Thought: Sunni

Status: Featured in current year

Election: A former speaker of Parliament she gave up her parliamentary seat and position with the ruling People’s Action Party to run for President. The government’s criteria for the current President, including that the President must be an ethnic Malay, meant that Yacob was unopposed and became President unelected, a process which has drawn some criticism. She is the first ethnic Malay President for 47 years.

Background: Halimah Yacob came from humble beginnings, being raised by her Malay mother after her Indian father passed away when she 8 years old. She qualified as a lawyer before moving to work at the National Trades Union Congress, and then becoming Director of the Singapore Institute of Labour Studies She entered politics in 2001 and a decade later was appointed Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports and later on Minister of Social and Family Development.