Tharman Shanmugaratnam to contest in 2023 Presidential Election; resigning from politics on Jul 7

He has served the Government since 2001.

Han Xinyi

Still doesn’t understand how the kopi c, o, kosong system works.

Published: 8 June 2023, 6:12 PM

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will resign from politics and the People’s Action Party on Jul 7 to contest in the upcoming Presidential Election.

This was revealed on Thursday (Jun 8) in a letter exchange between him and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Mr Tharman expressed his wish to step down from all Government positions and responsibilities, and retire from politics. 

These Government positions include that of Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies. 

He will also step down as chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), deputy chairman of GIC and chairman of the Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council.

As Senior Minister, Mr Tharman helped “mentor and groom the next generation of Ministers”, including the ‘4G’ team led by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong. It is a position that he shares with Teo Chee Hean, and ranks after Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

He first became a Member of Parliament (MP) after the 2001 general election and got re-elected for it four times since. He is currently an MP of Jurong GRC.

He shared that before stepping down in July, he will fulfill his official commitments under those roles and ensure that his current constituency at Jurong GRC is “to be well-served for the rest of the electoral term”.

He added that while he is saddened about his departure from the constituency, he is assured that his fellow MPs in Jurong will “work doubly hard to serve all our residents fully” during the current term.

When addressing his reasons for running for the 2023 Presidential Election, Mr Tharman wrote of wanting to “represent the unity of Singaporeans, of all races and religions, social backgrounds, and political learnings” and to be the people’s “voice of reason in an increasingly turbulent world”.

In a reply letter to Mr Tharman, PM Lee accepted his resignation and intention to run for the upcoming Presidential Election, and thanked him for his contributions over the past 22 years.

“In all these roles, you worked hard to build a more inclusive society, and to improve wages and create better jobs for Singaporeans. You made significant contributions to strengthen our social mobility escalator, as well as what you called our social safety ‘trampoline’,” PM Lee wrote.

Both politicians have worked together in several projects since 1996, when Mr Lee was still Deputy Prime Minister and Mr Tharman was part of the National Education Committee. They also collaborated as Chairman and Deputy Managing Director of MAS during this time.

Mr Lee recognised that should Mr Tharman be elected as Singapore’s next President, he will “no longer be a member of the executive” and instead will “exercise his custodial powers independently”.

“I am confident that you will carry out these duties scrupulously and with the independence of mind you have always displayed,” PM Lee concluded in his letter.

During Mr Tharman’s time serving the Government, he was appointed the Minister for Education from 2003 to 2008, Minister for Finance from 2007 to 2015, Minister for Manpower from 2011 to 2012, and Deputy Prime Minister from 2011 to 2019.

His decision to run for the upcoming Presidential Elections makes him the first official candidate, after President Halimah Yacob announced that she will not stand for re-election.

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