Saturday, 23 September 2017

DPM Tharman in Focus

Update 29 Sep 2017: Tharman clarifies comments, says PAP did not engage in gutter politics

Character is at the heart of politics, & raising questions about an election candidate's character cannot be said to be gutter politics, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday.

He added that, contrary to some commentators' claims, he never agreed with the view that the People's Action Party (PAP) was engaging in "gutter" tactics against Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan when it raised questions about his character during the Bukit Batok by-election last year.

"That is not what I said, & not what I believe ... I stand by what the PAP and my colleagues said. The PAP was not engaging in gutter politics," he wrote in a Facebook post.

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Tharman Shanmugaratnam 12 hrs

Following my NTU Majulah Lecture last week on the future of education we had a dialogue. Some asked about the recent Presidential Election (PE) - and my views on the PE, especially how we should look at the issue of race, have been reported.

Gutter Politics?

I see that some social media commentators have claimed that I agreed in the dialogue that the PAP had engaged in “gutter politics” in the Bukit Batok by-election. That is not what I said, and not what I believe.

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Tharman on state media, gutter politics
You can listen to the audio recording of the exchange

I asked Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister, a question during NTU’s Majulah Lecture 2017.

Me:
  • Individuality, that’s right. Having said that, don’t you think it’s also important to open up the media landscape to have the mainstream media not controlled by the government? As some of you may know, Singapore is ranked a 151st out of a 180 countries by Reporters Without Borders. And you’ve also said there is a need to return to honest politics, and have indicated that you believe political campaigns should be a healthy debate on ideas, not one muddied with mudslinging and personal attacks. Why then has the leaders of the PAP made gutter politics and character assassination central to their campaigns in recent elections, such as the Bukit Batok By-Elections last year? Is that something you personally approve of and would like to see continue in Singapore, or is that simply out of your control?
Mr Tharman:
  • Thanks for your willingness to ask the question. Let me put it this way. I’ll answer this in two levels. First, as someone who’s lived through some of Singapore’s history – I grew up in the 60s, I was politically very conscious and aware, and in the 70s, I was active in my own way, and I joined the ruling party in 2001 – I would say Singapore has really changed. I don’t want to minimise anything you might talk about today, but it is a vastly more open and liberal place compared to what it used to be, believe me. I was an activist. Vastly more liberal and vastly more open. And the sense of fear, the sense of constraints is far less now.
  • Yes, you get pushbacks. Sometimes you may not like it. And I don’t agree with every tactic of every one of my colleagues. But I have to say, that there’s something that defines the PAP. It’s the insistence on character, honesty, and being true to Singaporeans. Now I’m not saying this to besmirch anyone, but that trait of the PAP shows up almost all the time. And sometimes the PAP falls short, and action is to be taken on individuals.
  • So just bear in mind that that was one of the colours of the PAP, that emphasis on character, and it shows up in a variety of ways. But it is a vastly more open society than it used to be. Vastly more open politically, and people don’t have to be frightened. I don’t agree with every tactic but every political party and political campaigns have a range of tactics. I also have great faith in Singaporeans, which is my second point. Singaporeans judge. Singaporeans judge in Bukit Batok, Singaporeans judge in each general elections and they’ll judge the PAP in the next elections. I don’t think Singaporeans are fools. I don’t think they are fools at all.
  • And even when they read what we call the mainstream media, they don’t read it lightly. They know some things are more likely to come up on page 4 than on page 1. The headlines might be a slightly different size, but Singaporeans aren’t fools. And Singaporeans have the social media as well. People talk more openly, they exchange views more openly and they make judgement. And that, at the end of the day, is the test of how we’re progressing.

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The Straits Times 10 hrs

"I did not entertain the assertion about the PAP engaging in gutter politics in Bukit Batok," said DPM Tharman.

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DPM Tharman clarifies his views on the mainstream media, Bukit Batok by-election
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam has clarified his views on the mainstream media & on the Bukit Batok by-election, in a Facebook post on Sep 28, 2017. ST FOTO: MARK CHEONG

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has come out to clarify his views on the mainstream media & the Bukit Batok by-election, topics which he was asked about during a dialogue with students last week.

Mr Tharman said that contrary to what social media commentators have claimed, he did not agree during the dialogue that the People's Action Party had engaged in "gutter politics" in the Bukit Batok by-election.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (Sep 28), he said: "That is not what I said, & not what I believe ... I did not entertain the assertion about the PAP engaging in gutter politics in Bukit Batok".

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PAP did not engage in gutter politics in Bukit Batok by-election: DPM Tharman
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was issuing clarifications to his comments at the inaugural Majulah Lecture organised by Nanyang Technological University, which was held last Wednesday

The People's Action Party (PAP) did not engage in gutter politics during the Bukit Batok by-election held last year, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Thursday (Sep 28) in a Facebook post.

He was issuing clarifications to his comments at the inaugural Majulah Lecture organised by Nanyang Technological University, which was held last Wednesday.

Mr Tharman, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Economic & Social Policies, was the keynote speaker at the event where he spoke at length about the future of education in Singapore and addressed issues about the Elected Presidency, race & politics in the question and answer session following the talk.

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DPM Tharman Denies Claiming that PAP Engaged in Gutter Politics during Bukit Batok By-Election

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shamugaratnam has denied saying that the PAP engaged in “gutter politics” during the 2016 Bukit Batok by-election, in a NTU lecture organised last week. Mr Tharman said that some factions online have been claiming that he had said so, especially with regards to the character assassination of Dr Chee Soon Juan by PAP MPs.

During the lecture, Mr Tharman had said that sometimes his fellow PAP MPs “fall short” when it comes to the PAP’s values. He clarified in his statement yesterday differences in opinion within the party are “healthy”:

  • “I did not entertain the assertion about the PAP engaging in gutter politics in Bukit Batok. It is an assertion that is recycled from time to time, and has been the SDP’s position. But having seen social media commentaries claiming that I had agreed with the assertion, I am making my views clear.
  • More generally – are there occasional differences of views on issues within Government, or within the PAP? Of course there are, and that’s healthy. But once any course of action is decided, there is no question that we take collective responsibility for it in the leadership.”

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DPM Tharman Clarifies Majulah Lecture Statements, Says PAP Did Not Engage in Gutter Politics

In his Facebook clarification, DPM Tharman rejected claims that he had agreed that the PAP had engaged in gutter politics during the Bukit Batok by-election. Instead, he stands by his party, and insists that the PAP did not engage in gutter politics.

DPM Tharman’s stance now is very different from what he had said initially. During the lecture, the DPM was quizzed about the underhanded means used by his People’s Action Party during Bukit Batok by-election in 2016. He answered that while the PAP focused on “character, honesty and being true to Singaporeans”, there was acknowledgement that “sometimes the PAP itself falls short, and action has to be taken”.

DPM Tharman added that he had “great faith” that Singaporeans would be able to judge what had happened during the Bukit Batok by-election and enforce their judgement on the PAP during the next General Elections. On top of these comments, DPM Tharman had also said that he did not always agree with the actions of his colleagues. These initial comments give a somewhat ambiguous stance. But, DPM Tharman has now made clear his position by “stand[ing]by what the PAP and [his]colleagues said”.

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NTU dialogue partner takes issue with DPM Tharman for using his photo without addressing his questions

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam allegedly deflected questions on reserved elections, according to a dialogue partner who conversed with the DPM at the inaugural Majulah Lecture at Nanyang Technological University last Wednesday.

The participant, Nabil Khairul Anwar, took issue with the fact that the DPM later posted a photo prominently featuring him on his Facebook page, after allegedly failing to answer his questions on the implications of reserving elections in an adequate manner. Nabil was referring to this photo that the DPM posted on his Facebook page, addressing issues like gutter politics and mainstream media censorship at length. Adding that he did not ask the question on gutter politics, Nabil revealed the two questions that he did ask the Minister at the dialogue:
  • “During the Majulah Lecture, I had asked the Minister two important questions. First, whether he was of the view that the Reserved Presidential Election was entrenching the notion of race into Singapore politics and if Singapore was regressing as a society. Second, I asked him if the government had any plans, in the future, of reserving the position of Prime Minister for a Malay or other minority candidate. The latter went unaddressed.
  • “Instead, he went on talking about how Mdm Halimah Yacob was an outstanding individual and how the Government had to take proactive steps in order to turn the pledge from a mere incantation to actuality. Indeed, like him and many other Singaporeans, I have no doubt as to Mdm Halimah’s abilities. As much as I would like to believe that he missed the point, I also know that he is far smarter than that. He did what most politicians would do when presented with a hard question. He avoided it.”

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Nabil Khairul Anwar on Thursday

This evening, I was prompted by a friend who texted to tell me that my photo was posted on Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s Facebook page. On it, he wrote at length about a certain member of the audience who questioned him about the government’s censorship of the media and also the issue of gutter politics by the People’s Action Party. I would like to clarify that I did not ask that question and I am puzzled as to why he would choose to use a screenshot of me speaking at that lecture. I believe the question was asked by a young, courageous gentleman who had just completed his National Service and to take away that credit from him would be rather unjust.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what I actually said. During the Majulah Lecture, I had asked the Minister two important questions. First, whether he was of the view that the Reserved Presidential Election was entrenching the notion of race into Singapore politics and if Singapore was regressing as a society. Second, I asked him if the government had any plans, in the future, of reserving the position of Prime Minister for a Malay or other minority candidate. The latter went unaddressed.

Instead, he went on talking about how Mdm Halimah Yacob was an outstanding individual and how the Government had to take proactive steps in order to turn the pledge from a mere incantation to actuality. Indeed, like him and many other Singaporeans, I have no doubt as to Mdm Halimah’s abilities. As much as I would like to believe that he missed the point, I also know that he is far smarter than that. He did what most politicians would do when presented with a hard question. He avoided it.

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DPM Tharman clarifies his views on mainstream media, Bukit Batok by-election

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has come out to clarify his views on the mainstream media and the Bukit Batok by-election, topics which he was asked about during a dialogue with students last week.

Mr Tharman said that contrary to what social media commentators have claimed, he did not agree during the dialogue that the People’s Action Party had engaged in “gutter politics” in the Bukit Batok by-election.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (Sept 28), he said: “That is not what I said, and not what I believe… I did not entertain the assertion about the PAP engaging in gutter politics in Bukit Batok.”

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Mainstream media quotes Tharman saying mainstream media is serious-minded & responsible

The mainstream media in Singapore is having a field day reporting on itself.

This after Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam issued a lengthy Sept. 28 clarification on Facebook of his comments made during a dialogue in Nanyang Technological University a few days before, as his words took on a life of their own online the moment they left his mouth.

Tharman sets the record straight.

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DPM Tharman: Did not say nor believes that PAP engaged in gutter politics at Bukit Batok by-election

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has posted on his Facebook page to issue a clarification to a reply that he gave during an event at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on last Wednesday, stating that he did not agree that People's Action Party engaged in "gutter politics" in the Bukit Batok by-election where Singapore Democratic Party Secretary-General Dr Chee Soon Juan squared off with PAP candidate Murali Pillai.

DPM Tharman was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Majulah Lecture organised by NTU.

He wrote that he did not entertain the assertion about the PAP was engaging in gutter politics in Bukit Batok and therefore making his views clear after seeing social media commentaries claiming that he had agreed with the assertion. He also wrote on his views in regards to Mainstream Media in Singapore, saying that "the media doesn’t wait around for instructions, and it doesn’t excuse everything government does."

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I DON’T AGREE WITH EVERY TACTIC OF EVERY ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES: THARMAN ON PAP’S “GUTTER POLITICS”

Deputy Prime Minister and 2nd Assistant Secretary General of the People’s Action Party (PAP), Tharman Shanmugaratnam, has acknowledged that his party members have engaged in “gutter politics”.

While not admitting to this directly, Mr Tharman nonetheless tacitly agreed with the description by a member of the audience at the inaugural Nanyang Technological University Majulah Lecture on Wednesday.

Kenneth Lin, the member of the audience, had asked the DPM for his views on the “gutter politics” tactics employed by his party during elections, such as during the Bukit Batok by-election last year.

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publichouse.sg Yesterday at 18:21

Tharman acknowledged the "gutter politics" which his party engages in.

However, he says he "[does not] agree with every tactic of every one of my colleagues."

But his remarks suggest that those above him had condoned and approved of the dirty tactics.

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DPM Tharman on Gutter Politics: Sometimes the PAP “Falls Short” on Character

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has acknowledged that the PAP sometimes “falls short” when it comes to when it comes to “character”.

Mr Tharman, who is also the 2nd Assistant Secretary General of the People’s Action Party, said this at the Nanyang Technological University Majulah Lecture yesterday.

He was addressing a question from audience member Kenneth Lin, who asked for his views on “gutter politics” which some members of the PAP engaged in during the 2016 Bukit Batok SMC by-election.

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Singaporeans more liberal, feel less fear: DPM Tharman
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam chatting with NTU students after the dialogue session. FOTO: NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

A student had asked Mr Tharman about media control and whether the minister agreed with what he saw as "gutter politics" employed by People's Action Party leaders during the Bukit Batok by-election last year.

Mr Tharman, in reply, said he did not want to minimise the significance of what the student had said, but added that the country has "really changed".

Recounting his experience as "someone who has lived through some of Singapore's history", having grown up in the 1960s and becoming politically active in the 1970s, he said: "It is a vastly different and more liberal place compared to what it used to be.

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Tharman on state media, gutter politics

I’m glad to hear that Mr Tharman has, for the first time, disavowed the gutter politics and mudslinging utilised by his colleagues during election campaigns. Before the Bukit Batok By-Elections of last year went into full swing, Dr Paul Tambyah of the Singapore Democratic Party got a promise from Mr Tharman that there would only be a healthy debate on ideas on how to bring Singapore forward, not dirty politics as the PAP has so often resorted to in the past.

One such example was how Charles Chong, the PAP candidate for Punggol East, made a still unsubstantiated claim about the Workers’ Party losing a $1 million surplus when they took over Punggol East. The accusation, and the media coverage, eventually led the PAP to win back Punggol East in 2015 with 51% of the votes, a slim margin.

However, all that talk meant nothing for the numerous ministers (as well as our current President, then Speaker of Parliament) who launched many attacks below the belt against Dr Chee of the SDP. It was heartening, therefore, to at least hear that Mr Tharman wasn’t lying and truly did not approve of it, and one can only wonder how much better the PAP would conduct itself if he was prime minister. If only, if not for his race.

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DPM Tharman ‘would have preferred a contest’ for Presidential Election
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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DPM THARMAN NOW SAY HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE HALIMAH CONTEST ELECTION

Now only after Halimah Yacob has been selected and installed as the President then Tharman comes out to say that he "would have preferred a contest". Why didn't he voice out his opinion before or during the "nomination day"?

Or better still, why didn't he voice out when the cynical manipulation of the EP Act was taking place, when Lee Hsien Loong and Shanmugam and Chan Chun Sing were actively and selling it in Parliament and in the PAP-controlled MSM?

Doesn't Tharman think it's too late?

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DPM Tharman Admits That He Would’ve Preferred An Actual Presidential Election In 2017

Even though ESM Goh Chok Tong had beaten him to the punch as the first Government official to acknowledge the unhappiness surrounding the election, DPM Tharman’s response was surprising as he spoke a lot more in-depth and provided insight regarding the controversies.

When asked if Singapore was regressing as a society due to the Reserved Election conflicting with the “regardless of race, language or religion” portion of our pledge, he had the following response.
"It is understandable that questions are raised on the reserved election. It is also understandable that most people, including myself, would have preferred a contest."
He also added that more can be done to make race matter less, instead of mindlessly repeating the pledge. However, he didn’t elaborate on what could be done. Still, his response was a welcome surprise.

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DPM Tharman: We are not a special people
We have to work hard to be a cohesive society

Can something like this happen in Singapore? It wasn’t too long ago that Singapore was torn asunder by racial riots. That was part of our founding history. It’s a part of our history that we have worked strenuously to never repeat. As DPM Tharman explained:

“It requires continuous work, and should never pretend that just leaving it to the market would lead to more understanding, more harmony, greater multiculturalism. It doesn’t happen that way anywhere in the world. It requires conscious action, conscious acts of the State, which work if they are supported by people. That’s how we have come so far and that’s how we will have to go into the future.”

Some of things that we have done include a very intrusive housing policy.

And of course, it also includes the reserved presidential election. DPM Tharman acknowledged that people would have preferred a contest. He also professed that he would have preferred a contest too. But he is also very proud that Mdm Halimah is our President.

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DPM Tharman said S’poreans aren’t fools who read mainstream media blindly

Tharman also said he has “great faith” in Singaporeans as they judged what happened during the Bukit Batok by-election and would judge the PAP at the next election.

Singaporeans also know how to read what the Singapore press produces and are more expressive owing to social media.
  • “I don’t think Singaporeans are fools. Even when they read what we call the mainstream media, they don’t read it blindly.”
  • “They know some things are more likely to come up on page four than on page one; the headlines may be a slightly different size, but they read things. They have the social media as well. People talk more openly, they exchange views more openly, and they make judgements.”

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DPM Tharman says the strong reaction to the reserved Presidency is “encouraging”

It’s not a stretch to say that the recent Presidential selection election has been rather controversial. On Sep. 16, Singaporeans even turned out in their hundreds at Hong Lim Park to wage a silent protest and also for a chance to meet onetime Presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock.

But if you ask Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, he welcomes the debate over the reserved Presidency, and even says that it’s an “encouraging” sign. Tharman was speaking at the inaugural Majulah Lecture at Nanyang Technological University on Sep. 20. Former PAP MP, Ambassador Zainul Abidin Rasheed had asked a question on the divisiveness in society caused by the reserved Presidential election.

While Tharman said that he believed Singapore was at a better starting point than in other countries, with a more cohesive society that is far more tolerant than most, he cautioned against being complacent lest divisions within society deepened.

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DPM Tharman invents a new phrase to talk up the importance of the arts as well as science

With the slow but sure approach of the Digital Revolution, it can be tempting to declare Literature and the Arts dead, buried, and irrelevant in the years to come.

With the machines taking over, who can deny that sciences are more important than humanities?

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shamugaratnam, for one. A former poet himself, he strongly believes in the continued relevance of the humanities to spur on innovative thinking, even with continued technological development.

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THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM LESS DISLIKE-ABLE THAN HIS PAP COLLEAGUES?

A journalist for The Middle Ground has posted some observations about what makes DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam more appealing to Singaporeans than the rest of his cabinet colleagues.

It all boils down to his political communications, says Md Suhaile, who gave 6 reasons why his messages are more well-received.

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Md Suhaile 22 hrs

Off the top of my head, Tharman’s six principles of political communication:
  • Timing: Wait till the worst of the storm of public dissatisfaction blows over. Don't go into the thick of it. Wait for heads to cool.
  • Deflate the elephant: Point to the elephant in the room, acknowledge it, and everyone goes “finally!”. Tension is released. Elephant gets smaller, people can breathe easier.
  • I am one of you: Acknowledge and even agree with the sentiments on the ground, then reframe to “in spite of this… must recognise reality... and so must do that”. Classic rhetorical technique. Throw in own background of activist etc. for added legitimacy.
  • Be general: He said he doesn’t agree with every tactic of everyone of his colleague. Broad obvious statement. In a large org like PAP that's bound to happen. But this allows people to fill in what they *think* he means. Or what they *want to believe* cos he's likeable. Still, people may not be wrong, but it gives wiggle room should the need ever arise in another context.
  • Provide hope: Things are better now than before. We will continue to be better. Let's work towards that.
  • Be likeable: People listen to you cos they like you. This factor anchors all the above. Also, he didn't comment on the process, and the legitimacy of a president who came into office with so much controversy on the ground. Does the President really have a mandate then? Maybe no one asked. And why should he bring it up of his own accord? Skilfully done. All the more’s the reason I think he should be the next PM. (#TharmanForPM!) But oh well’s, we’re not ready for a non-Chinese PM and he has ruled himself out. Sigh pie.

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Public concerns over reserved Presidential Election understandable: DPM Tharman
Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, DPM & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, delivering the inaugural NTU Majulah Lecture at the Nanyang Auditorium. Foto: Nuria Ling/TODAY

It is “understandable” that concerns were raised over the recent reserved Presidential Election (PE), & the “encouraging” public debate showed that Singaporeans have an aspiration for race to matter less, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Wednesday (Sep 20).

However, this aspiration requires action, & cannot be achieved by simply reciting the national pledge or through an “incantation”, said Mr Tharman, who was the first Cabinet Minister to address public disquiet over the PE, held last week.

The PE was won via a walkover by Madam Halimah Yacob, who was the sole eligible candidate. At her swearing-in ceremony at the Istana last Thursday, Mdm Halimah noted the unhappiness some Singaporeans felt about the recent changes to the Elected Presidency scheme.

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'Singaporeans have an aspiration for race to matter less': DPM Tharman
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam having a chat with NTU students after the inaugural NTU Majulah Lecture on Sep 20, 2017. (Foto: NTU)

DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said that he, like most Singaporeans, would have liked to see a contest in the recent Presidential Election.

However, the debate over the presidency proved that Singaporeans have an aspiration for race to matter less in politics and society, he said in response to questions after the first Majulah Lecture organised by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Wednesday (Sep 20).

Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, mapped out his vision for how education needs to evolve to an audience of more than 1,500 during the lecture at NTU's Nanyang Auditorium.

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Questions raised about presidential election show that people want race to matter less: DPM Tharman
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam addressing the 1,500-strong audience at the inaugural NTU Majulah Lecture. FOTO: NTU

Mr Tharman was responding to a question on whether the reserved election had entrenched even more deeply the idea of race, & whether it in fact marked a regression in race relations.

The DPM, who said he himself would have also preferred a contest "like most people", said, however, that the aspiration for race not to count is something that requires working towards.

"It cannot just be a pledge, it cannot be just an incantation," he said. "Sometimes it requires a conscious act of the state."

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Biggest mistake is to think 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it': DPM Tharman on Singapore's education
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam addressing the 1,500-strong audience at the inaugural NTU Majulah Lecture. Foto: NTU

The biggest mistake for Singapore's education system is to think that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", said DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Wednesday evening (Sep 20).

In a speech addressing some 1,500 students, academics, university students & members of the public, he laid out the challenges for the education system: to develop a truly innovative society while retaining social cohesion.

"The system that we have today is different from the system we had 20 years ago, and quite different from 50 years ago. There's been constant evolution of our education system, & that's really our challenge and our opportunity for the future," he said, speaking at the 1st Majulah Lecture organised by Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

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Education system must keep experimenting for the future: Tharman
By changing, experimenting & having a sense of dare, we are best preparing ourselves for a range of eventualities in the future, says DPM Tharman

Despite its students aceing mathematics, science & reading in a prestigious international benchmarking test, Singapore’s education system must keep experimenting & having a “sense of dare” to prepare for the future, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Wednesday (Sep 20).

“The biggest mistake we would make is to think that because we’re doing well in the Pisa test … therefore we keep things as they are. The biggest mistake is to think, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said at the Nanyang Technological University’s inaugural Majulah lecture.

The Pisa, or Programme for International Student Assessment, is a triennial study run by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. It compares how education systems are helping students acquire knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems, and Singapore’s 15-year-olds ranked number one for maths, science & reading in the 2015 study, it was announced last December.

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Mr Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM
Mr Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies

DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam is Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies in the Singapore Cabinet.

Tharman is also Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator. He has spent his working life in public service, in roles related to education and economic policies. He served as Minister for Finance for eight years (2007- 2015), and as Minister for Education for five years (2003-2008). He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 2011.

Tharman was appointed Chairman of the Group of Thirty, an independent global council of leading economic and financial policy-makers, from Jan 2017, succeeding Jean-Claude Trichet. In Apr 2017, he was appointed as Chairman of the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, to review the system of multilateral financial institutions. He had previously been appointed by his international peers as Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the key policy forum of the IMF, for an extended period of four years from 2011; he was its first Asian chair.

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Full Coverage:
'Singaporeans have an aspiration for race to matter less': DPM Tharman
Questions about PE2017 show that people want race to matter less: DPM
DPM Tharman: strong reaction to the reserved Presidency is “encouraging”
DPM Tharman invents a new phrase to talk up the importance of the
DPM Tharman says the strong reaction to the reserved Presidency is
At the inaugural #NTUsg Majulah Lecture - Nanyang Technological
DPM Tharman at the 40th Singapore Lecture | Prime Minister's Office
Public concerns over reserved Presidential Election understandable
Majulah Lecture - Nanyang Technological University
Sngaporeans more liberal, feel less fear: DPM Tharman
gov.sg | Education system must keep experimenting for the future
Kenneth Lin | The Online Citizen
NTU Singapore (@NTUsg) | Twitter
I don't agree with every tactic of every one of my colleagues: Tharman
Majulah!: 50 Years of Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore
'Sporeans have an aspiration for race to matter less': DPM Tharman
DPM Tharman 'would have preferred a contest' for Presidential Election
Individuality Vs Individualism Tharman on state media, gutter politics
Tharman Shanmugaratnam - Home | Facebook
DPM Tharman - TODAYonline
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam | Prime Minister's Office Singapore
Mr Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM | Prime Minister's Office Singapore
Biggest mistake is to think 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it': DPM Tharman
Wrong to have total free flow of people: DPM Tharman, South Asia
Singapore news today | DPM THARMAN IS A HYPOCRITE, NOW SAY
DPM Tharman asks public to have confidence in the government
Medal of Honour conferred on DPM Tharman at May Day Awards
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam Q&A on Family Matters
dpm tharman | SGSME.SG
Dialogue with Minister for Finance and DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Tharman:“disruptive changes” good for economy, example of sporting flop
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18 Quotes By DPM Tharman That Every Singaporean Should Hear

DPM Tharman asks public to have confidence in the government

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has chipped into the Lee family saga with a Facebook post on Thursday evening, asking for members of public to have confidence in the Government.

He wrote that there is no mystery why a Ministerial committee was set up to look into the options for 38 Oxley Road and DPM Teo has already explained the reasons for setting it up.

Explaining that Ministerial committees are formed on a whole range of issues which help think through difficult choices in Government before they come to Cabinet, and to canvas views outside when appropriate, Tharman calls for Singaporeans to count on the fourth generation leaders to keep to a system that upholds the laws of the land, prioritises the common good and looks to the long term.

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BBC’s Stephen Sackur gets sucker punched by DPM Tharman at St Gallen Symposium

DPM's tour de force performance in Switzerland. Hopp St Gallen!

Step aside Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam vs BBC’s Stephen Sackur was the verbal boxing match many Singaporeans were interested in during the past few days.

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DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s Wise Words

Whether you love the People’s Action Party (PAP) or not, we know a wise man when we see one.

Even though Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is not going to be our future prime minister — according to this Straits Times report where he ruled himself out of the running — it’s no question that he’s one of the most deserving ministers for the post, due to his impactful words that provide much food for thought.

As such, we selected 18 quotes from our favourite minister that we believe every true-blue Singaporean should chew on.

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