Former president S R Nathan honoured for service to Singapore

Former president S R Nathan receiving the Order of Temasek (First Class) from President Tony Tan Keng Yam last night.
Former president S R Nathan receiving the Order of Temasek (First Class) from President Tony Tan Keng Yam last night.ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

Former president S R Nathan was conferred the Order of Temasek (First Class) for exemplary service to the nation at last night's National Day Awards Investiture.

Mr Nathan, now 89, is only the seventh person in history to receive the honour, which was awarded in recognition of his service to the nation spanning the history of post-independence Singapore.

He received his sash and medal from President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who presided over the ceremony, which was attended by 421 award recipients and about 1,000 guests, at the National University of Singapore.

A total of 3,197 National Day Awards were given out this year to military staff, public servants, community and grassroots leaders, and educators.

The three recipients of the Meritorious Service Medal were Professor Wang Gungwu, chairman of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies board of trustees and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy governing board; Mr Tony Chew, former chairman of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore governing board; and National Parks Board chairman Christina Ong.

Also among this year's recipients was a pair of brothers: Mr Burhanudeen Gafoor, chief negotiator for climate change under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and his elder sibling, Colonel Mohamed Ismail, brigade commander at the Headquarters Singapore Infantry.

Last night made it five National Day Awards between the duo, with Mr Burhanudeen adding a Public Administration gold, and Col Ismail a Public Administration (Military) bronze. Said the latter: "National defence is the duty of every Singaporean, and those who are more capable and able to should contribute to the nation's defence."

hpeishan@sph.com.sg

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