Singapore Prez to move out of public housing unit for security

Team Udayavani, Oct 3, 2017, 11:49 AM IST

Singapore:  Singapore’s newly elected President Halimah Yacob is moving out of her 30-year-old apartment, built under the public housing scheme, for security reasons, according to media reports. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has advised the president that “the security agencies face several challenges in ensuring her security and protection, if she continues to stay in her current home”.

“MHA has therefore strongly advised the president to consider moving to another place. This will enable the agencies to ensure her safety and security with greater assurance,” it added in a statement. After being declared President on September 13, Halimah, 63, had continued to live in the Yishun flat, making her Singapore’s first head of state to live in public housing while in office.

The sixth-floor apartment was the first property she and her husband, Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, 63, bought as newly- weds more than 30 years ago. They later made it a jumbo flat by combining the four- room unit with a neighbouring five-room flat they bought on the resale market. The president has described it as a “very nice, comfortable place” and lived there with her family.

She has two sons and three daughters, aged 26 to 36. Singapore’s past presidents had lived in private housing or at the Istana (The Presidential Palace) within the Central Business District. But Halimah’s decision to stay in the apartment had raised questions about security arrangements, according to media reports today. Ever since her election as the president, police have intensified security measures in the area.

An awning was put up at the foot of the apartment block of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in the Yishun housing estate, catering to the security and police cars requirements. More than 80 per cent of Singaporeans live in the state- built and subsidised apartments in HDB estates. In 1992, the HDB received the United Nations’ World Habitat Award for Tampines New Town, a successful public housing project, and its contribution to “innovation and successful human settlements.” 

The award identifies new outstanding human settlement projects to serve as examples for others to follow.

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