MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE LAUDS THE ENTRY OF SINGAPORE’S NEW PRESIDENT HE HALIMAH YACOB!

“In a region with peddlers of fascism, religious bigots, religious pretenders, proponents of race and religious superiority (Orang Kita Psyche) and extremists who double speak, it was simple and penetrating to hear HE speak about “doing good and together!”

MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE LAUDS THE ENTRY OF SINGAPORE’S NEW PRESIDENT HE HALIMAH YACOB!

In several jurisdiction around the world even today, despite huge progress made in gender equality, women are undermined, their full person hood and equal participation in society puts them at an increased risk and violence from both state and religious actors!

Family matters in countries as diverse as Iran, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are governed by religion-based personal status codes.

Many of these laws treat women essentially as legal minors under the eternal guardianship of their male family members.

Family decision-making is thought to be the exclusive domain of men, who enjoy by default the legal status of “head of household.”

These notions are supported by both by respective religious and family courts in the region that often reinforce the primacy of male decision-making power.

Are the trend and narrow archaic view to fetter and caveat women so that they remain just to be confined to the kitchen, for procreation and for sex?

Inexplicably, in some jurisdictions, since women are more qualified and educated, they are encouraged or allowed to work so that the partner can live off her, it is alleged!

This to this day and time, despite so many women having served as Presidents or Prime Ministers!

These actors are caught in a time warp no doubt!

Inexplicably, like their counterparts some were highly controversial; some were compromise candidates.
Some presided over peace; others over war.

Some were elected; some were appointed.

Some served briefly; others were elected; one, though elected, was prevented from serving.

There were cases where many followed into office their fathers or husbands; others were elected or appointed on their own reputations and political contributions.

One even followed her mother into politics, and her mother served a third term as prime minister, filling the office left vacant when the daughter took office as president!

Among these greats were Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan Prime Minister,Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar – despite winning prevented in assuming office!

Then there was both Khaleda Zia, and Sheikh Hasina Wajed,both taking office in Bangladesh, in turns.

And closer to home, were Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of founding head of state Sukarno, was selected as Indonesia’s fifth president in 2001,President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, of course, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Nepal, President, Park Geun-hye, South Korea Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand, President Pratibha Patil of India, Prime Minister Han Myung-sook of South Korea among some.

So to hear confirmation that former Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob is Singapore’s first female Malay president in more than 47 years, across the causeway is very exciting indeed!

Halimah, 62, is a great choice no doubt, with her vast experience and track record as a Speaker of Parliament for more than three years.

For the record, this year’s Presidential Election has been reserved for the Malay community, following changes to the Elected Presidency scheme passed by Parliament last November.

The changes allow for the election to be reserved for a particular ethnicity that has not had an elected representative for five consecutive terms.

President Yusof Ishak was Singapore’s first President and the only Malay to have held the office till he died in 1970.

I was rather touched by her sincerity when she remarked:
“I can only say that I promise to do the best that I can to serve the people of Singapore, and that doesn’t change whether there is an election or no election,” she told reporters Monday after she was certified as the only eligible candidate.

I was rather touched again by the simplicity and honesty of her campaign slogan — “Do Good, Do Together” — was widely panned by some as ungrammatical. She defended it as “very impactful.”

To me it was a genuine heartwarming reaching out to multi-racial religious Singapore and present challenging political atmosphere in the region and what better than to say- “Do Good, Do Together!”

In a region with peddlers of fascism, religious bigots, religious pretenders, proponents of race and religious superiority (Orang Kita Psyche) and extremists who double speak, it was simple and penetrating to hear HE speak about “doing good and together!”

It was political freshness no doubt!

I am rather excited and hope I get a chance to meet her during her term in office!