Madam Zuraidah Abdullah (54) challenges stereotypes and shatters glass ceilings on a daily basis. She’s feisty, disciplined, admirable and determined. During an interview with the Home Team, she said: “At the age of nine, my mother told me to decide for myself what’s good for me… And that’s what I did”.
In 2007, Madam Zuraidah became the first woman in 40 years to be part of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) committee. During her career, she has steadily risen through the ranks. She started as the first Malay graduate and sixth woman in the Singapore Police Force and moved on to be the first female Commander of the Airport Police Division (APD). In 1991, she received the Commissioner Police’s High Commendation Award. In 2004, she was appointed as the Head of Operations of Central Police Division, Commander of Jurong Land Division, the biggest out of the six police land divisions in Singapore. In this position, she got to decide who she employed on the ground and started to deploy more women officers. “I made it clear that it depends on your potential. If you can do the job, you do the job, and it has nothing to do with your gender,” Madam Zuraidah said nonchalantly.
In 2013, Madam Zuraidah became the first female Senior Assistant Commissioner in Singapore. She works hard to stay fit so that she can lead by example. She clearly does not mince her words. “As a leader, how can you be behind? You have to be in front!”, she said.
Beyond work, she has made exemplary contributions to society through active community work – she served as CEO for two years at Yayasan Mendaki, is a member of the National Library Board and has been the chairperson of the Malay Heritage Foundation’s board of directors since 2010. In 2015, Madam Zuraidah was Her World magazine’s “Woman of the Year”.
In 2016, Madam Zuraidah was honored for her incredible achievements once again. She received the Berita Harian (BH) Achiever of the Year Award from Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Presented by the Singapore Press Holdings’ Malay newspaper, the award honors Malay/Muslim community individuals for their achievements in their fields. During the awards ceremony, Madam Zuraidah humbly stated that she wanted to share the award with her fellow men and women in blue and that she is thankful to the Singapore Police Force for giving her opportunities to excel. She said: “I hope my achievements will continue to inspire my community. If you work hard and put your mind to it, you will succeed. Dream that it is possible.”
How inspiring! Singapore’s first female Senior Assistant Commissioner has given us a reason to believe that nothing is impossible.