First woman to become a Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police
Growing up in a kampung, Zuraidah Abdullah often watched admiringly when a granduncle came home from work in his smart police uniform. But becoming a police officer herself was not then her plan.
Zuraidah graduated from Nanyang Technological Institute (now Nanyang Technological University) in 1985 with a degree in Civil Engineering. She was a teacher for a few months but decided to change her career when she noticed an advertisement by the Singapore Police Force for applications for its direct entry scheme where university graduates, after training, become senior officers. The ad said ‘every day (with the Force) is different’, and Zuraidah realised this was what she wanted.
In 1986, she was the first Malay graduate, and only the sixth woman, to join the police force via the direct entry scheme. This was just the beginning. There were more ‘firsts’ to come.
After her training, Zuraidah was posted to the Queenstown Police Division (currently Clementi Police Division) and then to Traffic Police. She soaked up as much knowledge as she could from her colleagues, asking endless questions. Then the Police Force took a step into new territory – it appointed three women officers as Heads of Operations.
Zuraidah took charge of operations at the Central Police Division, and she clearly did well because in 1991 she received the Commissioner Police’s High Commendation Award. Meticulous, hardworking and driven, in 2004 she was the first Malay-Muslim woman officer to be appointed as a Land Division commander, taking charge of Jurong Police Division, the largest of six police land divisions.
After her stint in Jurong Police Division, Zuraidah was seconded to Yayasan MENDAKI, the Malay-Muslim self-help organisation, as its Chief Executive Officer. From 2007 to 2009, Zuraidah improved management practices at Yayasan MENDAKI and implemented measures to help staff achieve work-life balance. While at Yayasan MENDAKI , she became the first woman to be appointed as a Council Member of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.
On her return to the Police Force in 2010, Zuraidah became the Commander of the Police Training Command. In 2013, she was promoted to the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, which is the 3rd highest level possible in the police force, short of becoming the Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Police. Zuraidah is the first woman to achieve this lofty position and since then, has been recently appointed as the Commander of the Airport Police Division.
Beyond the Police Force, Zuraidah is the chairperson of the Malay Heritage Foundation and a member of the National Library Board.
Zuraidah was Her World magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 2015.
"The job’s like a calling to contribute back to society. And I can do that by keeping crime rates low and ensuring everyone’s safety and security."