SINGAPORE: “I pledge to discharge my duties diligently, faithfully, and to the best of my abilities, for the betterment of Singapore and Singaporeans. I will serve with all my heart,” said Singapore’s 9th President, Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Speaking at his inauguration ceremony on Thursday (Sept 14) evening, the 66-year-old new head of State swore that he would be “scrupulous and independent” in making judgements on Singapore’s reserves.

He said: “I will be scrupulous and independent in making judgments that involve the use of the ‘second key’ on our reserves – whether in responding to the future crises that will come from time to time, or in ensuring Singapore remains a safe and liveable home over the longer term.”

Mr Tharman said that Covid-19 was just one of many threats Singapore would face. He explained that there are longer-term threats to Singapore’s existence and the lives of future generations, such as climate change. “Should the need arise in future to use the reserves to tackle such crises and existential threats, we will weigh the matter carefully,” said Mr Tharman.

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“We will have to balance between meeting immediate needs and preserving the reserves so that every generation, now and in the future, enjoys their benefits.”

He thanked his predecessor, Mdm Halimah Yacob, for her service as the eighth President of Singapore, and for her counsel and advice. He also thanked Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his support and encouragement.

“I pledge to discharge my duties diligently, faithfully, and to the best of my abilities, for the betterment of Singapore and Singaporeans. I will serve with all my heart,” he said.

“To my fellow Singaporeans, once again, I thank you for your strong endorsement. Regardless of the challenges ahead of us or the differences amongst us that we will inevitably have, let us remember that we are bound by a common destiny,” he said.

“Let us take confidence in what we have achieved together so far, and pledge to work together for a future of optimism and respect for all.”

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Mr Tharman won the presidential election by a landslide with more than 70 per cent of the ballots cast, prevailing over two other candidates – former GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song and ex-NTUC Income chief Tan Kin Lian. /TISG