SINGAPORE — Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam said early Saturday morning (Sept 2) that he was “truly humbled” by the strong endorsement he has received from Singaporeans, after garnering 70.4 per cent of the votes for Friday’s Presidential Election.
Asked by a media representative about the need for a reserved election given his projected win, Mr Tharman said: “This was a contested election with a multi-racial slate. I’ve always said that race is never absent in politics anywhere in the world or even in an apolitical election of this case.
“Race is never absent but it is not the only factor, and I think with each half-decade, Singapore is changing and evolving and I hope that my being elected President is seen as another milestone in that process of evolution.”
He thanked his rivals Mr Ng and Mr Tan for their “very active participation” in the election and “the sheer energy” of their campaigns, adding that he had already spoken to Mr Ng on the phone but had not yet reached Mr Tan.
Mr Ng conceded defeat to Mr Tharman following the sample count results while Mr Tan congratulated Mr Tharman, but said he would wait for the final results before conceding.Mr Tharman added that he will be visiting a number of places throughout Saturday as part of his celebrations to thank voters.
SUPPORTERS JUBILANT, SAY RESULTS ‘EXPECTED’
At Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre were Ms Sumithra Devi, 60, and her daughter Ms Lavaniya, 23, who were ecstatic about Mr Tharman’s victory.
“We feel so proud and happy,” they said with smiles on their face.
They had seen him live on the news at the hawker centre, and had rushed down from their home nearby to catch a glimpse of him on Friday night.
The family has lived in Taman Jurong for 21 years and said that he has helped them in many ways.
Couple Shaun Lau and Pauline Tan, who were also at the food centre, said that Mr Tharman’s landslide victory “was to be expected”.
“I feel given the current slate of candidates for this particular elections, my expectations were actually around 70 per cent,” said Mr Lau, 41, a financial advisor.
For Mr Vignesh Chandrasekaran, 24, the win was expected but he had not foreseen such a large margin of victory.
“That margin is normal in Jurong, because he has been here for almost 20 years…but I didn’t expect it to show nationwide,” said the engineer.
For Mr Cheok Xin Lin, 22, an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, the landslide victory was a “huge relief”.
Mr Cheok, who is a long-time Jurong resident and also a volunteer in Mr Tharman’s campaign, said: “Mr Tharman watched me grow up. So today I’m here to watch him step up and be the next President of Singapore.”