PETALING JAYA: Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam (pic) has been elected the president of Soroptimist International (SI), becoming the first Asian to hold the post.

Her tenure is for the 2024/25 term.

“(I) have got good news that I was elected SI president for the biennium 2024/2025. First Asian to take the post in 103 years of SI in 2024.

“Very scary now that I got in. But a lot of sacrifice of time and effort. But hope to contribute to our mission of making a difference to the lives of women and girls we serve by our 3,000 clubs in 126 countries,” she wrote on Facebook.

Soroptimist International is a worldwide volunteer service organisation for women who work for peace, mainly to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.

Siew Yong, the wife of Westports executive chairman Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam, is also the trustee for the Women’s Institute of Management, Yayasan Sejahtera and Nanyang Press Foundation.

She also used to be president for Soroptimist International South-West Pacific.

In an interview, Siew Yong, 74, said she would step in as president-elect in July next year before receiving her chain of office a year later during the Soroptimist International Convention 2023 in Dublin, Ireland.

“The president’s appeal will then be revealed, and I will only take office as president in January 2024.

“Among other programmes will be to visit various United Nations centres,” she said.

She said it was a great honour for her to be elected SI president.

“I will do my best to justify the trust and confidence accorded me by the members of the Federation of SI South-West Pacific to lead SI during the 2024-2025 term of office.”

Siew Yong was also chair for the 21st SI Convention 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, the first Asian city to host the SI Convention.