Hannah Yeoh reveals what life is like as a deputy minister and how motherhood has prepared her for this unexpected political journey.
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, 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 SufiNaeif, 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 passionate 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.
A MOTHER FIRST
With two daughters, one aged seven and the other aged five, juggling the roles of a mother and a deputy minister can be as rewarding as it is exhausting. She quips, “I’m just living one day at a time.” On one hand, her children have been craving for more of her time ever since she made the move to Segambut – even crying for their mother when Parliament ends late a few days in a row. “My seven-year-old told me if my new job is too difficult, I should just quit. Her father had to explain that you can’t just quit because some things are tough. So, I try to show them photos and videos of my work in hopes they will understand that I’m not just caring for them, but for other children in Malaysia as well,” she shares.
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