SINGAPORE: Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the People's Action Party Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Aug 7) accepted the resignation of Halimah Yacob from the PAP.
"Thank you for your letter resigning as a member of the PAP, and informing me of your decision to step down as Speaker and Member of Parliament (MP) in order to stand as a candidate for the Elected Presidency," he said in his letter to her.
"I accept your resignation ... Rest assured that I will soon appoint replacements to the various responsibilities that you have relinquished, and in particular a Grassroots Advisor to succeed you in Marsiling, so that the residents will continue to be well taken care of."
A separate statement from the Prime Minister's Office said Mr Lee will nominate a new Speaker when Parliament next meets.
"In the meantime, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Charles Chong, will serve as acting Speaker," it said.
A DIFFERENT CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE
Mr Lee thanked Mdm Halimah for her many contributions as a labour leader, an MP, as the Speaker, and as a Minister of State.
"In all these roles, your focus was on the rank and file and the underprivileged. Whether it was the rights of ordinary workers to fair employment and decent wages, opportunities for single mothers and children of poor families, or healthcare for the disabled and elderly, you were a consistent and fearless voice in the unions, the Parliament and the Government, pushing us all to build a more equitable society," Mr Lee said.
He expressed support for her bid, saying "I have no doubt that you will be able to play this different Constitutional role well. I am confident that if elected you will do your best, as you have always done, and will bring dignity and personal warmth, experience in government and concern for the people, to the highest office in the land."
Mdm Halimah had earlier on Monday submitted her letters of resignation from her roles as Speaker of Parliament and People’s Action Party Member of Parliament (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) after she confirmed on Sunday that she intends to contest the upcoming Presidential Election that has been reserved for Malay candidates.
She also tendered her resignation from the PAP "with immediate effect", which means she will also cease to be a member of the PAP Central Executive Committee and Chairperson of the PAP Seniors’ Group.
In her letter to Mr Lee, she said she had decided to contest the Presidential Election "after careful consideration and consultation with friends, colleagues and family members".
She added that leaving her residents who elected her as an MP will be tough but “in running for the Office of the Elected President, my passion and desire to serve the people continues".
"It is a heavy responsibility but I hope that with the support of Singaporeans, we can do more good together,” she said.