Wednesday, 12 October 2016

DPM Tharman: "I'm not the man for PM"


Most Singaporeans would choose Tharman as the next Prime Minister: survey

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is the clear favourite of Singaporeans to succeed Lee Hsien Loong as Singapore’s next Prime Minister, a survey conducted by market research consultancy Blackbox shows.

According to the poll commissioned by Yahoo Singapore, 69 per cent of all 897 respondents said they would support Tharman as a candidate to be prime minister.

The 59-year-old led three other men who emerged as possible contenders: fellow DPM Teo Chee Hean (34 per cent), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat (25 per cent) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing (24 per cent).

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More than 80 percent want to see Tharman as Singapore’s next PM

We asked our readers on Sunday (4 Sep) who should be the next Prime Minister of Singapore. As at 12pm today (6 Sep), we have had 2,316 responses to the poll – and most (1882 votes) voted for Tharman Shanmugaratnam to lead Singapore into the future.

Born in 1957, Mr Shanmugaratnam is 5 years younger than Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and just four years older than the person who got the next most number of votes in our poll (288 votes), Heng Swee Keat.

Mr Tharman who is currently the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, has contested four General Elections since 2001, and is hugely popular among many Singaporeans. Jurong GRC, which was led by the Deputy PM, enjoyed the biggest win in the last General Election.

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Minority PM inevitable, but Tharman rules himself out
'... BUT I'M NOT THE STRIKER': Using a sports analogy to explain why the prime ministership was not his cup of tea, Mr Tharman said he enjoyed playing half-back, but was not the striker - unless he was forced to, and he didn't think he would be forced to, because Singapore had choices. FOTO: INSTITUTE OF POLICY STUDIES

IT is only a matter of time before S'pore has its first minority-race prime minister, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Friday - but it won't be him because he isn't interested in the job. He said:
"Let me put it this way. We all have our preferences, and I was always, in sports, playing centre-half rather than centre-forward. I enjoy playing half-back and making the long passes, but I am not the striker. Unless I'm forced to be, and I don't think I'll be forced to it, because I think we've got choices.
"We won't always get it the way we expect it to be, but we think very hard about succession in S'pore."

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Singapore's Deputy PM rules himself out from becoming PM

Singapore's Indian-origin Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam today "categorically" ruled himself out from becoming the Prime Minister of the city-state.

"Just to be absolutely clear, because I know there's this talk going around ... I'm not the man for PM, I say that categorically. It's not me," the 59-yr-old leader was quoted as saying by the local media.

"I know myself, I know what I can do and it's not me. I'm good at policy-making, good at advising my younger colleagues and supporting the PM, not being the PM. That's not my ambition and that's not me," he said. 

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DPM Tharman rules himself out as next prime minister: 'I am not the man for PM'
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam attends the Economic Society of Singapore Annual Dinner 2016 event held at Mandarin Orchard Hotel. ST FOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday (Sep 28) ruled out the possibility that he might be PM, saying Singapore has a distinctive political culture where each minister contributes to the team in a way that matches his strengths.

This culture has been built up over time & the next PM - who will be “first among equals” - will be decided from among the 4th generation of leaders, he added.

“There’s no urgency to see succession in this term of government. That’s why we’re focused on the 4th generation of leaders, building them up and enabling them to take over during the next term of government,” he said.

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DPM Tharman 'categorically' rules himself out from becoming PM

DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Wednesday (Sep 28) "categorically" ruled himself out from becoming Prime Minister.

"Just to be absolutely clear, because I know there's this talk going around ... I'm not the man for PM, I say that categorically. It's not me," he told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the Wong Fong Industries Building.

"I know myself, I know what I can do and it's not me. I'm good at policy-making, good at advising my younger colleagues and supporting the PM, not being the PM. That's not my ambition and that's not me," he said.


DPM Tharman on Yahoo survey: I’m not the man for Prime Minister
DPM Tharman at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January this year. Photo: Associated Press

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam ruled himself out as a candidate to become Singapore’s prime minister on Wednesday (28 September), saying that a few of the fourth-generation leaders have the potential to be “first among equals”.

Tharman was responding to a question from the media on the results of a survey commissioned by Yahoo Singapore, which showed that 69 per cent of 897 Singaporean respondents would support him as a candidate to be prime minister. The survey, released on Monday (26 September), was conducted by market research consultancy Blackbox.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, Tharman said, “Just to be absolutely clear, I am not the man for PM. It’s not me.”

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The day DPM Tharman broke my heart

There was this collective groan of agony reverberating across the internet in Singapore. This happened as people heard DPM Tharman categorically ruling himself out from becoming PM. This is even though a survey by Blackbox, a market research consultancy, found that 69% of 897 respondents said they would support DPM Tharman if he became Prime Minister.

As the apparent chief architect of the government’s move to the left of centre, it is no wonder that DPM Tharman is popular amongst Singaporeans. Internationally, he is also held in high regard. It is thus understandable why many Singaporeans are disappointed to hear DPM Tharman reject being PM so categorically.

In fact, some Singaporeans are so disappointed that they seem to have lost the will to live.


Why doesn’t Tharman want to be PM?
Singapore DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said he does not wish to be prime minister. — Picture courtesy of TODAY

The most popular politician in Singapore has categorically stated that he doesn’t want to be prime minister.

Earlier this week, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and long-time Finance Minister went on record saying, “I’m not the man for PM. I say that categorically. It’s not me. I know myself, I know what I can do, and it’s not me.”

Such categorical statements are unusual from politicians in general, and in this case particularly unusual.

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Here’s everything DPM Tharman said about being PM when he categorically said “not me” three times

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam has come out to say that being Prime Minister is not for him. This happened when reporters asked him about a survey where nearly 70 per cent of Singaporeans wanted him to be the next PM.

But aside from saying “not me” thrice, DPM Tharman also touched upon how leadership in Singapore’s Cabinet works and how despite not being PM, individuals like Goh Keng Swee and S Rajaratnam were in “a league of their own” and made immense contributions to Singapore.

Here’s the full transcript of the exchange between reporters and him:

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DPM Tharman: I am not the man for Prime Minister

Despite overwhelming support from Singaporeans, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam has ruled himself out from becoming Singapore’s next Prime Minister.

After Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong ordered the amendment of the constitution to cater to the ‘special needs’ for representation of the minorities in the upcoming Presidential Election, netizens have suggested that there should also be arrangement made for a minority PM and DPM Tharman was highly ‘recommended’.

The overwhelming support for DPM Tharman was confirmed in a survey by Blackbox which was commissioned by Yahoo Singapore. The survey showed that almost 70% (blue) of those surveyed wanted DPM Tharman to be Singapore’s next PM.

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‘I am not the man for PM’: Tharman

ENOUGH already. Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam doesn’t want to be the next Prime Minister of Singapore.

Quashing talk of being the next PM, he told reporters yesterday (Sept 28): “Just to be absolutely clear, because I know of this talk that’s going around, I’m not the man for PM.” “I say that categorically. It’s not me. I know myself, I know what I can do, and it’s not me,” he added.

A recent poll by Yahoo Singapore this week showed the Deputy Prime Minister to be the respondents’ top choice for the job.

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DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam–Happy just to serve Singapore
Singapore DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said he does not wish to be prime minister. — Picture courtesy of TODAY

And the people asking Shanmugaratnam have good reason to want to know. After all, a quick glance at the current Cabinet leaves Shanmugaratnam as the most apparent candidate.

In addition to seniority he has a higher profile than any other minister in government and appears to be popular both within his constituency and nationally. In the last general election, he won his GRC (polling district) by the highest margin of any MP — including the Prime Minister.

Plus the #tharmanforpmcampaign (a low-key but visible Tharman for PM campaign led by, it seems, fans of the Finance Minister, rather than the man himself) remains popular and persistent.

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DPM Tharman says he is “not the man for PM” | Why Like Dat?

After our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that planning for leadership succession was a key priority, the Straits Times published the article “Who Will Lead Singapore Next?” The article highlighted six individuals: Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister for the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong but clearly Singaporeans had another person in mind.

In a survey commissioned by Yahoo Singapore, 69 per cent of all 897 respondents said they would support Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam as a candidate to be prime minister. He was followed by DPM Teo Chee Hean (34 per cent), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat (25 per cent) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing (24 per cent). He was favoured across different age groups and ethnicities, as well as socio-economic status, according to the survey.

However, in response to these sentiments favouring him as Singapore’s next Prime Minister, Mr Tharman said yesterday: “Just to be absolutely clear, because I know of this talk that’s going around, I’m not the man for PM. I say that categorically. It’s not me. I know myself, I know what I can do, and it’s not me.” He also said: “I’m good at policymaking, I’m good at advising my younger colleagues, and at supporting the PM – not at being the PM. That’s not me.”

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DPM Tharman rules himself out as next prime minister: 'I am not the man for PM'

This culture has been built up over time and the next prime minister - who will be "first among equals" - will be decided from among the fourth generation of leaders, he added. "There's no urgency to see succession in this term of government. That's why we're focused on the fourth generation of leaders, building them up and enabling them to take over during the next term of government," he said.

Mr Tharman was responding to questions from reporters on recent speculation, including a poll that Yahoo Singapore ran on Monday, that showed him as the respondents' top choice to be Singapore's fourth prime minister.
  • "Just to be absolutely clear, because I know of this talk that's going around, I'm not the man for PM. I say that categorically. It's not me. I know myself, I know what I can do, and it's not me," he said.
  • "I'm good at policymaking, I'm good at advising my younger colleagues, and at supporting the PM - not at being the PM. That's not me."

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Tharman again rules himself out of the running for prime minister

THE man whom many Singaporeans would like to be the country's next prime minister has "categorically" ruled himself out of the running for the top job.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told reporters on Wednesday that he was aware of the sentiment on the ground that he was the leading choice to be Singapore's fourth prime minister, but he reiterated the fact that he does not aspire to be in that position.
"Just to be absolutely clear, because I know there's this talk going around. I'm not the man for PM. I say that categorically. It's not me," he said when asked to give his take on the issue of leadership succession. "I know myself. I know what I can do and it's not me. I'm good at policy-making, good at advising my younger colleagues and supporting the PM, not being the PM."
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What A Minister’s Reluctance To Be PM Says About Race In Singapore

The move on Wednesday by Singapore’s popular deputy premier to emphatically quash suggestions he wants to take over from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong exposes the conservative ethnic consensus in the country’s leadership, despite a public clamour for greater political openness, observers say.

Public speculation about Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s fit as Lee’s successor has been swirling in recent years, and resurfaced on Monday after an independent survey showed nearly 69 per cent of Singaporeans would support the 59-year-old ethnic Tamil as the country’s next leader.

“Just to be absolutely clear, because I know there’s this talk going around… I’m not the man for PM, I say that categorically. It’s not me,” Tharman told local media late on Wednesday. Tharman said the top job was not his ambition.

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THARMAN SHOULD BE THE NEXT PRIME MINISTER OF SINGAPORE?

It has been less than a week since the upset win by the People's Action Party (PAP) at the polls last Friday, with the unpopular government gaining 83 out of the 89 seats total in parliament. Many have mourned the results for being a farcical display of irrational voters driven by fear and sympathy. Others have claimed that the ruling party now has a mandate to proceed with controversial policies such as the importing of more foreign labour, increasing goods and services tax (GST) and the minimum withdrawal sum on its citizenry's Central Provident Fund pension scheme.

But behind this disappointing victory is a remarkable phenomenon which some observers have termed "the Tharman effect". The unexpected popularity of the previously low key PAP politician of Tamil descent has driven some political analysts to ask: Will Singapore see its first Tamil politician in 2020?

It is anyone's guess as to what the next 5 years of PAP rule will bring, but if all goes well for the ruling party, the speculation will only intensify as the next GE comes around in 2020, a date which current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has hinted as the time he would consider stepping down. If he does, the odds of Tharman Shanmugaratnam, currently deputy prime minister and finance minister, becoming the most powerful man in this seemingly small but influential country is a distinct possibility - even if it is a long shot.

related:
DPM THARMAN NEVER LISTEN TO S'POREAN, INSIST HE DON'T WANT BE PM

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Tharman in panic mode

This is the first time Tharman has lost his cool and furiously trying to defend himself all because of a survey commissioned by Yahoo and conducted by Blackbox. And The Independent Singapore posted this comment, The Independent Singapore social media site said this, ‘We asked our readers on Sunday (4 Sep) who should be the next Prime Minister of Singapore.

As at 12pm today (6 Sep), we have had 2,316 responses to the poll – and most (1882 votes) voted for Tharman Shanmugaratnam to lead Singapore into the future.’

The report saw Tharman desperately denying that he wanted to be the PM and that he was not suitable to be one. Such modesty and humility are rare in Singapore, that a people’s choice candidate had to dispel such a notion or chattering in the political grapevine. This was what Tharman said, 'Just to be absolutely clear, because I know of this talk that's going around, I'm not the man for PM. I say that categorically. It's not me. I know myself, I know what I can do, and it's not me.'

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No, No, No, and NO: The Full Text of DPM Tharman Rejecting Talk of Him Becoming PM

You’ve been clamouring for it, and given that about 70 percent of Singapore agrees with you, that means the guy next to you most likely wanted it too.

But no, DPM Tharman isn’t going to become the next Singapore prime minister – at least, not if he can help it. Following the recent Yahoo/Blackbox poll that showed a majority of Singaporeans want the bald eagle to nest in the PM hot seat, Mr Tharman has come out to reject the post.

Not once, but several times in one sitting with reporters who badgered him about his political ambitions.

related: Appreciate DPM Tharman, His Heart is in the Right Place

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DPM Tharman: I won’t be PM

In a public forum about what lies ahead of Singapore at the SG50+ Conference held by the Institute of Policy Studies, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shamugaratnam unreservedly said that he will not be the next Prime Minister unless the ruling PAP Government forced him to. DPM Tharman said that he is neither interested in the PM role nor believe he is suitable for it:
“LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY, WE ALL HAVE OUR PREFERENCES. AND I WAS ALWAYS, IN SPORTS, A CENTRE HALF RATHER THAN CENTRE FORWARD. I ENJOY PLAYING HALF BACK AND MAKING THE LONG PASSES, BUT I AM NOT THE STRIKER."
The forum host, CNN journalist Dr Fareed Zakaria, also asked DPM Tharman if Singapore will get to see a non-Chinese Prime Minister one day, of which DPM Tharman became politically-correct and ambiguously said “it is just a matter of time”.
“WILL IT HAPPEN SOON? I DON’T THINK SO, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO WIN VOTES. AND THESE SENTIMENTS – WHO VOTES FOR WHOM,AND WHAT MAKES HIM IDENTIFY WITH THAT PERSON – THESE ARE SENTIMENTS WHICH WILL NOT DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY FOR A LONG TIME, EVEN IF PEOPLE DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT, EVEN IF PEOPLE WISH THEY DID NOT FEEL IT."
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Tharman debate and the race rut Singapore is drifting into
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. (Yahoo Singapore file photo)

From a limp economy to a listless society to a government with its back to the wall, Singapore is at a very painful point in its transition to a nation that must come to grips with the distressing effects of disruptive technology.

Swept into this developing perfect storm is Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the smart and affable Deputy Prime Minister caught in a polarising debate revolving round meritocracy and race.

It is an irritation that the country can do without. The issue is one of why Tharman cannot be the next PM, especially when a successor is not in sight.

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What fans and groupies of Tharman’s could do, to show their support to a minority PM candidate

Here's something fans and groupies of Tharman's could do. And yes those anti-PAP, anti-establishment types, too. Run a petition to get Tharman to become the next PM. Organise speeches, demonstrations and love-in at Hong Lim Park. Send a clear and loud message that Tharman is the people's choice, no matter what the present PM and the anointed candidates may say.

Of course, the People's Action Party will ignore all this as someone departed had said " we do what is right, never mind what the people said". Waste of time and effort or is there a method in this bit of madness? There is. Deny popular legitimacy to the Anointed One, whoever he will be who is anointed by a close-loop opaque process shorn of party democracy let alone popular democracy. Worst than how the Chinese Communist Party anoints its own leaders.

That will land a blow however large or small for the notion of political legitimacy founded in popular legitimacy and that people's opinion counts.

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Full Coverage:
Tharman Shanmugaratnam emerges as clear choice for Singapore's
Most Singaporeans want someone of same race as Prime Minister
Why DPM Tharman has no choice but to respond to the “next PM
Tharman quashes talk of being next PM, Singapore
Here's everything DPM Tharman said about being PM
Why doesn't Tharman Shanmugaratnam want to be PM?
DPM Tharman 'categorically' rules himself out from becoming PM
DPM Tharman rules himself out as next prime minister
'I am not the man for PM': Tharman - The Middle Ground
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam–Happy just to serve Singapore
DPM Tharman: I am not the man for Prime Minister
DPM Tharman says he is “not the man for PM” | Why Like Dat
DPM Tharman: Solely increasing manpower numbers won't grow
DPM Tharman rules himself out as next prime minister: 'I am not
DPM Tharman 'categorically' rules himself out from becoming PM
DPM Tharman rules himself out as next prime minister
DPM Tharman said categorically “not me” three times
'I am not the man for PM': Tharman
Tharman could be the almost perfect NSman for Singapore
Singapore's Deputy PM rules himself out from becoming PM
Tharman again rules himself out of the running for prime
Tharman again rules himself out of the running for prime minister
Singapore news today | DPM THARMAN NEVER LISTEN TO
Singapore News Today | All Singapore Stuff - Real Singapore News
DPM Tharman on Yahoo survey: I'm not the man for Prime Minister
Tharman in panic mode - The title of your home page



Spore pushes for a minority race President but is not ready for a non-Chinese PM

The Republic has come a long way in building a nation where everyone is equal, but the country is not colour-blind.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave this assessment in an exclusive 1-hour interview with Channel NewsAsia, which was broadcast on Sun (Sep 4).

“I think we have come a long way. It’s not a Chinese or Malay or an Indian nation. Everybody has his place, everybody is equal. Treated equally, equal standing, equal rights and status,” Mr Lee said.

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Behind Singapore Ruling Party's Victory, A Rising Star

SINGAPORE, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Singapore's ruling party is celebrating a resounding re-election victory, thanks partly to its economic Tsar, an ethnic Tamil politician whose voter appeal poses an awkward question for its leaders: can a non-Chinese ever become prime minister?

As the People's Action Party (PAP) settles down to another five years in power, the guessing game of who will succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has begun — and the name of Tharman Shanmugaratnam keeps coming up.

The odds of Shanmugaratnam, who is deputy prime minister and finance minister, making it to the top job should be long.

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DPM Tharman in Focus
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Wednesday that he would have preferred a contest in the recent Presidential Election

Speaking at the first Majulah Lecture organised by the Nanyang Technological University on Wednesday (20 Sept), Tharman was quizzed on the 2017 Presidential Election after the lecture, according to media reports.

One student asked if the reserved presidential election is an indication that Singapore is “regressing as a society”, despite Singaporeans growing up reciting a pledge with the words “regardless of race, language or religion”.


In response, Tharman said while he was “proud” that Halimah Yacob was the first Malay president in 47 years, he told the audience of more than 1,500 it was “understandable” that Singaporeans had questions about the recent election, which was reserved for Malay candidates.

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