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In Pictures: President Tony Tan's final days in office

After winning a four-cornered fight with 35.2 per cent of the votes six years ago, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam was sworn in on Sept 1, 2011, as the seventh President of Singapore. On Thursday, the head of state will step down after six years in office as the country prepares for the next presidential election, reserved for candidates from the Malay community. The Straits Times captures moments from Dr Tan's final days in office.

With his trademark slicked-back silver hair and spectacles, President Tony Tan Keng Yam is deep in concentration as he sits at his desk in his office at the Istana, reading and signing documents.

These are among the last that Dr Tan, 77, will sign before he relinquishes his position as head of state on Thursday after six years in office. At his swearing-in ceremony in 2011, he had pledged to represent Singaporeans from all walks of life and of all political views.


Mrs Tan with a print depicting Dr Tan that was made at a National University of Singapore Museum booth at the Istana open house to celebrate National Day this year. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG 

As his tenure draws to a close, the past month has seen many Singaporeans bidding farewell to him at various events, from the informal open house at the Istana to the National Day Parade on Aug 9.

As the head of state, the President is the symbolic figure representing Singapore at ceremonies and on the international stage. These include conferring top honours on visiting leaders and military chiefs. He also promotes friendship and economic links between Singapore and other countries by hosting visiting leaders and making state visits overseas, which open doors to opportunities around the world that Singaporeans can draw on.


The national anthem plays at a ceremony on Aug 1 in the Istana’s State Room where Dr Tan is to confer the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) – Distinguished Service Order (Military) – on General Surapong Suwana-adth, Thailand’s Chief of Defence Forces. The President’s duties include recognising foreign dignitaries for their contributions to strengthening bilateral ties with Singapore. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG 


Accompanied by his personal security officers, senior butler and aide-de-camp, Dr Tan enters the VIP lift, one of two such lifts in the Istana, after a ceremony to confer a military award on General Surapong Suwana-adth. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


Mrs Tan posing for a photo with past and present female personal security officers at an appreciation dinner at the Istana last Wednesday. The President and his wife hosted about 190 staff members and their families to thank them for their help over the last six years. Current and former staff of the President’s Office, Singapore Police Force Security Command, National Parks Board, President’s Challenge Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Directorate attended the dinner. Dr Tan said his wife played a key role during his years in office. “She has a way of empathising with people, and they warm up to her,” he said in an interview published in The Sunday Times yesterday. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG 

Since the elected presidency came about in 1991, Singapore's President has also exercised a custodial role as the second key responsible for protecting past reserves, as well as safeguarding the integrity of the public service by having power to veto the appointment of key public office holders. The President may also use the influence of his position to support charitable and social causes, including sports and the arts and culture, and is often invited to grace events organised by community groups, among others.


Dr Tan and Mrs Tan greeting the crowd at a recent open house at the Istana to celebrate National Day. Looking on are Major Valerie Chia and Superintendent Dennis Lim. Both are aides-de-camp to the President. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG


Dr Tan presiding at a staff meeting in the Istana’s Yusof Room. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG 


Dr Tan and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, at a charity event organised by Singapore Press Holdings. As President, he is often invited to grace events in support of charitable and social causes. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG 


Dr Tan arriving at this year’s National Day Parade, his last as President. Beside him is Lieutenant-General Perry Lim, the Chief of Defence Force. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG 

During his term, Dr Tan also expanded the President's Challenge, initiated by his predecessor S R Nathan in 2000, to bring people together to help the less fortunate. It goes beyond fund raising to include volunteerism and social entrepreneurship.

Last Wednesday, Dr Tan and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, hosted a dinner to show their appreciation for about 190 staff and former staff of the President's Office, President's Challenge Secretariat and several public agencies that have supported his presidency.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'Final days in office'. Print Edition | Subscribe