Lawrence Wong, All Set to Take Oath as Singapore’s New Prime Minister

Lawrence Wong will Take Oath as Singapore’s New Prime Minister | The Enterprise World


For the first time in 2 decades, Singapore is all set to welcome a new prime minister, Minister of Finance and the Deputy Prime Minister, Lawrence Wong. Lawrence Wong is said to take up the baton in a ceremony to be held on May 15, 2024

The 51-year-old Lawrence will be replacing Lee Hsein Loong – who was the eldest son of the country’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Hsein Loong has been in power since August 2004. 

In an interesting fact, Wong is the only fourth leader in the 59-year independence history of Singapore. Similar to his predecessors, Lawrence Wong is a notable member of the People’s Action Party (PAP), which was co-founded by the elder Lee and is also said to be the only ruling party Singaporeans have ever known. 

The city-state of 6 million people is now ready for a general election, which experts have said could be held as early as this year. Albeit, the term of the current government does not expire until 2025. 

During the last election in 2020, the People’s Action Party (PAP) was known to secure more than 61% of the vote, and recorded to lose only 10 seats in the parliament of 98 members. Even then, this was considered as a substandard performance, given the fact that the opposition had won only six seats in the previous parliament. 

The stakes for Lawrence Wong are higher now, as the new leader is traditionally expected to receive a strong command from the voters. During his term, Wong’s main job will be to maintain the dominance of PAP, even in the times when people want more say in how things run and haven’t liked the tough tactics of the past governments. 

Among the many issues Wong will be tackling, the more pressing issues will be to deal with the rising cost of living, an ageing population, a slowed down economy and immigration. The PAP has also faced difficulties by a rare corruption scandal. 

Additionally, Lawrence Wong is also expected to navigate the continuing China-USA rivalry, as Singapore has proven to be a key ally of both the superpowers. 

More About Lawrence Wong

The soft-hearted and compassionate Lawrence Wong was selected by his peers to be one of the “4G”, the fourth generation of leaders in the political jargon of Singapore. He was selected to succeed 72-year-old Lee in April 2022. 

Wong could be noted as something of a compromise candidate, as he was not the first choice. 

Initially, the former Central Bank Chief and Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat, 63, who was appointed to succeed Lee in 2018. Singapore is a country greatly known for its political stability, and in this, Heng did create a small political crisis when he stepped aside two and a half years later of his appointment. Referencing to his age, Heng later admitted that he had not felt up for the task from the start. 

Unlike his other peers of the PAP, Lawrence Wong comes from a simple background, he hasn’t attended any of the top schools, or been in the island’s establishment. Lawrence Wong went to a university in the US on a government scholarship. He later started out as an economist in the ministry of trade and industry before he entered politics in 2011. 

After his roles as a minister in the less glamorous portfolios like that of national development, he still was not considered as a potential prime minister candidate, but the pandemic of COVID-19 changed all of that. 

Being a co-leader of the country’s COVID-19 task force, Wong then emerged as a prominent public face of the Singapore government’s pandemic response, where he aptly fielded questions from the foreign media outlets during televised news conferences. 

Mr Wong is seen as a technocrat, [who is] friendly and approachable. He delivered well for the COVID-19 crisis, so he can be viewed as competent,” said former PAP lawmaker Inderjit Singh, who served alongside Lee in his central Ang Mo Kio ward for two decades.

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