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Senior Minister Tharman running for Presidency? YES! 
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Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

TL;DR – A well-respected, charismatic leader that has won the hearts of many Singaporeans. Will Senior Minister Tharman win your vote come September?

By now you might have heard the news of Madam Halimah stepping down after serving as the nation’s first female president for six years come September. BUT have you heard the latest? *Drum rollssss* – Senior Minister Tharman has expressed his interest in running for presidency

The President has two important roles – 

1) as a symbol and unifier of a diverse and multi-racial Singapore; 

2) as a custodian of our nation’s past reserves and the integrity of our public service. The Presidential election has to be conducted as follows: within 6 months after the office of the President becomes vacant prior to the expiration of the term of office of the incumbent; or not more than 3 months before the date of expiration of the term of office of the incumbent. Nah, here is the timeline if you are keen to read more.

Wait, I know what you, as with the majority of Singaporeans, must be thinking:

“Got public holiday?”

Well, we shall know very soon! Long story short, on Nomination Day, Singaporeans will find out if they’ll be required to vote (and whether got day off or not 😛). 

Senior Minister Tharman is a leader for all, regardless of race, language and religion

When it comes to charismatic leaders of Singapore, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam stands out. His ability to win over an electorate that has become increasingly critical and demanding of the Singapore Government is pretty admirable. Like many of Singapore’s well-respected leaders, Tharman has spent much of his working life in public service.

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He has also spent close to 10 years as advisor to the unions, and chaired the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTCI) since 2002! He was a champion for workers’ rights and an advocate for social progress. Known for his dedication and the inclusive policies he has built over the decades, Tharman has managed to win the hearts of Singaporeans from all walks of life – regardless of race, language or religion

Senior Minister Tharman at Singapore Industrial & Services Employees’ Union Quadrennial Delegates Conference 2008

Here are 12 other things you might not know about potential Singapore President candidate, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam 

  • Senior Minister Tharman was born on 25 February 1957.
  • He attended the Anglo-Chinese School before graduating from the London School of Economics with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. 
  • He is married to Jane Yumiko Ittogi, a lawyer by background, and now actively engaged in social development initiatives. 
  • The couple have a daughter and three sons.
  • In 2020, Tharman led PAP to a thumping win in Jurong GRC with 75 % of votes – FYI he has been re-elected four times since 2001!
  • He has always believed in building inclusive social policies and improving wages and jobs for lower-income Singaporeans
  • As chairman of Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTCi) Board of Governors, he has overseen a doubling in the number of training places and helped the Institute garner resources to run various programmes. Under his leadership, the institute has paved the way in going beyond training union leaders to also developing the training of government officials, and labour management partners in the spirit of tripartism. 
  • Tharman was an advisor to the Singapore Industrial & Services Employees’ Union (SISEU) from February 2007 till March 2011 and the Chemical Industries Employees’ Union (CIEU) from April 2002 to January 2007. 
  • He believes in crafting policies that can be “really implemented and aren’t just based on an ideal.”
  • He introduced major educational reforms while serving as Education Minister, aimed at achieving a broader and more flexible system of meritocracy. 
  • He led the ‘SkillsFuture’ programme, which was launched in 2014 to enable life-long learning and upskilling among Singaporeans. 
  • During the pandemic years, he chaired the National Jobs Council, which oversaw efforts to support and rebuild jobs for Singaporeans in the wake of COVID-19. He was also behind the Jobs Credit Scheme (during global financial crisis), Progressive Wage Model (low-wage workers), Special Employment Credit (older workers) and Wage Credit Scheme to support workers!

Cue The ‘Tharman Effect’, as some call it

Tharman Shanmugaratnam has undoubtedly won the hearts and minds of Singaporeans with his approachable demeanor, and insightful perspectives. The residents he serves in Jurong have attested to that! As the world becomes increasingly embroiled in turmoil and uncertainties, the next president of Singapore needs to be a unifying figure in whom Singaporeans are inspired by. Senior Minister Tharman might just be that as Singapore continues its increasingly tough journey towards progress as one people!

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Tharman with his family


Well, that leaves one question for us come September: Will Tharman win your vote? 

By AJ