In a Facebook post on Sunday (8 Nov), President Halimah Yacob congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory in a hard fought election.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden was declared a winner of the United States (US) presidential election with 279 electoral votes, defeating the Republican candidate and the incumbent Donald Trump in an election that left many across the country with bated breath.
In her congratulatory post, Madam Halimah expressed that Mr Biden is a “good friend of Singapore”. She recalled their warm meeting at a working dinner hosted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong back in July 2013, when the former Vice President under Barack Obama’s administration visited Singapore with his wife, Dr Jill Biden.
She also acknowledged Ms Harris’ appointment as America’s first female, black, and South Asian Vice President, noting that it is a “historic moment for women minorities in the US, and around the world”.
“Vice President-elect Harris has shown that one should never be constrained by glass ceilings. Throughout her long and distinguished career in public office, she was not afraid of breaking barriers, achieving many ‘firsts’ along the way,” said Madam Halimah.
“This latest appointment caps a high point for her. Yet she is humble and often attributes her success to the hard work of those who came before her. Vice President-elect Harris continues to be an inspiration to many young ladies around the world,” she added.
Following this, Singapore People’s Party (SPP) member Khan Osman Sulaiman took to his Facebook on Monday (9 Nov) to put his two cents in what Madam Halimah had said in her post, particularly on the notion of “glass ceiling” which she cited for Ms Harris’ achievements.
Mr Osman, who was part of the SPP team that contested in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in GE2020, asserted that the problem in Singapore is that the glass ceiling is “installed by the Government itself”, and Madam Halimah is “part of that government”.
“For example, it is a well known secret that that glass ceiling exists in the RSAF [Republic of Singapore Air Force] for the Malays. To deny the existence of the glass ceiling in RSAF means you are divorced from the reality,” he explained.
Mr Osman went on to say that Ms Harris was able to achieve her successful win by the votes from the American people, all of whom are not constrained by any policy that excludes a particular race.
“In Singapore, that glass ceiling is in place, and no amount of knocking will break it unless the Government itself (the policy makers) decides to abolish it, and select capable people by merits instead of a prejudice mind,” he remarked.
Mr Osman concluded his post saying that if it were up to the people of Singapore to choose a Prime Minister, fair to say Singaporeans would have had a non-Chinese Prime Minister a long time ago.