SINGAPORE: Tharman Shanmugaratnam was sworn in as Singapore’s ninth president at a swearing-in ceremony held at The Istana on Thursday (Sept 14).

Tharman won the Presidential race by a decisive margin, receiving 70.40 per cent from about 2.5 million votes on Sept 1.

In his maiden speech as head of state, Tharman said he would do his best to represent Singapore and promote the republic’s interests abroad in line with the objectives and priorities of the government.

“We have entered an era of profound global uncertainty and growing fragility,” he said.

The president said the ongoing Ukraine war has violated the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nation-states.

“Major economies are shifting away from free trade and investment flows. Strategic trust is lacking between the world’s major powers with the US-China relationship at its most troubled in decades,” he said.

Thus, he said Singapore must find its way forward amid these global tensions.

As president, Tharman pledged to do his part to reflect Singapore’s values and views and to enhance its standing amongst the community of nations.

Also present at the ceremony were Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Tharman’s wife Jane Ittogi, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, and cabinet ministers.

Meanwhile, Lee said that in addition to Tharman’s domestic duties, internationally he will be Singapore’s top diplomat representing the country on the world stage.

“I look forward to you helping to strengthen our ties with other countries and international organisations and partners, and to open new opportunities abroad for our people and our businesses,” said Lee in his speech at the ceremony.

Lee said he has no doubt that Tharman will fulfil his new role with distinction.

A Singaporean statesman and economist, Tharman, 66, served as Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister between 2011 and 2019, and as Senior Minister in the Cabinet between 2019 and 2023.

His other roles include Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore between 2011 and 2023, and Deputy Chairman of GIC between 2019 and 2023.

Being a former member of Singapore’s governing People’s Action Party (PAP), he was a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Taman Jurong division of Jurong GRC between 2001 and 2023.

He made his political debut in the 2001 general election and was re-elected to Parliament four times at subsequent general elections from 2006 to 2020.

In July 2023, Tharman stepped down from Parliament and all his positions in the government and resigned as a member of the PAP in order to stand as a candidate in the presidential election. - Bernama

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