Halimah Yacob becomes Singapore's first female Speaker

Halimah Yacob was elected as Singapore's first female Speaker during Parliament's first session of the year Monday afternoon.

Nominated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Halimah takes the post after her predecessor, Michael Palmer, 44, resigned in disgrace in December after admitting to an extra-marital affair.

As Speaker, Halimah, 58, will preside over the sittings of the House and enforce rules prescribed in the standing orders of Parliament for the orderly conduct of parliamentary business.

She resigned from her post as Minister of State for the Ministry of Social and Family Development effective Sunday as the Speaker cannot be elected from Members of Parliament who are office holders.

Lee described Halimah, who had been part of his Cabinet for almost two years, as someone who spoke "with a practical, compassionate voice, helping us to shape effective policies with a human touch".

As someone associated with driving family development and women's issues, Halimah is seen as a safe choice for the ruling People's Action Party after the sex scandal involving Palmer.

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