MOF clarifies “no conflict of interest” between Tharman’s Presidential candidacy and his son’s role in MOF

SINGAPORE: A statement regarding Akilan, the son of presidential candidate Tharman Shanmugaratnam, has been issued by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Public Service Division (PSC) Secretariat.

Mr Tharman, a former senior minister from the People’s Action Party (PAP) is currently bidding for the Presidential Election which is set to poll on Friday (1 Sept).

The latest statement issued on Wednesday (30 Aug) mentioned that Akilan has been a part of MOF since June 2022. Currently, he is engaged in shaping education and manpower policies within the social programmes directorate.

The Singapore Government Directory website has been updated to reflect Akilan’s new job role.

The statement also emphasized that there exists “no conflict of interest” between Akilan’s current position and his father’s presidential candidacy.

“Akilan was previously working in the Reserves and Investment Directorate at MOF. No conflict of interest occurred in his previous work at the Directorate, ” the statement wrote.

“The decision was made in July to rotate him and preempt any possible potential for conflict of interest situations in the presidential election. Akilan was treated like all other Overseas Merit Scholars, according to prevailing policies.”

“Akilan disrupted from his NS in 2011, resumed his NS duties in 2015 and finished his NS obligations, like his other PSC scholarship peers who had disrupted, ” the statement added.

However, MOF’s statement essentially confirms that the person who has been the subject of online gossip is indeed Mr Tharman’s son.

Sudden shift in Akilan’s professional record sparks attention

Earlier, a member of the public informed Gutzy about a notable change in the professional record of Akilan.

Akilan’s record on was altered, transferring him from the Department of Reserves and Investment Directorate Reserves Policy at the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to the Social Programmes Directorate Education and Manpower.

This shift is said to have taken place between 10 am and 12.40 pm today.

Mr Tharman’s Portfolio before resigning from Cabinet and PAP

The online community has been abuzz with Akilan’s initial appointment at the reserves department, specifically on the local forum Hardwarezone.

Netizens have been debating whether there could be a conflict of interest, given that Akilan’s father, Mr Tharman had served as the Minister for Finance from 2007 to 2015.

Mr Tharman also served as Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore between 2011 and 2023, and Deputy Chairman of GIC between 2019 and 2023.

One forum member stated, “Tharman left MOF in 2015, so if his son joined after 2015 means no issue. Anyway, it’s not uncommon for their children to work in CS, Temasek, or GIC.”

Meanwhile, another speculated, “Tomorrow will be promoted to another ministry?”

Given the recent changes to Akilan’s record, some are wondering whether this move is a promotion or, contrarily, a demotion.

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