SINGAPORE — Tucked away in a quiet nook of Yishun is an unassuming public housing flat that would probably enter Singapore political historical past.
The Housing and Growth Board (HDB) flat, in-built 1987, is dwelling to Madam Halimah Yacob, who on Sunday threw her hat into the ring for subsequent month’s Presidential Election.
The previous Speaker of Parliament, extensively thought-about the front-runner, advised reporters she was very comfy in her HDB dwelling and hopes to proceed dwelling there together with her household, as they’ve executed for over 20 years, even when she is elected to the highest workplace within the land.
Historically, the Istana serves because the official presidential residence and workplace. “I don’t see why I can’t proceed (dwelling in a HDB flat) until there are different concerns like safety, for example, as a result of I do know it may be fairly a nightmare to make sure safety in public housing,” the 62-year-old presidential hopeful advised reporters on Sunday evening. “Apart from that, I see no cause why I can’t proceed.”
A lot of her neighbours and shopkeepers in her neighbourhood agree. “That is public housing. She’s a public servant. There’s nothing unsuitable about her staying right here,” stated shopkeeper Lee Swee Seng, 53, whose 17-year-old provision store is frequented by Mdm Halimah’s relations for home items corresponding to bread or detergent.
Madam Susan Ho, 63, who lives two doorways down from Mdm Halimah’s household, agrees.
“If she wins, I’d be excited as a result of my neighbour on this HDB block can be the President,” stated Mdm Ho, who stays together with her daughter and son-in-law on weekdays, serving to to take care of her grandson.
“She’s very humble to remain in such a home. Most presidents would keep within the official residence,” Mdm Ho added.
Not everybody, nevertheless, is satisfied that it will be sensible for a President to dwell in a HDB flat.
“For safety causes, I don’t assume she will proceed staying right here if she turns into President,” stated a 46-year-old taxi driver who lives one ground above Mdm Halimah.
He declined to offer his identify, including that he felt it will be extra applicable for her to dwell in a non-public home.
Mdm Halimah and her household at present dwell in two adjoining HDB models in Yishun that they purchased on the resale market.
The presidential candidate is most frequently seen ready for her chauffeur on the void deck within the morning.
At different instances, she will be seen lugging groceries dwelling from Mr Lee’s provision store or the neighbourhood grocery store.
“Throughout Hari Raya this 12 months, she came to visit personally to share pastries corresponding to pineapple tarts and cookies,” stated Madam Chris Toh, 50, Mdm Halimah’s next-door neighbour. “Once we see her, we simply deal with her as a neighbour. She’s really an individual with no airs … (if she wins), I gained’t consider her as President,” added Mdm Toh.
Mr Lee, the shopkeeper, stated he has seen Mdm Halimah’s 5 kids develop up through the years. “They’re very well-mannered and can at all times ask after us whereas shopping for issues at our store,” he added.
The Presidential Election is because of be held subsequent month. The 2 different potential candidates to this point are Mr Mohamed Salleh Marican, chief government of Second Probability Properties, and Mr Farid Khan Kaim Khan, chairman of marine service supplier Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific.
Mdm Halimah would meet the eligibility standards for the elected presidency — having spent at the very least three years in a key public workplace — however Mr Farid and Mr Marican might not.
Amongst different issues, the 2 males’s respective corporations do not need at the very least S$500 million in shareholders’ fairness, which is required for private-sector candidates. The Presidential Elections Committee has the discretion to certify candidate who doesn’t robotically meet the standards can stand for election.
The approaching election has been reserved for the Malay group after modifications to the Elected Presidency scheme was handed in Parliament final November. It was to make sure that a reserved election might be triggered when a selected race has not had an elected consultant for 5 consecutive phrases. For now, the excitement of presidential politics has but to descend on this sleepy neighbourhood, the place acquainted every day routines and habits proceed uninterrupted.
Mdm Toh stated: “I’ll see (Mdm Halimah) climbing the steps as I take the elevate up. So I requested her, ‘Mdm, are you exercising?’ And he or she stated, ‘Sure, should train’.”