Her defeat in the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency electoral battle means that “the score (for female full Cabinet ministers) has now dropped back to zero again” but Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said she would continue to encourage women to participate in politics.
Mrs Lim, who is concurrently Second Minister for Finance and Transport, is also optimistic that “it won’t be too long” before Singapore sees another female full Cabinet minister.
“For the two-odd years that I was a minister, I can see the positive impact that it’s had in terms of role-modelling, in terms of signalling to women out there that women can also play a key role in the highest levels of government,” said Mrs Lim, adding that she was “sure” this would be taken into consideration when the People’s Action Party (PAP) drew up the new Cabinet, or future ones.
Asked who among the current crop of elected women Members of Parliament (MPs) have the greatest potential to be appointed ministership – Ms Grace Fu and Dr Amy Khor have been mooted as possible candidates – Mrs Lim declined to pick a name, adding that her “personal strong belief” is that there should be no quota on the number of women ministers.
Mrs Lim, who heads the PAP Women’s Wing, said she would still contribute to women’s causes, particularly in work-life issues. She added: “Even though I may not be an MP anymore, I’m still someone who cares about the future of Singapore and I feel deeply about some of the challenges that women, especially working mothers, face. So I will look at the different ways that I can contribute.” Teo Xuanwei