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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Lawrence Wong sworn in as Singapore's new Prime Minister in two decades

Wong, who was the deputy prime minister, will be leading the fourth generation PAP politicians’ government as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister

PTI Singapore Published 15.05.24, 09:09 PM
Lawrence Wong

Lawrence Wong File picture

Singapore's fourth generation of leaders will "lead in our own way" with a leadership style that is different from previous generations, Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said on Wednesday as he took oath of office in a planned political transition in the city-state.

The 51-year-old economist-turned-politician succeeded Lee Hsien Loong, 72, who relinquished his position after two decades; both belonging to the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) that has been driving Singapore's economic progress for more than five decades.

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Wong, who was the deputy prime minister, will be leading the fourth generation PAP politicians’ government as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister.

Led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Wong swore to bear faith and allegiance to Singapore and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, news portal The Straight Times said.

"Deeply ingrained with principles and values that forged the nation, Singapore's fourth generation of leaders will lead in our own way with a leadership style that is different from previous generations," Wong was quoted as saying by Channel News Asia.

"We will lead in our own way. We will continue to think boldly and to think far. We know that there is still much more to do … and the best chapters of our Singapore Story lie ahead,” he said.

The live-streamed event showed that when Wong completed his oath taking, he was handed a scroll, which has the instrument of appointment, by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

"Then, in order of seniority, Lee Hsien Loong was sworn in as senior minister, Gan Kim Yong and Heng Swee Keat as deputy prime ministers, and Teo Chee Hean as senior minister,” the portal said, adding, this was followed by 14 ministers, nine senior ministers of state and five ministers of state.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Wong took to his social media handle X to post: “I’m honoured to be sworn in as the 4th PM of Singapore. Join me & my team in our journey forward. Everyone will have a stake in our nation's progress & play a key role in shaping our future. Let us unite with common purpose & shared resolve. Let us take SG Forward – Together." In April 2022, Wong was named as the leader of the PAP’s fourth-generation, or 4G, team, and in June of that year promoted as the Deputy Prime Minister.

Wong is married to Loo Tze Lui. Prior to entering politics, Wong was a civil servant for 14 years before joining the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 1997.

Before Wong swore-in, President Tharman said he has full confidence in Wong's ability to lead as Singapore ventures into uncharted waters internationally, noting Wong’s key role in shaping the country’s economic and social policies, Channel News Asia said.

"He will be his own person, with his own approach to building consensus and finding the best way forward for the country. And he will no doubt do so to his own rhythm and beat,” Tharman said at the ceremony.

At a press conference earlier this week, Wong said: “Continuity and stability are key considerations (for the cabinet), especially as we are approaching the end of this term of government.” “With all other ministers holding on to their portfolios across the leadership transition from Lee Hsien Loong’s government to Wong’s, it also testifies to the consistency in Wong’s decision-making,” a Channel News Asia report said.

The Wong-led government is expected to continue pro-business policies, given Singapore's status as an Asian financial hub generating investments for Asia, including India, and a trading centre with a global network.

All eyes are now set on the next General Election, which must be held by November 2025, only after which significant changes to the Cabinet are expected.

Among Indian PAP parliamentarians, Murali Pillai, 56, has been promoted as minister of state in the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Transport.

The other Indian origin ministers in the cabinet – Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, 63, remains the Foreign Minister; K Shanmugam, 65, as Minister of Law and Home Affairs, and Indranee Rajah, 61, as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Welcoming Wong as the new Prime Minister, the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) said it is confident that Singapore-India ties will continue to flourish.

"This is all the more so since Wong co-chaired the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable, which has set the stage and the tone for long- term ties between our two countries," SICCI chairman Neil Parekh said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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