Halimah Yacob to be Speaker of Parliament: PM Lee

UPDATED (3:40pm 8 January 2013. Adds PM Lee's confirmation on the selection of Halimah Yacob as Speaker of Parliament)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would nominate Minister of State Halimah Yacob as the next Speaker of Parliament in the next sitting Monday.

Halimah will resign from her post at the Ministry of Social and Family Development on Sunday as the Speaker cannot be elected from Members of Parliament who are office holders, Lee said in a statement Tuesday.

He briefed MPs from the ruling People's Action Party in a caucus in the afternoon and received their full support, he added.

"I look forward to Mdm Halimah continuing her interest in social issues and pre-school education, in a suitable capacity that is compatible with her role as Speaker," he said.

He thanked Halimah for her contributions over the past two years, saying that as part of his cabinet she spoke "with a practical, compassionate voice, helping us to shape effective policies with a human touch".

He noted that in her portfolio, Halimah oversaw the expansion of home-and community-based eldercare services, and introduced senior care and senior home care centres, as well as enhanced support for the poor and needy.

"Halimah also worked with women's groups to expand the space for women to contribute to our economy and society. She is passionate about these issues, and threw her heart and soul into the work, as she had done during her time in NTUC, tirelessly championing the cause of low-wage workers," he pointed out.

Once elected, Halimah will be the first woman in the city-state to hold the post of Speaker.

The speakership became vacant after Michael Palmer resigned last month from the ruling People's Action Party over an extra-marital affair.

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