Singapore’s incoming PM, Lawrence Wong, says current leader Lee Hsien Loong to serve as senior minister

Singapore’s incoming PM, Lawrence Wong, says current leader Lee Hsien Loong to serve as senior minister

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will stay on in the government as senior minister after he steps down next month, his successor said Tuesday.

Lee, 72, announced on Monday that he will end his 20-year rule and hand over to his deputy Lawrence Wong on May 15.

Lee is the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, who built the resource-poor city state into one of the world’s richest nations during 31 years in office.

Singapore’s PM-in-waiting: Who is Lawrence Wong?

Wong will be Singapore’s fourth leader since independence in 1965. The transition has been carefully crafted in the wealthy city state known for its tight government control, media censorship and use of oppressive laws against dissidents.

Wong, who is also finance minister, credited Lee for Singapore’s strong economic growth and said he was glad that he agreed to stay on as senior minister. Former Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong had also served as senior ministers after stepping down.

Wong said the Cabinet will remain largely unchanged, at least until the next general elections, due late next year.

“For this moment, though, there should not be any major changes because our system works on the basis of continuity and progressive change,” he told a news conference.

“The bigger changes to the cabinet line-up will likely happen only after the next general election.”

Wong said he will focus on tackling immediate concerns around jobs, rising cost of living and taking care of vulnerable groups. Another priority is to recruit new candidates for elections as part of progressive change, he said.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shakes hands with Finance Minister Lawrence Wong during a news conference in Singapore on April 16, 2022. Photo: SPH Media/The Straits Times/Reuters

“We have many challenges to tackle, but also many opportunities to chart a new way forward for ourselves and our nation. So work with me and my team. Let us write a new chapter for the Singapore story,” Wong said.

Wong came to prominence while helping to coordinate Singapore’s fight against Covid-19. The People’s Action Party, one of the world’s longest-serving, retained its supermajority with 83 out of 93 parliamentary seats in 2020 general elections. But that was its worst performance after losing some seats as support slipped.



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