Friday, July 8, 2011
President S.R. Nathan Announced His Own Retirement
IT'S age - the main reason President S.R. Nathan is not seeking a third term. Two days before his 87th birthday, President Nathan announced that he would step down when his second term runs out on Aug 31.
"At this stage of my life, I do not believe that I can undertake indefinitely the heavy responsibilities and physical demands of the position of Head of State," he said in a statement on July 1.
His 12 years in office make him the longest-serving President in Singapore's history. Those years cap a 55-year career in public service, which saw him take on roles such as ambassador to the United States and permanent secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. He also served as director of Singapore's external intelligence arm, the Security and Intelligence Division of the Defence Ministry.
In his statement, the President acknowledged both the Singaporeans who had criticised him and those who had shown him "affection and kindness".
During his years in office, he had given his best in the performance of all his duties, whether constitutional, ceremonial or community-related, he said.
Observers have paid tribute to the President for his contributions in diplomacy and charity work, and for his personal touch and closeness to the people.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said: "He always had a special place in his heart for people who are vulnerable, for children, for the disabled."