Singapore’s outgoing President Halimah Yacob extended her best wishes to Indian-origin President-elect Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Wednesday in her final speech as holder of the city-state’s highest but non-political post.
Singapore-born economist Tharman will be sworn in as the city-state’s ninth president on Thursday, days after he was overwhelmingly elected as the country’s ninth head of state.
The 66-year-old president-elect won 70.4 percent of the 2.48 million ballots on September 1, while his Chinese-born rivals Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian won 15.72 percent and 13.88 percent, respectively.
The 69-year-old Halimah’s six-year term as president ended on Wednesday.
“A new president will be sworn in tomorrow,” she said at her farewell reception at the Istana (Presidential Palace), according to Channel News Asia.
“I wish Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam all the best in carrying out his duties,” she added.
Halimah, also Singapore’s first female president, said she was humbled that the people of Singapore had given her their trust and confidence as president.
She added that this unwavering support strengthened her resolve to serve every day of her six-year term.
Looking back, Halimah said she had a good relationship with the government. One that was “based on mutual trust, respect and a clear understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities.” The farewell reception was attended by, among others, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Tharman.
Tharman, who has served Singapore in public service throughout his life, was overwhelmingly supported by the city-state’s predominantly Chinese community.
Prior to his election as President, Tharman served as a senior minister between 2019 and 2023, Coordinating Minister for Social Policy between 2015 and 2023, and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore between 2011 and 2023. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore from May 2011 to May 2019.
He is also chairman of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water together with Ngozi Owonjo-Iweala, Mariana Mazzucato and Johan Rockstrom.
Tharman is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He is also a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, which will make recommendations on effective multilateralism for the UN Future Summit in 2024.
There have been two Indian-origin presidents in the past.
Sellapan Ramanathan, popularly known as SR Nathan, a Singaporean politician and civil servant of Tamil descent, was the President of Singapore. In 2009, Nathan defeated Benjamin Sheares to become Singapore’s longest-serving president.
Chengara Veetil Devan Nair, better known as Devan Nair, was the third President of Singapore from 1981 until his resignation in 1985. Nair was born in Malacca, Malaysia in 1923, the son of a rubber plantation official originally from Thalassery, Kerala.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Source : www.ndtv.com