SINGAPORE: Presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Tuesday (Aug 22) told supporters gathered in a field at the PA headquarters that he looks forward to a “fair, dignified and honorable contest focused on what each of us brings to Singaporeans and what each of us brings for our future”.
In his speech at the People’s Association headquarters in Kallang, Mr. Tharman also thanked his supporters for showing up and Mr. Ng and Mr. Tan Kin Lian for coming forward as candidates. He also added that he looks forward to a campaign that “unites Singaporeans and not divides us”.
Later during an interview with the media, Mr Tharman was asked to respond to Mr Tan Kin Lian’s allegations of a “smear campaign” against him. Mr Tan, in a Facebook post, wrote: “It is now clear to me that it is a concerted effort by an attack group that went all out to smear me.”
A TikTok video was posted on Sunday (Aug 20), compiling several posts on Facebook in the past from presidential aspirant Tan Kin Lian where he featured or wrote about “pretty girls.” In response to questions from journalists, Mr Tan appeared to treat it as a non-issue, saying that only a very few people were bothered by his posts.
Mr Tan also claimed that his “top opponent” is involved, along with the “editors of the mainstream media” and a women’s rights organization. He has since amended his statement to remove references to the “top opponent”.
Mr Tharman said: “I saw something this morning. I’m glad that Mr Tan Kin Lian has withdrawn that suggestion.”
The allegation “goes against everything” he represents, he added.
“Clearly, I have nothing to do with it but I’m very sure that no one backing me has anything to do with it either,” said Mr Tharman.
Mr. Tharman was also asked for his thoughts on Mr. Ng calling him a “formidable opponent” and describing the race against him as “David versus Goliath”.
In response, Mr Tharman said: “The real David is Singapore in the world of the Goliaths … and we need the best person with the best abilities and track record on the ground – nationally and internationally – to represent Singapore as head of state in this new era.
“More than ever, the Goliaths are in tension and conflict with each other, and the Davids mustn’t be comfortable. So we could all think of ourselves as Davids. We are all underdogs in the world.”
Mr Tharman’s full speech on Nomination Day:
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Large groups of Mr. Tharman’s supporters arrived by bus shortly after 10 am on Nomination Day (Aug 22), standing together in a sea of maroon as they came decked in matching t-shirts and color-coordinated umbrellas. Members of his campaign team were spotted handing out Team Tharman badges to supporters.
Mr. Tharman said, “It is our future that we are concerned about” and that it will be “a different future”.
“It will be a more difficult and challenging future that we face, which is the reason why I have entered this contest to offer all my experience and capabilities on the ground for a few decades nationally and internationally,” he added.
“So that I can serve Singaporeans in the role of President with all my heart in the years to come.”
Singaporeans will go to the polls on Sept 1, declared a public holiday. /TISG
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