SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Indian-origin former senior minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday filed his utility for a certificates of eligibility to run in subsequent month’s presidential election.

Shanmugaratnam, 66, formally launched his presidential marketing campaign final month with a pledge to evolve the nation’s tradition to maintain it a “shining spot” on the earth.
The 2023 presidential election is due in September, as President Halimah Yacob’s six-year time period ends on September 13.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the former Indian-origin minister of Singapore, has submitted his application for a certificate of eligibility to qualify for the upcoming presidential election. As reported by The Straits Times, three other potential candidates of Chinese origin have also submitted their applications.

Ng Kok Song, a 75-year-old former chief investment officer of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), announced that he submitted his forms on August 2 for consideration through the public sector deliberative track. Similarly, 63-year-old entrepreneur George Goh submitted his eligibility form on August 4. Meanwhile, 75-year-old former presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian stated that he has submitted his application for a certificate of eligibility but has not yet decided if he will run in the election.

Tharman, who retired from active politics in June after 22 years of service, has urged the public not to judge candidates based on past affiliations but to focus on their track records. His background includes being an economist and civil servant, with significant experience at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. During his political career, he held key positions such as Minister for Education and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister from 2011 to 2019. Additionally, he has held prominent roles in various international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations.

The presidential election in Singapore has stringent criteria for candidates. According to the requirements specified in the country’s Constitution, public sector presidential candidates must have served for at least three years as a minister, chief justice, attorney-general, or in other high-level posts. For private sector candidates, eligibility requires at least three years of experience as a chief executive officer in a company with an average of SGD 500 million in shareholders’ equity.

The upcoming election will be Singapore’s first presidential election since 2011, following President Halimah Yacob’s decision not to seek re-election for a second term. She became the country’s eighth president and its first female president, with her six-year term set to end on September 13 this year.

The previous presidential election in 2017 was a reserved election in which only candidates from the Malay community were allowed to contest. Halimah was elected as the president as there were no other eligible candidates at that time.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam is highly respected both nationally and internationally for his expertise in economics and finance. Before entering politics, he made significant contributions to Singapore’s financial sector during his time at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Tharman’s deep understanding of economic matters and his experience in various high-level positions have earned him a reputation as a capable and effective leader.

Throughout his tenure in government, Tharman played a crucial role in steering Singapore’s economy through challenging times, including the global financial crisis in 2008. His policy decisions and management of public finances were praised for their prudence and effectiveness, contributing to Singapore’s strong economic performance over the years.

As the Minister for Education, Tharman implemented reforms aimed at improving the education system and ensuring equal opportunities for all students. His efforts in enhancing the quality of education and promoting lifelong learning have left a lasting impact on the country’s educational landscape.

During his time as the Minister for Finance, Tharman was instrumental in crafting budgets that supported economic growth while ensuring fiscal responsibility. His pragmatic and forward-thinking approach garnered widespread support from both businesses and citizens.

Beyond Singapore, Tharman’s involvement in international organizations showcased his ability to collaborate on the global stage. His contributions to the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations further bolstered Singapore’s reputation as a responsible and engaged member of the international community.

As the presidential election approaches, Tharman’s candidacy has garnered significant attention and support from various sectors of society. Many see him as a strong candidate who possesses the necessary leadership qualities and experience to lead the nation with integrity and competence.

The upcoming presidential election holds considerable importance as it will determine the country’s next head of state after President Halimah Yacob’s term concludes. The election will also mark a historic moment, as it will be the first time since 2011 that citizens will participate in a contested presidential election.

Given the stringent criteria for presidential candidates, only individuals with substantial experience and proven track records in both the public and private sectors will be eligible to run for the office. This requirement ensures that the country’s highest office is held by individuals who have demonstrated their capabilities in leadership and decision-making.

As the election draws near, the public’s anticipation is high, and the outcome will undoubtedly shape Singapore’s future direction both domestically and in the international arena. Citizens eagerly await the campaigns and debates to gain a deeper understanding of each candidate’s vision and plans for the nation. The election represents a crucial opportunity for Singaporeans to choose a leader who will continue to uphold the nation’s values and work towards its progress and prosperity.