There are many Singaporeans who would like to see DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam take over as the new Prime Minister (PM) at the next General Elections, although some are of the view that Singapore is not yet ready to have an Indian Prime Minister. But times have changed and there is a need to move with the times.
Why can’t we have an Indian PM when there is a move to elect an Executive President of a minority race? Let’s not practice double standards, shall we?
DPM Tharman has all the qualities that make him the number 1 choice for the top job in the cabinet. Yet, it is troubling that this humble politician does not want the job.
The traits and values that make up the character of a politician are in a way similar to a good business leader who is able to lead by example– and with a supporting team of ministers can help to grow the economy. If a Prime Minister is not able to have foresight and vision, and bring in revenue into the country or is corrupted, it is the people who will go through severe hardship. History has shown that many countries have collapsed because of greed and corruption on the part of corrupted leaders.
Why do I say he is the best choice? To begin with, DPM Tharman is a man of character, honest and has much integrity; in short a man of character. A leader, whether as a CEO of a company or a country must be able to relate to people at all levels. DPM has those qualities and shows much compassion to the less fortunate in society and they include those with physical and mental disabilities. Moreover, this is a man who often puts in long and draining hours, just so residents can be well taken care of.
A senior executive of the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) told me that when she brings patients with mental illness for support that includes financial assistance, DPM Tharman will be there past the hour of 11pm to help. The executive from SAMH, Ms. Helen Yong tells me that she is always happy to see DPM Tharman at the Meet-The People’s session because she knows that her clients will benefit from seeing their favorite and caring MP.
I have also read reports of this exceptional politician who calls on employers to provide jobs for those with disabilities.
I still remember the time when DPM Tharman replied to my email in the wee hours of the morning when all of us are fast asleep. His 3am email to me was encouraging as he tried so hard to offer support to my wife knowing fully well that struggling with a severe mental disorder is not an easy journey – both for the patient and her caregiver.
A good leader must also be cool and level-headed, and one who is able to think through carefully before making decisions, at times taking a tough stand and saying no when the need arises. Isn’t it so true that Mr. Shanmugaratnam possesses those qualities?
Another plus for DPM Tharman: He does not resort to gutter politics and humiliates the opposition candidates at the elections, but will engage them in a gentlemanly debate.
I urge DPM Tharman not to sidestep the role of our future PM but have the courage and conviction to take on this tough job – at least for the period 2020 – 2024/25, during which time a new PM can be groomed amongst the 4th generation of office bearers.
So go, Tharman, go!
Raymond Anthony Fernando