Other than his custodial powers under the Constitution, the President acts on the advice of the Cabinet. But there is room for the President to take a special interest in specific issues, or champion causes close to his or her heart, said Mr Tharman.
“As President, I will promote greater interactions between our different communities, even as we ensure the vibrance of our different cultures,” he said.
This could be by encouraging our youth to play sports that are played mainly by a particular ethnic group, learning one another’s art forms, or promoting collaborations between self-help groups, community organisations and business chambers, said the President.
Beyond that, Mr Tharman said that he remains committed to his life’s purpose – making Singapore a more inclusive and socially just society.
CIVIL SOCIETY, ARTS & SPORTS
Government policies have shifted significantly to help Singapore get there. But to build a truly inclusive society, Singapore needs a strong culture of kinship and respect, where people empathise with fellow citizens, and feel that “we only truly succeed when we succeed together”, he said.
He wants to encourage a thriving civil society to help Singapore grow this culture.
“We can do more to nourish the soil for ground-up and purpose-driven initiatives to sprout and grow. From giving confidence to disadvantaged youth; to supporting those who need a second or third chance; to helping those among us who face mental health challenges; and to neighbourhood initiatives to support our caregivers and befriend seniors at risk of being lonely,” said Mr Tharman.
The President also wants to actively support the arts and sports, while noting that Singapore has made “significant strides” in both areas over the years.
“In both fields, the best years are ahead of us. By nurturing talent in the arts and sports and supporting them through their journeys, they will inspire us,” he said.