Singapore Parliament pays tribute to Indian-origin MP Tharman Shanmugaratnam on his last day

Members of Parliament in Singapore paid tribute to senior Indian-origin minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on his last day as an MP for his contributions to public service over more than two decades.

last sitting in Parliament was yesterday.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam's (standing) last sitting in Parliament was yesterday. Photo courtesy: Singapore Government

He is set to resign from all official and political positions to contest Singapore's upcoming Presidential elections.

Tharman, 66, will step down from his posts as senior minister and coordinating minister for social policies and also resign from the People's Action Party as he has announced his bid for Singapore presidency.

His last sitting in Parliament was yesterday.

"We will miss SM Tharman in this chamber, not least his commanding presence and his erudite speeches. SM's greatest gift is, really, in making very complex economic principles sound simple," The Straits Times quoted Leader of the House Indranee Rajah as saying on Thursday.

"We also will miss his wit and his dry humour. I think most of all, we will miss a friend and a fellow Member of Parliament," she said.

Tharman joined politics in 2001 as a member of parliament and has held several cabinet positions, including deputy prime minister as well as education and finance minister.

He also served as chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the de-facto central bank; deputy chairman of sovereign wealth fund GIC, where he chaired its investment strategies committee; and chairman of the Economic Development Board's International Advisory Council.

The Presidential election, held every six years, is scheduled to be held later this year before the term of current President Halimah Yacob ends on September 13.

Singapore has stringent terms and conditions for candidates running for president.

To qualify, a presidential candidate must be a citizen of Singapore aged 45 and above on nomination day and have lived in Singapore for at least 10 years up to that date.

He or she must not be a member of any political party on the date of nomination and must have met the public or private sector service requirement within the last 20 years.

The public sector service requirement includes having held office as a minister, chief justice, speaker of Parliament, attorney general, chairman of the Public Service Commission, auditor-general, accountant-general or permanent secretary for at least three years.

To fulfil the private sector service requirement, a person must have served as the chief executive of a company for at least three years and during this time the company must, on average, have at least SGD  500 million in shareholders' equity and made profit after tax throughout.

The Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) must also be satisfied that the person has the experience and ability to effectively carry out the functions and duties of the office of president.