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HomesingaporePE 2023 result 'positive' for S'pore, with race a 'smaller factor' and...

PE 2023 result 'positive' for S'pore, with race a 'smaller factor' and voters knowing President's duties better: PM Lee

SINGAPORE — The outcome of the recent Presidential Election is “positive” for Singapore, as compared to before, race is now a “smaller factor” and Singaporeans have shown a greater understanding of the roles and duties of the President, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

This election result also showed that Singaporeans now have a greater understanding of the President’s roles, as the campaign largely focused on the various duties carried out by the President.

“The campaign was focused on how the candidates intended to exercise these custodial powers, and what personal experience and attributes they would bring to the post, rather than on government policies or political issues,” Mr Lee said.

“Singaporeans understood that they were choosing a President for the nation, and not electing the next government.

“All these bode well for our nation’s future.” 

UNITING THE NATION 

Mr Lee noted that the President plays an important symbolic role in strengthening Singapore’s unity and cohesion and that Mr Tharman himself had said that intangible qualities such as people’s ability to stand together in tough times and empathise with others are “critical to our nation’s future”. 

On Mr Tharman’s campaign pledge to unite all Singaporeans regardless of race, language or religion, Mr Lee said: “The Government shares your declared goal: To build a more inclusive society, one where everyone is valued for who they are, and every Singaporean has a place.”

Mr Lee also noted that Mr Tharman has spoken about being particularly passionate about two areas — sports and the arts.

Sports can be used to build a robust and resilient society, while a vibrant arts scene is a good avenue to celebrate and strengthen our multiculturalism, Mr Lee said.

“We look forward to your support in these areas, which will help to make us a rich and rounded society.”

‘GUARDIAN OF OUR NEST EGG’

The President has important custodial responsibilities as an approving authority for key public service appointments and in holding the “second key” to the country’s past reserves, Mr Lee reiterated.

The first and second keys refer to the Government and the presidency working together to unlock financial reserves during a crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic reminded Singaporeans “what an enormous advantage it is to have adequate reserves to draw upon in a dire situation”.

“You are the guardian of our nest egg, which we have painstakingly built up over decades… You have to ensure that the reserves are well-protected, to be used only for important and exceptional purposes, especially in urgent crises,” Mr Lee added.

He also said that he has every confidence in Mr Tharman’s ability to perform this important duty given his wealth of experience in economic and financial matters. 

“I pledge my Government’s full support and cooperation, as we operate this unique system to protect our reserves and key appointments.”

Mr Lee also spoke about how he has no doubt that Mr Tharman will represent Singapore as its “top diplomat” on the world stage with distinction.

The Government will work closely with you and support you to make the most of your experience and personal standing, in order to advance Singapore’s interests and enhance our status in the world.

Concluding his speech, Mr Lee said that with Singapore finding its ways forward in an increasingly troubled and uncertain world, it is crucial that the nation’s highest office be occupied by someone with the right experience and abilities, values and character.

“I am sure that like your predecessors, you, too, will be a President for all Singaporeans, and serve Singapore with dedication and distinction.”

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