Monday August 7, 2017
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Halimah Yacob stepped down as Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) on Monday, to contest in the Presidential Election next month. — TODAY file picHalimah Yacob stepped down as Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) on Monday, to contest in the Presidential Election next month. — TODAY file picSINGAPORE, Aug 7 — Halimah Yacob has officially resigned from public office and the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), a day after confirming plans to contest the upcoming Presidential Election (PE).

Her campaign team released copies of her resignation letters today.

In a two-page letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is also the PAP’s secretary-general, Halimah requested for speedy replacements for the posts she is relinquishing - as Speaker of Parliament, and Member of Parliament in the Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency.

She is also stepping down as chairman of the PAP Marsiling branch and the party’s senior group, as well as a member of the party’s central executive committee.

“I will miss my residents, my constituency work and my role as Speaker. In running for the Office of the Elected President, my passion and desire to serve the people continues,” she said in her letter to PM Lee.

“It is a heavy responsibility but I hope that with the support of Singaporeans, we can do more good together,” added Halimah, 62.

In separate letters to Deputy Speaker Charles Chong and Clerk of Parliament Ng Sheau Jiuan, Halimah announced her resignation from her official posts, and thanked them for their support.

She broke the news of her candidacy to her residents first, at a National Day dinner for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC on Sunday night.

The coming PE has been reserved for the Malay community following changes to the Elected Presidency scheme, passed in Parliament last November to ensure that a reserved election will be triggered when a particular race has not had an elected representative for five consecutive terms.

Halimah’s announcement, coming three weeks after she said she was mulling over contesting, makes her the third person to have stepped forward for the election.

The two others who have announced their plans to contest are Mohamed Salleh Marican, chief executive of Second Chance Properties, and Farid Khan Kaim Khan, chairman of marine service provider Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific.

Political analysts have noted that Halimah would be a frontrunner given her track record in public service. She entered politics in 2001, and has been an MP in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC since the General Election in 2015.

She is, so far, the only one of the trio who would fulfil the PE eligibility criteria up front, having spent at least three years in a key public office. — TODAY

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