“It’s not a question that you can just make a decision alone” — Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob
PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN
"Madam Speaker" Halimah Yacob indicated yesterday that she will consider becoming Singapore's first "Madam President".
After months of deflecting questions from the media and Singaporeans, she admitted that she has been thinking of running for the highest office in the land.
Widely tipped to be a frontrunner in the reserved election to be held in September, Madam Halimah, 62, told reporters on the sidelines of an event at her Marsiling ward that she was "honoured and humbled" to be considered.
She said: "The elected presidency is a very heavy responsibility and an important institution in Singapore, so it's not something that one should take lightly... so it needs a bit of time to think."
The mother of five adult children said she has discussed the presidency with her family and colleagues.
"It's not a question that you can just make a decision alone," she added.
Madam Halimah's expression of interest comes after Bourbon Offshore Asia chairman Farid Khan Kaim Khan, 62, announced his bid last Tuesday. Second Chance Properties CEO Mohamed Salleh Marican, 67, threw his hat into the ring last month.
He has been working at Singapore-based Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific for more than 10 years, and is married with two children.
The firm, which employs about 800 workers in the region, is part of French company Bourbon, which has more than 10,000 employees.
Mr Farid is also the director of several other entities, including Greenship Holdings, which is also in the marine sector.
The Straits Times understands that the shareholder equity of Greenship Holdings is about US$200 million (S$277 million), while that of Bourbon Offshore Asia Pacific is more than US$300 million. 
PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN
Picture posted by Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, on 17 June 2017 at 5:00 am SGT
Nadia Marican believes that her father has the qualities to become a good President.
When asked about her father’s attributes that would put him in good stead to be the President of Singapore, Nadia was effusive in her praise for him.
“The majority of Singaporeans prefer their president to be apolitical and my father represents that. I am confident that he stands a good chance, given that he is a man of honour and integrity and has the leadership qualities to be president,” said Nadia.
“He has a pragmatic approach to life and has a soft heart. He is a man who is generous in sharing knowledge with others. These are the qualities needed for a president,” she added.
Radiah agreed with her sister, saying her father is a natural leader at home, in business and that he could be the same at the Istana.
“I believe he has the leadership qualities that would make him a great President. On top of that, my dad is as Singaporean as can be, someone we can all relate to,” she said.
Salleh’s ability to turn around his company when the odds were stacked against him could inspire Singaporeans and convince them that he is the right man to become a “People’s President”, Nadia said.
“If he wins, I will be the proudest daughter in the world. Who knows, maybe the tea party in the (Istana) garden might come true!” she quipped. 
Photo: Safhras Khan/Yahoo Singapore
Madam Halimah is the only candidate so far who fulfils all the qualifications.
The other two, who are from the private sector, do not meet the criterion of running a company with at least $500 million in shareholder equity.
Madam Halimah meets the public sector service requirement of holding office for a period of three or more years as Speaker of Parliament.
Picture posted by Nhan Dan Newspaper on Wednesday, 01 April 2015 at 21:37:23 pm
The co-anchor of the four-member Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, with National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, will have to vacate her seat if she runs for president.
The Constitution does not allow a presidential candidate to belong to a political party on the date of nomination for election.
In 1993, the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong resigned from the People's Action Party, the Cabinet and the National Trade Unions Congress to eventually become Singapore's first popularly elected president. He was then the deputy prime minister and MP for Toa Payoh.
As the fifth president of the Republic of Singapore, Ong Teng Cheong was our first head of state to be popularly elected through the people’s vote in the 1993 presidential election.
Fondly remembered after his death as “the people’s president”, 08 February 2016 marked the 14th anniversary of his passing. 
Picture posted by Belmont Lay on 09 February 2016
During the presidential election debate in February, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing told Parliament that a by-election would not be called if a minority candidate left a GRC.
The loss of a minority MP will leave 24 minority MPs out of 89 - more than the minority proportion in Singapore, he said in a reply to a question by Workers' Party MP Pritam Singh.
When The New Paper spoke to 10 residents of Madam Halimah's ward yesterday, all of them, except a 24-year-old woman who works in advertising, knew her as their MP and supported her bid.
They did not think their lives would be affected by Madam Halimah stepping down as MP.
Political watchers think that her popularity and public sector track record would enhance her chances of winning.
Dr Mustafa Izzuddin said that stepping down from her current roles will be a "trade-off", but Singaporeans would largely view it positively as the presidency is a much higher calling with greater responsibility.
The ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute fellow does not think her close link to the Government will hurt her chances.
Speaker of Parliament Madam Halimah Yacob (in pink headdress) wishing residents in one of her constituencies in Marsiling during an Iftar session.
TNP PHOTO: DALENE LOW
Picture posted by Hariz Baharudin, Reporter, 23 June 2017 at 06:00 am
"She is known to speak her mind and think independently as an MP, and has shown that she can rise above partisan politics as Speaker of Parliament," he added.
National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser, however, thinks that her close links to the ruling party, and some negative vibes about the reserved election and the question of who is the first elected president, may work against her.
Nonetheless, he said, most people by now would not be surprised by Madam Halimah's announcement.
One of Madam Halimah's constituents, Madam Anchela Ramasamy, 59, a cleaner, said: "I am sad but also proud of her. It's too bad she can only be either my MP or the president."
At the NUS Commencement main ceremony on Thursday (07 July 2016), Mdm Halimah became the 26th person to be conferred the honour, which is NUS’ highest form of recognition for outstanding individuals who have had a significant impact on the community and NUS.
Other luminaries who have been similarly honoured include former Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, and Mdm Halimah, who holds a Bachelor and Master of Laws from NUS, said she was “deeply honoured and also very humbled” by the conferment.
NUS president, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, said: “An NUS Law alumna, Mdm Halimah has made her mark through her commitment and dedication to the labour movement, and her strong advocacy of women’s rights and the Malay community.” 
President Tony Tan (right) conferred the Honorary Doctor of Laws on Madam Halimah Yacob (left), Speaker of the Singapore Parliament, during the NUS Commencement 2016 on 07 July 2016.
Photo: Wee Teck Hian
Picture posted by Regina Marie Lee on 07 July 2016 at 11:35 AM
 Linette Heng, Reporter, The New Paper, Halimah mulling over presidency bid, posted on 17 July 2017 at 06:00 am, http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/halimah-mulling-over-presidency-bid
 Safhras Khan, Yahoo News Singapore, Family of presidential hopeful Salleh Marican gears up for election campaign, posted on 20 June 2017, https://www.yahoo.com/news/family-presidential-hopeful-salleh-marican-gears-election-campaign-112444292.html
 Regina Marie Lee, Unstinting dedication to causes earns Halimah Yacob NUS honorary doctorate, posted on 07 July 2016 at 11:35 AM, http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/halimah-yacob-receives-nus-honorary-doctorate-distinguished-career-and-service
 Belmont Lay, In memory: Ong Teng Cheong, S’pore’s only people’s president, passed away 14 years ago, posted on 09 February 2016, http://mothership.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ong-teng-cheong-PE-1993.jpg