Indian-born, Singapore-born economist Tharman Shanmugaratnam was sworn in Thursday as the ninth president of the predominantly Chinese and economically prosperous city-state.
Indian-origin Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon administered the oath of office to President Tharman at a ceremony at Istana, a 154-year-old palace in the heart of Singapore’s shopping and hotel belt on Orchard Road. The Istana is the official residence of the President of Singapore.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, members of the cabinet, parliamentarians, top government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.
Mr Tharman, 66, will serve a six-year term. He succeeds President Halimah Yacob, Singapore’s first female president, whose term ended on September 13.
Mr Tharman, who has spent his life serving Singapore in public service, has received overwhelming support from the city-state’s predominantly Chinese society.
He surprised everyone by winning 70.4 percent of the vote in the September 1 presidential election, leaving Chinese-origin businessmen Ng Kok Song with 15.72 percent and Tan Kin Lian with 13.88 percent of the vote. 2.2 million ballots were left behind. casts.
He is married to Jane Ittogi, a Singaporean lawyer of Japanese-Chinese descent. They have a daughter and three sons.
He attended the leading Anglo-Chinese School before graduating from the London School of Economics (LSE) with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.
He then attended Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, where he obtained a Master of Philosophy degree in economics. He then became a student at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University, where he earned a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and received the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, presented to MPA students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership.
Mr Tharman was a student activist while studying in Britain in the 1970s. He originally had socialist beliefs, but his views on economics evolved over the course of his career.
Mr Tharman, as the Tamilian is popularly known, is the president of the people, says Singaporean weekly Tabla! Mr Tharman brings extensive experience to the presidential office, having served for more than two decades in Singapore’s economic development.
He has served as senior minister, deputy prime minister (May 2011 to May 2019) and minister of finance, among other positions, and has held leadership positions at major international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Development Forum.
He resigned from public and political posts in the ruling People’s Action Party in July to contest the election for president.
“Magic of multiracialism in Singapore,” wrote Asad Latif, editorial writer for The Straits Times, a mainstream daily.
Chinese account for 74.3 percent of the city-state of about 5.6 million, Indians about 9 percent and Malaysians almost 13.5 percent, while the rest others in a country that is an Asian financial and business hub, the best talent for manages to win from all over the world.
“Tharman’s victory is that of Singapore’s multiracialism. His Native American character is part of that system and structure. May these truths never change,” Latif wrote.
Singapore’s president holds a non-political position, but does have the power to oversee national reserves, top appointments in the public sector and the authority to investigate corruption.
has had two presidents of Indian origin in the past.
Sellapan Ramanathan, popularly known as SR Nathan, a Singaporean politician and civil servant of Tamil descent, served as 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, served as Singapore’s third president from 1981 until his resignation in 1985. Born in 1923 in Malacca, Malaysia, Nair was the son of a rubber plantation clerk who was originally from Thalassery, Kerala. .
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