Friday, September 15, 2017

Opinion: Let’s give President-elect Madam Halimah Yacob a chance to prove herself

I can fully understand the unhappiness expressed by some Singaporeans over the elected president contest as they feel that they have been deprived of choosing a President of their choice (“Lack of presidential contest disappointing; September 13, 2017, MediaCorp TODAY newspaper).  

A contest would have been good as it would have given Singaporeans the opportunity to vote for someone whom they believe in – and can represent them here and on the world stage.  Some of our people were upset with the process of the EP and as rightly observed by ESM Goh Chok Tong, this election was unpopular.

However, now that a decision has been made, we need to respect that, and give Madam Halimah Yacob a chance to prove herself.  A dynamic politician or leader Someone who shows compassion and empathy and is willing to discuss matters on any subjects no matter how thorny the issues are.Someone who shows compassion and empathy and is willing to discuss matters on any subjects no matter how thorny the issues are. is  someone  who shows compassion and empathy and is willing to speak up on any subject no matter how thorny the issue is.  To the best of my knowledge, I know that this lady is one such person. Madam Halimah has often spoken out passionately on workers welfare and providing support for the marginalised in our society. She did this during her tenure as unionist, minister of state and member of parliament – and has always been a humble person.


Having served 6 months as a volunteer on the management committee of Club Heal – a Muslim Voluntary Welfare Organisation, Madam Halimah gave her time to be Patron of this VWO where a tireless advocate and locum doctor Dr Radiah Salim helped set up Club Heal for the pupose of  reaching out to Muslims and also other races grappling with mental health issues, I could clearly see that she feels so much for those facing challenges and adversities in their lives. Despite her busy schedules, she would always find the time to attend to Club Heal events where she would mingle freely with the patients and their family members.  As a MP, she rendered unflagging support to her residents and that is why they adore her. Give her the opportunity to widen her support to the whole of Singapore.

Madam Halimah is undoubtedly a people’s person as she is humble and mixes well with Singaporeans from all walks of life, irrespective of their status in society.  With such positive energy, I have every confidence that Madam Halimah will also be able to become People’s President. Can't  we give her a chance?

The other two candidates who are successful businessmen, Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican , the founder and chief executive officer of second chance properties   and Mr Farid Khan Kaim Khan, chairman of offshore marine service provider Bourbon Offshore Asia  both of whom mentioned earlier that they wanted to serve all Singaporeans but expressed disappointment of not being able to contest the presidential election can still serve Singaporeans by considering to set up a charity each to help the needy in Singapore.  They can work with President -elect Madam Halimah on this matter, and I am sure she will appreciate the gesture. And so, will all Singaporeans.

It is so true that we are living in a very uncertain world with terrorism striking anytime and everywhere plus the threat of war breaking out as North Korea intensifies efforts to build nuclear bombs and carry out missile tests. 

Closer to home, there are many people who are unable to cope with the stresses of life and manage their temperament. Online venom is damaging lives and I am glad that Judicial Commissioner Aedit Abdullah chided netizens for disparaging online comments directed at a 22-year old intern who was raped. Then there was a fighting incident in St Hilda’s Secondary School and a naked man that was filmed walking around in Tampines, leading netizens to pass insensitive comments without realising for one moment that the man could be grabbling with a mental issue that has gone untreated.

It is no easy task for our government and the community to tackle these and worldwide problems. But I have every confidence that we, as a cohesive society, can overcome these challenges if: (1) We stay united as one people, one nation, Singapore (2) Trusting in the power of prayer because practicing a faith helps a great deal (3) Help the government by being active citizens in proposing useful and workable suggestions to build a better society. This is where the forum editors of newspapers should lend support to writers who submit their thoughts/views (4) Embracing graciousness and positive energy. Perhaps a campaign on this can prove useful.

I offer my heartiest congratulations to Madam Halimah Yacob on her appointment as President of Singapore. Although she has limited powers, with her compassion for the less fortunate in our society, I am sure she can advise and influence the government to lend support to this group who are in dire need of support.



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