Singapore-born Indian-origin figure Tharman Shanmugaratnam has been officially announced as a contender in the forthcoming presidential election of the prosperous city-state. Joining him in this three-way race are two Chinese-origin former business executives.
Mr. Tharman, aged 66, former investment chief of state-owned company Ng Kok Song, aged 75, and former head of the state-run insurance company Tan Kin Lian, also aged 75, have been formally declared as candidates by the Elections Department (ELD) for the highest non-political post in Singapore.
Once the candidates have been officially declared, withdrawing from the race would require forfeiting their election deposits of SGD 40,500 each, according to The Straits Times newspaper.
The three contenders, all vying to become Singapore’s ninth president, can now commence their official campaigns, which will conclude on August 30. The cooling-off day is scheduled for August 31, followed by Polling Day on September 1.
The incumbent President Halimah Yacob’s six-year term will conclude on September 13.
During his nomination speech, Mr. Tharman, a former senior minister in the ruling People’s Action Party Government, expressed his anticipation for a dignified and honorable competition, focusing on each candidate’s contributions to Singaporeans and the country’s future.
He articulated, “Let’s look forward to a campaign, which is dignified and honourable, and a campaign which itself seeks to unite Singaporeans and not divide us.”
Mr. Tharman later emphasized that his candidacy is based on a longstanding purpose in his life, rather than new positions or statements. He stated, “I believe in a fairer, more compassionate and more inclusive society. And my life is dedicated to that. Singapore can be special.”
Having resigned from all political and public offices in July to run for the presidency, Mr. Tharman highlighted that he is committed to serving Singaporeans in the role of President with all his experience and capabilities.
Mr. Tharman, an economist and civil servant with extensive experience at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, entered politics in 2001. He served as Minister for Education and Finance and held the position of Deputy Prime Minister from 2011 to 2019.
Ng, who introduced himself in multiple languages including Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, expressed his mission to protect Singapore’s three national treasures – the reserves, public service appointments, and social stability.
Tan stated his goal of offering the people of Singapore “a chance to vote for a president who is truly independent of the ruling government.” He pledged to carry out his duties as outlined in the Constitution diligently, honestly, and to the best of his ability.
Although a non-political role, the President in Singapore holds critical responsibilities, including key state appointments and safeguarding the national reserves, which the government can access only with presidential consensus.
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