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Halimah Yacob elected Speaker of Parliament by MPs

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 3:01 PM Updated: Apr 18, 2013 10:20 PM
Mdm Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament, delivering her maiden speech in Parliament, Jan 14, 2013. --PHOTO: SHOT OFF TV

Madam Halimah Yacob was elected Speaker of Parliament today by MPs.

Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua nominated her, while Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Chris de Souza seconded the nomination.

After Madam Halimah then took her place in the Speakers' chair, Leader of the House Ng Eng Hen rose to speak, beginning with "Madam Speaker" - a phrase, he noted, that was being uttered for the first time in the House.

He praised her as an "active and ardent backbencher" who spoke up for low-wage workers, women and children and said that the former Minister of State for Social and Family Development would be missed in Government.

Her election as Speaker, he added, comes ahead of a busy legislative calendar for Parliament this year, including a debate on the Government's White Paper on Population. He said he expects her "firm and impartial hand" to move parliamentary debate towards fruitful outcomes.

Five other MPs rose to congratulate Madam Halimah. Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development and Defence Maliki Osman (East Coast GRC) said that the glass ceilings she has broken inspire Malay youth, while Minister of State for Transport and Finance Josephine Teo (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) said that she was a tireless champion for women and an internationally-respected unionist.

MPs also paid tribute to former Speaker Michael Palmer, who resigned last month for an extra-marital affair. They said that he presided over the House with dignity and decorum, and wished him and his family well.

Madam Halimah then rose to address MPs. She said that many members of the public expressed their concern that she could no longer advocate for them as Speaker. Although she can no longer join in Parliamentary debates, she promised to continue fighting for causes she believed in through other channels.