Former Indian-origin minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has officially launched his Presidential campaign in Singapore. The election is scheduled for September 23, 2023.
Tharman, aged 66, retired from active politics last month after 22 years of service. He aims to lead Singapore to become a prominent global entity while preserving its cultural essence.
Early Life and Education:
Born on February 25, 1957, in Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam pursued his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Later, he obtained a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge.
A member of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), Tharman entered politics in 2001 as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC). He has since been re-elected multiple times. Tharman served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore from 2011 to 2015 and currently holds the positions of Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies.
Apart from his political roles, Tharman Shanmugaratnam is renowned for his economic expertise. He chaired the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) from 2011 to 2019, making him the first Asian to hold this position. He is also known for advocating social welfare and implementing policies to address income inequality, supporting low-income families, and strengthening social safety nets.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s India Connection:
Despite being born in Singapore, Tharman has a strong connection to India due to his Tamil heritage and ancestral ties. His grandparents were Indian immigrants who settled in Singapore, and he remains deeply connected to his Indian heritage, customs, and traditions. Over the years, Tharman has engaged with Indian leaders and officials, fostering a stronger relationship between the two countries.
Tharman is credited with steering Singapore’s economy through the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and advocating for inclusive social policies. His economic expertise and leadership have earned him praise both domestically and internationally, contributing significantly to Singapore’s economic growth and stability.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s official campaign launch follows his earlier announcement to run for President. He has promised to focus on critical issues such as climate change, mental health, and education. Channel News Asia quoted him saying, “If I’m fortunate enough to be elected as President, I pledge to bring my full experience and capabilities on the ground nationally and internationally, to serve as your President for this new and more challenging era.”
The upcoming Presidential election will be the country’s first since 2011, as President Halimah announced on May 29 that she will not seek re-election after completing her six-year term on September 13. Three prospective candidates have publicly announced their intention to contest the polls.