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Following Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s announcement of his decision to resign from the People’s Action Party (PAP) and run for the 2023 Presidential Election, many politicians took to social media to thank him for his decades of service.
Among the politicians who dedicated posts to Tharman were Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, and Tharman’s fellow Jurong GRC MPs.
In a tweet, PM Lee thanked Tharman for his service to Singapore and wished him “every success as he embarks on his new journey”.
PM Lee also shared screenshots of his reply to Tharman’s letter of resignation, where he outlined Tharman’s extensive service to the country.
PM Lee recalled the first time the two worked together in 1996.
He also detailed Tharman’s 22-year-long political career, where he held various key Cabinet appointments.
“Your departure from the Cabinet and the Party will be a heavy loss to me and my team. We will miss your leadership, insightful views, and wise counsel. But I understand why you have decided to make this move and run for President. It is in keeping with the spirit of public service and sense of duty that you have shown all these years.
Should you be elected as our next president, I fully appreciate that you will now be in a different role with different responsibilities… I am confident that you will carry out these duties scrupulously and with the independence of mind you have always displayed.”
SM @tharman_s informed me that he intends to resign from the Cabinet & the @PAPSingapore to contest the upcoming Presidential Election. I thank him for his service to Singapore & wish him every success as he embarks on his new journey. – LHL pic.twitter.com/ujFcFKijA8
— leehsienloong (@leehsienloong) June 8, 2023
Teo Chee Hean
Teo posted a 2017 photo of him and Tharman on his Facebook page and thanked Tharman for his “enormous contributions”.
Teo shared that he worked closely with Tharman for more than 25 years in both the Cabinet and the Ministry of Education.
“He has done Singapore proud both at home and abroad. I wish him all the very best as he seeks to serve our people and Singapore in a new capacity,” Teo wrote.
In a tweet, Tan thanked Tharman for his “many years of dedicated service”.
Tan added: “And on a personal note, thank you for your advice and guidance when I first enters politics whilst at Ministry of Manpower.”
THANK YOU SM Tharman Shanmugaratnam for your many years of dedicated service to our people and nation 🙏🏻❤️🇸🇬
And on a personal note, thank you for your advice and guidance when I first enters politics whilst at Ministry of Manpower.
Best wishes for your next journey! pic.twitter.com/gm33brA0Xv
— Tan Chuan-Jin (Blue Ticked) (@chuanjin1) June 8, 2023
Jurong GRC MPs
Rahayu described Tharman as “kind, compassionate, highly intelligent and sharp, yet always humble”.
She said that it has been “an honour and pleasure” to have served under Tharman’s guidance in Jurong GRC.
“He has instilled in the team important values of working hard and serving together in the interests of residents in Jurong. This will not change for Jurong. The remaining Jurong GRC MPs will continue to fulfill our duties and deliver on our commitments. We will serve with full effort and full heart.”
Although she is sad to see Tharman step down from his current roles, Rahayu said that she is “heartened by his intention to continue serving Singapore in a different capacity”.
“In these extraordinary times we live in, I truly believe SM Tharman can play a significant role representing Singapore as we perform our part in the international community, navigate economic uncertainties and make lives better for our people. My deepest gratitude to SM Tharman for his kindness and guidance and my best wishes for his journey ahead.”
Xie Yao Quan
Xie assured residents of Jurong GRC that he and the other MPs will “work doubly hard to take care of the GRC”.
“Our work to serve residents continues. It will never change,” Xie said.
He added that Tharman will be missed dearly as he has been “a towering figure in Jurong GRC for 22 years”.
“I am also very proud to have served with him, learn from him, and see first-hand everything that makes him so special and respected. And I know I will be even prouder to have him as our next President of the Republic of Singapore. He will be a President for a different age.”
Tan Wu Meng
Tan wrote in a Facebook post that Tharman has been a mentor, colleague and friend over the years.
Having travelled with him on official trips overseas, Tan said that he saw firsthand the “regard and respect with which he was received by overseas leaders and Nobel Prize economists”.
“But his most inspiring work is best seen closer to home, in his work for Singapore, and for Singaporeans.
Tharman’s care and concern for fellow Singaporeans has always shone through… Also his heart for deepening Singapore’s multi-racialism and strengthening our social mobility. And with it, a deep interest in getting to know Singaporeans from all walks of life, across different colours and tongues and faiths.
Seeing someone as they are, while also seeing the best in a person, and the potential for who they could grow into and become — no matter one’s starting point in life.
Amidst a world full of big challenges for small countries like Singapore, Tharman is someone with a big heart, who has made a difference. And if given the chance, he will further serve and further inspire Singapore and fellow Singaporeans in a new role.”
Huang said in a Facebook post that it has been a “true privilege” to serve alongside Tharman for the last 14 years.
“My heartiest congratulations to SM Tharman, as well as extend a full heart of thanks for stepping up and if elected, to serve Singapore as President of Singapore.
With your leadership, Jurong GRC has forged a strong culture of service – full heart and full effort. You lead by example in all you do and is a role model for many Singaporeans.”
NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng
NTUC’s secretary-general Ng Chee Meng also expressed his gratitude to Tharman in a Facebook post.
Ng wrote that Tharman’s announcement to run for the upcoming Presidential Election was “certainly a wonderful piece of news”.
“Brother Tharman is a longtime friend of NTUC and our union leaders. His incredible vision and wisdom, coupled with a certain unassuming sense of warmth and humility, has benefitted union leaders and workers far and wide in the past few decades,” Ng said.
“With Brother Tharman’s clarity of vision and skilful manner of bringing various parties of differing interests together to achieve common goals, he emphasised how the success of this national initiative is achievable with tight coordination, and tripartite partners going beyond established ways. Ever caring for the vulnerable, he urged us to pay special attention to our middle-aged and older workers. We cannot agree more.
Brother Tharman, thank you for stepping up for Singaporeans and our country. NTUC, our unions and social enterprises pledge our strongest support for you.”
Top photos via Rahayu Mahzam/FB & Teo Chee Hean/FB.