On 24th February 2020, Hannah Yeoh ceased to be the deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development following the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Her contributions to the country, however, will have lasting effects well beyond her short term in office.
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Tonight I cease to be Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development. The burden I carry especially for children I can lay it down tonight as it is no longer mine to carry. This season comes to an end. For now. @KPWKM is in good hands because of these lovely civil servants. Relieved because we have just completed our retreat with new direction, roadmap and area of focus. You have the vision, now run with it. I know now that Putrajaya has many excellent dedicated civil servants. Carry on the work guys! You still carry the amanah by the people of Malaysia. Love you guys!
Here, we look back at the start of her tenure, when she appeared on the cover of Her World‘s September 2018 issue.
Life has been a whirlwind for Yang Berhormat Hannah Yeoh, not so much right after GE14, but rather, after the 2nd of July when she was sworn in as the deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development. At the time of speaking (in 2018), she’s just three weeks into the job, but has already experienced one of the toughest weeks to date with the case of baby Adam Rayqal Mohd Sufi Naeif, whose body was found in a fridge.
“I went to the hospital to meet his parents and felt so much for them. I used to be very afraid of dead bodies, but I’ve seen so many in my job in the last 10 years and when the doctor asked if I’d like to see Adam, I said yes,” she recalls, solemnly, before explaining, “I go for funerals and do things many politicians may feel is a waste of time, but I think it’s important for me to understand certain things. With Adam, it’s a lack in the law and in the vetting process that we need to fix so that his death is not in vain.”
It’s this empathy and compassion that further drive home the fact that no one is better suited for the job than Hannah.
Pros and Cons
When asked if she had ever envisioned life as a politician, she replies in the negative, but you can’t deny the spark in her eyes as she divulges her gratitude in being able to work on a portfolio she feels extremely passionately about: children. “It makes going to work easier,” she affirms, before cautioning, “But because it’s my passion, it can be emotionally draining as well. Sometimes, when you don’t get your way, it’s not just a ‘no’ – you feel your heart break.” Not to mention, investigating child abuse cases may be at the very forefront of her job, but there are just days she can’t bring herself to watch videos documenting it, because they remind her heartbreakingly of her very own children.