President Tony Tan leaves office today

President Tony Tan working in his office.
President Tony Tan working in his office. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Singapore's seventh president bids farewell to the Istana today.

Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, sworn in on Sept 1, 2011, leaves office after completing a six-year term.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will host a reception and ceremony tonight at the Istana, where Cabinet ministers and MPs will say goodbye to the President and his wife Mary, as is the custom for outgoing presidents.

Staff of the President will say their goodbyes in the afternoon.

From tomorrow, Mr J. Y. Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, will be acting president until a new president is sworn in. Nomination Day for the presidential election is Sept 13, followed by Polling Day on Sept 23.

Reflecting on his term, President Tan said in a farewell interview last month: "I've done my best with regard to the functions and the work which I have to do. It's been an honour and a privilege to serve as your president for the last six years."

 
 
 
 

His presidency began in an unsettled time in Singapore politics. The general election in May 2011 saw a swing against the ruling party. Just over three months later, the presidential election was held. Dr Tan won by a whisker, with 35.2 per cent of the votes.

His term also coincided with important moments, including the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the nation's 50th birthday, the Little India riots, Singapore's first Olympic gold medal, and significant changes to the elected presidency.

Dr Tan also built on the President's Challenge, which began as an annual fund-raiser for the social service sector and those in need under the late president S R Nathan. President Tan also urged Singaporeans to volunteer and support social enterprises.

More than 37,000 have volunteered for causes since 2012.

Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh paid tribute to President Tan this week, saying: "History will remember that two historic events took place during his presidency: the celebration of Singapore's 50th anniversary and the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

"He led the nation in celebrating the first event and he also led the nation in mourning the second event."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2017, with the headline 'President Tony Tan leaves office today'. Print Edition | Subscribe