Diplomatic figures Tommy Koh and Kishore Mahbubani rally behind Tharman’s Presidential candidacy

SINGAPORE: Kishore Mahbubani, the former senior diplomat joined Tommy Koh as the second Singaporean diplomat to publicly endorse presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Earlier, Singapore’s ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh openly endorsed Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the former senior minister of the People’s Action Party.

Prof Koh cited Tharman’s unifying leadership that transcends racial boundaries, his substantial experience in public service, and the international respect Tharman commands as his reasons for support.

On Wednesday (23 Aug), Mr Mahbubani, who is also an esteemed academic and author, took to his LinkedIn account with the intention of persuading Singaporeans to cast their votes in favor of Tharman for the 2023 Presidential Elections, strongly asserted that “there’s no better choice”.

“By voting for Tharman, you will give a major positive boost to the future of Singapore. ”

Mr Mahbubani outlined “three strong reasons” why Singaporeans should vote for Mr Tharman, including: Managing geopolitical stress, Forging national unity, and Seeding big thoughts.

Mahbubani, drawing from his extensive fifty-year study of geopolitics, expressed a strong conviction that Singapore and Southeast Asia will confront significant geopolitical challenges in the coming decade.

While addressing geopolitical stress falls under the government’s purview rather than the President’s, he emphasized the value of a globally esteemed President.

“Few Singaporeans are as highly respected in key capitals, especially Washington D.C. and Beijing, as Tharman is.”

So by electing him, We are directly or indirectly, helping to protect Singapore from geopolitical stress.

Vote Mr Tharman to forge national unity, says Mr Mahbubani

Mr Mahbubani emphasized the importance of electing Mr. Tharman as a unifying figure to address recent domestic stress in Singapore.

He stressed the need for a President who can bring together citizens of all backgrounds – rich and poor, less privileged and more privileged, Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Eurasians – to forge national unity.

“I’ve known Taman for over 30 years, ” said Mr Mahbubani, “He has a big heart, his affection for fellow Singaporeans. His commitment to Singapore is genuine and sincere, and not an opportunistic mass that only comes out during the elections.”

Mr Mahbubani noted the resounding support Mr Tharman received from his parliamentary constituency, underscoring the perception of his big-heartedness.

He believes that this compassion will be instrumental in infusing the nation’s spirit with heightened levels of care and empathy for one another.

Mr Mahbubani: Mr Tharman is a deep thinker

Mr Mahbubani underscored Mr Tharman’s remarkable intellectual prowess as a key reason for his endorsement.

Drawing from their enduring friendship spanning over three decades, Mahbubani recognized Tharman as a dedicated thinker, continuously engaging with the profound intellectual challenges of our era.

“That’s why his speeches are often brilliant. Quite amazingly, for a deep and serious thinker, he also has a remarkable sense of humour. He always has a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile on his face.”

Mr Mahbubani recounted an illustrative incident from the 45th St. Gallen Symposium on 7 Ma 2015, where then Deputy Prime Minister Tharman adeptly defused pressure from BBC’s Stephen Sackur with a quick and witty response.

“So even as we sail into some stress, we can be confident, Tharman will be around to cheer us up.

“Hence, I sincerely hope that you will join me in voting for Tharman. There’s no better choice,” he said.

Mr Mahbubani served for 33 years in various diplomatic roles, including as Singapore’s ambassador to the United Nations, president of the UN Security Council, and Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry.

From 2004 to 2017, he was the founding dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and a professor of public policy at the National University of Singapore.


Tommy Koh voices strong support for Tharman’s Presidential bid, highlighting leadership, experience, and values

Earlier on Tuesday, Singapore’s ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh also weighed in on the discourse surrounding the Singapore Presidential Election, underscoring his affiliation with all three candidates: Ng Kok Song, the former GIC investment chief; Mr Tharman; and former NTUC Income chief, Tan Kin Lian.

Expressing support for Mr Tharman in a Facebook post, Prof Koh outlined five reasons. Firstly, he commended Tharman’s role as a unifying leader, transcending racial boundaries to serve all Singaporeans.

He noted Tharman’s consistent electoral victories in Taman Jurong, a testament to his appeal.

“The fact that his Singaporean wife, Jane, is part Chinese and part Japanese reinforces his message of inter-racial harmony and multiculturalism. ”

Professor Koh also highlighted Tharman’s substantial experience in public service as a significant advantage, underscoring his readiness to fulfil his custodial role in managing Singapore’s reserves.

Prof Koh emphasized Tharman’s distinguished roles as Finance Minister, leadership at MAS, and oversight of GIC’s investment strategy, underscoring the breadth of his accomplished track record.

Furthermore, Prof Koh highlighted Tharman’s possession of an independent mindset, moral courage, and an unwavering commitment to upholding integrity.

“If faced with an unreasonable request to use our reserves, I believe that he will have the courage to say, no. ”

“If asked to approve the appointment of an unqualified person for a key post in the public service, I don’t think he will hesitate to reject the appointment. ”

Underlining the President’s role as Singapore’s foremost global representative, Prof Koh anticipated Tharman’s exceptional representation of the nation on the international stage.

“He is highly respected by the UN, IMF, G20, and the Group of 30, which have appointed him to lead high-level international councils.”

Professor Koh conveyed his admiration for the compassionate nature of Tharman’s wife, Jane Yumiko Ittogi, acknowledging her as a “tremendous asset” to him.

He commended her impactful role as the former chairwoman of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), a position to which he had appointed her.

“I was very impressed when she organised at the museum an exhibition of art works created by our prisoners. She had brought art teachers to teach art to our prisoners. Jane cares for the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised. She has a very good heart. ”

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