If Indian Muslim Halimah Yacob can run for this “reserved” Presidential Election, a Chinese Muslim can also too


Yesterday (1 Jun), ST published a news report stating that PAP MP and Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob, is widely considered a front runner for the forthcoming Presidential Election.

It will be the first election reserved for candidates from the Malay community, following a recent review of the constitution.

According to the amended Singapore Constituion Section 19B, the Presidential Election will be reserved for a community if none of its members has held office of President for 5 or more consecutive terms.

“19B (1) An election for the office of President is reserved for a community if no person belonging to that community has held the office of President for any of the 5 most recent terms of office of the President.”

Sub-Section (6) defines a community:

“(6) In this Article, “community” means —
(a) the Chinese community;
(b) the Malay community; or
(c) the Indian or other minority communities;

‘person belonging to the Chinese community’ means any person who considers himself to be a member of the Chinese community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Chinese community by that community;
‘person belonging to the Malay community’ means any person, whether of the Malay race or otherwise, who considers himself to be a member of the Malay community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Malay community by that community;
‘person belonging to the Indian or other minority communities’ means any person of Indian origin who considers himself to be a member of the Indian community and who is generally accepted as a member of the Indian community by that community, or any person who belongs to any minority community other than the Malay or Indian community;”

Now, notice that in the case of Malay community, there is an addition clause added – “whether of the Malay race or otherwise”.

In other words, you don’t have to be a person of Malay race to be considered part of the Malay community. Persons of other race can also be considered part of the Malay community, presumably as long as he or she is a Muslim.

Halimah is an Indian Muslim

Take Mdm Halimah for example, she is actually not a Malay as her father is of Indian origin.

This was disclosed in an ST article in 2013 when Halimah was selected to be the new Speaker of Parliament after the former one, Michael Palmer, resigned from politics due to his marital affair with a PA woman.
ST did a write-up to feature Halimah (‘A strong advocate for workers, women and minorities‘, Jan 2013):

In the article, it mentioned: “Her (Halimah’s) Indian-Muslim father was a watchman who died when she was eight years old.”

In fact, news of Halimah becoming Singapore’s first woman speaker also made its way to India. The Hindu described her as an “Indian-origin politician” (‘Indian-origin politician to be Singapore’s first woman speaker‘):

So, what all this means is that in the coming Presidential Election which is reserved for the Malay community, a non-Malay person who is a Muslim can also contest.

If Halimah, an Indian Muslim qualifies as part of the Malay community, then a Chinese Muslim, for example, can qualify too.

Source: Facebook


  1. Dr. Tan can convert to muslim & be eligible to contest for the presidentship. Lhl purpose to made him uneligible to cover himself & wife secret from unlocking to the publics.

  2. So is it reserved for race or religion now?
    Why can’t people differenciate between race and religion? How about a Malay who is not a muslim?

    • even govt cannot make up their mind what is malay, if the race on the NRIC is not one’s race, den what is it, must form committee to determine

  3. What about the other way around – Malay but not Muslim?
    Religion should never mix with politics. Culture and race should never be confused with religion.

    • I agree 100% with you Rosie Awang. They keep twisting and turning everything to suit their agenda. The Sultan of Johor once said malay muslims must dress up in malay attire and not try to emulate Arabic dress code.

    • EL Gan yes. Have met Christian Malays but very very rare to know because we don’t go around asking people what’s their religion as part of conversation.

    • I did come across a Malay Buddhist years ago. Now Malay is a race. So accordingly Halimah should not qualify. On the other hand if there is a Malay but of a different religion or a free thinker qualifies. Here to what I see religion is not the essesnce. It is the race.

    • Addition to my comment, Halimah is actually a Jawi Peranakan, currently recognized in Penang but still has to make its acceptance in Singapore. During the colonial times, Muslim traders, labourers, missionaries etc of Arab, Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali, Achenese and different ancestry from Indonesia settled in Singapore, Malaysia and marry local folks.
      Nowadays, intermarriages among the races (including Malay) are common. With it comes a change of religious belief and dilution of mother tongue.
      How do we classify the race/religion of these group? They are not Malay nor Chinese, nor Indian nor Caucasian, nor Filipino.
      These new generations (which is a new reality) should just be called Singaporean. We should do away with race profiling.

    • Agree Rosie Awang, we should abolish the race classifications/divisions in Singapore, or even the world. It’s a nonsensical way for people to further divide themselves. For them to focus on their differences and then “fight” amongst themselves. Religion on the other hand is a different thing. Although I am a mix of races myself, my NRIC states that I’m a Malay. I don’t agree with that. I’m a human first then I’m a Malay. I’m a Muslim first then I’m a Malay. Malay is last on my priority.

    • EL Gan In Singapore, it is not a compulsory to be a muslim for Malay, likewise for Indonesia. But for Malaysia, you must be a muslim if you are Malay.

  4. They are Malays who are not Muslims in Singapore. But majority of Malays here are Muslims. Just as much there are Muslims of many ethnicity here and elsewhere around the world.

  5. I agree that a chinese muslim can qualify. But on the other hand religion is not a race. For example Catholics have many races. We are all catholics of different races. It’s the same with Buddhism. There are many Buddist of different races. Their logic has gone out the window.

  6. Regardless of race language or religion…. race is race. language is language . Religion is religion …Dont complicate further…

  7. What do you expect from those who can even change the Constitution to suit themselves? Malay or Muslim makes no difference. That’s only superficial to make them appear fair to all races but the real situation ‘elected’ candidate must echo what they say. Still don’t get it?

  8. I personally feel that this is the worst election in Singapore, kiasu, kiaxi and the seat is so well arranged for her until “so obvious”. What’s her “A” plan for our country ? Will she serve our country as our ppl president? Race, reserved, and now Malay community. Best we all get confused faster by all their terms and let them do what they want. This is their politics which is “different” from his father’s time. I hope Dr Tan Cheng Bock success sad sad sad.

  9. There’s a lot in the Malay community for this because Indian & Arab Muslims born before Independence adapt Malay traditions and consider themselves Malay. And during war time, Malays adopts a lot of babies from other races and raise them as a Malay. So its fair not to rule them out as Malays even if it not stated in their IC.

  10. No matter what! Quick! Dr Tan, get converted to Islam…otherwise they’ll twist & turn again saying you must be a new convert for 10 years or more! Knowing these sly wolves!!!!

  11. yes, an adopted Chinese who lived as a malay and married a malay cannot be said to be any less malay than an indian muslim. This whole thing had become a joke, I tot I will only see this in some country. How can a committee determined who is malay ornot where it is so vague. If they just to follow NRIC, there is NO need to form any committee in first place.

  12. This election is just too stressful and quite sickening suddenly with all these kind of news and rules about the race and religion. These things don’t matter to me. I have good kaki friends of all races and religions. So, to the candidates hoping for a shot at this PE, please be truthful to your conscience and to all Singaporeans. If you are not suitable, please don’t even apply for it. You can be a bigger person without being an unpopular president. And if you are suitable, please go for it and let us know more about you, so that we can vote you in.

  13. LHL just want a Malay president to be head of state for this round.
    To be head of state you really need to carry a lot of knowledge and facts of other countries.
    Don’t be a laughing stock if this president need to depend on subordinate to provide advice and information and even written speeches.
    So far what I know of the candidates is still not there.

  14. Haish, why malay only candidate …. This is nit what we want. What we want is a president who is real to us. Work for us, work with us. Have our backs, support us financially, give us his/her flying fuck for our well being. Give us what we essentially need. Hear our voices regardless race or religion

  15. They are capable to get their book worm scholars who are good in painting to paint till she chantek chantek like the one and only noble candidate for the president role. Hope she turns down the offer, to win a seat this way will she feel honored? It’s a shame.

  16. This whole situation is becoming stupid by the day. The government said they want malay to stand for EP they did not mention religion. Why bring in religion??

  17. Malay is a race and Muslim is a religion. Why is PAP stooping so low to win this PE? TCB should convert to Muslim in this case and see what’s PAP’s reaction.

  18. Seriously? Is she speaking as a public figure who cannot differentiate between ethnicity and religion? So in that capacity, a Hindu is Indian and a Taoist is Chinese?

  19. Why court for controversies in the first place? If the presidential election is open to all legible and qualified candidates this unhappiness will not arise.

  20. A Muslim is NOT automatically a Malay . Although , they are PART of the Malay / Muslim community . We LOVE them dearly .
    @ A person is considered a Malay if – – –
    The person speaks Malay
    Follow the Malay tradition / culture
    Considered himself / herself as a Malay.
    The Malay community accept them as a Malay
    Then , the person IS a Malay !
    Irrespective if their IC stated otherwise

    Two points – – –

    * Madam Halimah IS a Respectable Malay Muslimah .
    * Non-Malay Muslim to become a Singapore President , I’m sure Malays have NO qualms.
    Two points to note – – –
    * To disengage Malay / Muslim from any Public Office is a BIG mistake .
    * To bar Malay / Muslim from certain parts of the Army and the Navy is a BIG mistake .
    TOGETHERNESS is key .
    Then we can talk about The Pledge
    and Merits . .! : )

  21. Whose fault was it that there was no Malay candidates in the past four PE? Why did the hand behind nominating the four candidates not realised it? Or was it an oversight that had led candidate No 4 to be a Chinese?

  22. You are either Malay,Chinese,Indian or Caucasian…… When we categorize Muslims you can be any of the above races or others….Correct me if I’m wrong…

  23. When Race, Minority, Majority and Religion coming into an election and politic, as a whole! This is the worst start of a disastrous end! ! It is a timed bomb into the future! !

    It should not had happened in the first place, in whichever countries! Gosh! !

  24. Spore is part of the malay archipelago, which consist of basically the asean states in this region… Since u pricks open the floodgate to other malays frm around this region, why not elect any ahmad, ahmad & ahmad to be an EP? Not necessarily to be a muslim aint it?

  25. Some Chinese in Singapore, if traced back to China history are not even Han Chinese. At least the Manchurian in the north and the Yue in Fujian and Guangdong are not. Look, Hokkien and Cantonese people have more in common genetically with Vietnamese. So, ?

  26. Malay is a malay by race not by religion.
    Indian is an Indian by race n not by religion.
    If she can stand in for election.. Any Indian Muslims can too.

  27. Chinese and Indians always have the children following the Father as their race origin. I think Malay is same. Very contradicting when it is a community acceptance and not by register! Register is official with government system, law by law, community acceptance is subjective. Of course if the person is eminent, both communities will be proud to declare the person is in their communities! Then which? By sheer size of community? Now in a fix. The thing is did she take the form? Does she want to be the Elected President?

  28. Cannot understand why these peoples so dump until forgotten own race just to forsaken with religion.These are what we called blinded with religion.

  29. Yes, so what’s the big fuss? it doesn’t preclude someone who is of chinese race and accepted as a member of the Malay community to run for the presidency (e.g. chinese adopted by malay parents)… this has nothing to do with religion…

  30. One one hand they tell us to come together as one people, one nation.
    One the other, came up with this law that accentuate our differences and
    fly in the face of democratic principles.

  31. Are we picking up some bad political practices from our neibouring countries? I’m just wondering. I’m not too sure looking at the political development here.

    You tell me!?

  32. Normally she is Indian but during president erection, she is malay. PAP allows such flexibility as long as their people taking part.

  33. I hope Mdm Halimah should “not run away” from her constituents who have voted her to serve them. She, being an elected MP, must fullfil her promise to serve her consituents until the next GE. I mean how can she suka suka leave her constituents for another post (EP). She must wait for her turn for a PE post in the future. I hope this is not her plan and it will not come true.

  34. I don’t think it’s as simple as that. An Indian-Muslim will not qualify as a Malay as the person is Indian not Malay. In the case of Mdm Halimah, who if the article is to be believed, is part-Indian and part-Malay may as qualify due to her mothers lineage.

  35. Aiya all these just a idiotic game small people in politics who always like to play with their power when given to unite the nation regardless of religions & races but try hard to divide all different races & their interests. What a shameful government we now have? Democracy? Meritocracy? Freedom of speech? Our nation pledge is just bullshit! The purpose behind this EP champaign is so clear..how best singapore draining down the roads by this greedy pig?

  36. I does not matter which races as long they are not related to the pap..else how to safeguard the reserve? Look at the elected president that lost hundreds of billions yet qualified to safeguard the reserve and yet dare not to speak against his ex boss?

    BTW where is the safeguard when CPIB, Elected president, GIC, Temasek reporting to only one man? Do not understand nobody can see the risks to our hundreds of billions of reserve in one man hand?

    There should be a independent commitee not elected president to safeguard the reserve. Definitely there should be no conflict of interest in such a commitee as well.

  37. When she entered politics in 2001 as candidate for Jurong GRC (which require a minority candidate from Indian or other races)…. she and Tharman is recognised as the minority candidate (most likely Taman is the registered minority candidate).
    Subsequently in 2006 and 2011…. i think there wasnt an issue with minority status (whether is she malay or indian… as Tharman is the official minority candidate)
    However in 2016, Marsiling – Yew Tee GRC does requires a minority candidate from the Malay community and she was officially endorsed as that…thus no arguement needed now for the Presidential Election as she was already certified as a candidate from the Malay Community….. Is this correct?

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