Singapore’s outgoing President Halimah Yacob conveyed her warm wishes to Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the President-elect of Singapore, during her final speech in her capacity as the city-state’s highest non-political official. Tharman, a Singapore-born economist of Indian descent, was overwhelmingly elected as the ninth head of state of the country and is set to be sworn in on Thursday.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam secured a decisive victory, garnering 70.4 percent of the 2.48 million votes cast by Singaporean voters on September 1. His competitors, Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian, of Chinese origin, received 15.72 percent and 13.88 percent of the votes, respectively.
As Halimah Yacob, who also holds the distinction of being Singapore’s first female president, concluded her six-year term, she expressed her humility at the trust and faith the people of Singapore had placed in her leadership. She noted that this unwavering support had fueled her commitment to serve diligently throughout her tenure.
Reflecting on her tenure, Halimah highlighted the positive working relationship she had with the government, one built on mutual trust, respect, and a clear understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities. The farewell reception, held at the Istana (Presidential Palace), was attended by several dignitaries, including Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President-elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s impressive career in public service spans several significant roles. Before becoming President-elect, he served as a senior minister from 2019 to 2023, coordinating minister for social policies from 2015 to 2023, and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore from 2011 to 2023. He also held the position of Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister from May 2011 to May 2019.
Moreover, Tharman is a prominent figure on the global stage. He co-chairs the Global Commission on the Economics of Water alongside distinguished figures such as Ngozi Owonjo-Iweala, Mariana Mazzucato, and Johan Rockstrom. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and serves on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s election marks another milestone in Singapore’s history of leaders of Indian origin. Previously, two Indian-origin presidents, S R Nathan and Devan Nair, have held the highest office in the country. Nathan, known as S R Nathan, served as Singapore’s longest-serving president, defeating Benjamin Sheares in 2009. Devan Nair served as the third president of Singapore from 1981 until his resignation in 1985.
As Tharman Shanmugaratnam prepares to assume the presidency, there are expectations of continued strong leadership and contributions to both Singapore’s domestic affairs and its role on the international stage.
Sources By Agencies