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Leader of the House, Indranee Rajah Leads Parliament’s Tribute to Tharman Shanmugaratnam on His Final Sitting Day

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“We will miss SM Tharman in this Chamber, not least his commanding presence and his erudite speeches... We will also miss his wit and dry humour. I think most of all, we will miss a friend and a fellow Member of Parliament,” said Leader of the House Indranee.

SINGAPORE — Leader of the House, Indranee Rajah, led Parliament on the final day of the previous parliamentary sitting in paying tribute to Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam who will be vacating his seat in parliament to contest in the upcoming Presidential Election.

SM Tharman, also the Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, informed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of his decision to retire from politics last month. His final day as the member of parliament for Jurong GRC was on July 7.

“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. At least, I thought they sounded simple. They sounded very profound; you weren’t quite sure exactly what he was saying, but it sounded like they made a lot of sense. We will also miss his wit and dry humor. I think most of all, we will miss a friend and a fellow Member of Parliament,” said Leader of the House Indranee.

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During his time in the government, SM Tharman has held several portfolios, including the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education. Additionally, he served as the Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, and the Chairman of the Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council.

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“As Minister for Finance, SM Tharman, through his many Budget Statements in this Parliament, boosted our economic growth and helped steer Singapore through the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009. He oversaw economic restructuring efforts, including chairing the Economic Strategies Committee post-crisis, to promote inclusive and resilient economic growth, and ensured fiscal sustainability.

He introduced the Net Investment Returns framework which provided additional resources for Government spending to benefit Singaporeans while balancing today’s needs and saving for the future needs of generations to come. He also introduced the permanent GST Voucher scheme to help lower- to middle-income Singaporeans cope with their GST expenses,” shared Indranee in her tribute for SM Tharman in Parliament.

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She added that as the Minister for Education, SM Tharman broadened the definition of merit and provided students with a multitude of educational pathways and opportunities to explore their diverse talents and excel in their chosen fields. Most notably, during the ongoing pandemic, SM Tharman effectively chaired the National Jobs Council, working tirelessly to safeguard jobs and create employment and training opportunities for Singaporeans.

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SM Tharman was first elected to parliament after winning the 2001 election in the newly-formed Jurong GRC. He was part of the People’s Action Party team, which included Ong Chit Chung, Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, Lim Boon Heng, and President Halimah Yaacob. The PAP won with a majority of 79.75% against the Singapore Democratic team led by Dr Chee Soon Juan. There was no contest for Jurong GRC in 2006.

In 2011, Tharman’s team emerged victorious with 66.69% of the votes against the National Solidarity Party. In the 2015 election, they faced a new political party called Singaporeans First and secured a win with 79.29% of the votes.

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In the previous 2020 Singapore general election, SM Tharman led his team comprising political newcomers Shawn Huang and Xie Yao Quan, along with Tan Wu Meng and Rahayu Mahzam, who were contesting in Jurong GRC for the second consecutive election. They faced off against a recently formed opposition party, Red Dot United, just weeks before the election. With SM Tharman’s leadership and influence in the constituency, the PAP team secured 74.61% of the votes.

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