Monday, April 15, 2024

Singapore's 4th PM handover.


Lawrence Wong to take over as Singapore Prime Minister from Lee Hsien Loong on May 15

Mr Lee has been Prime Minister since 2004.

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong (left) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
(Photos: People's Action Party)

15 Apr 2024

SINGAPORE: A date for Singapore's leadership handover has been set - Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong will officially become Prime Minister on May 15, taking the reins from Mr Lee Hsien Loong.

The Prime Minister's Office announced this on Monday (Apr 15), saying Mr Wong will be sworn in at the Istana at 8pm on May 15.

Mr Wong, who is also the Finance Minister, will be Singapore's fourth Prime Minister.

In a Facebook post, Mr Lee noted that a leadership transition is a significant moment in any country.

"Lawrence and the 4G team have worked hard to gain the people’s trust, notably during the pandemic," he wrote.

"Through the Forward Singapore exercise, they have worked with many Singaporeans to refresh our social compact and develop the national agenda for a new generation."

Mr Lee asked Singaporeans to give Mr Wong and his team their full support.

"The 4G team are committed to keeping Singapore working well and moving ahead. These will always be top priorities for the government," he added.

Mr Wong, 51, was named two years ago as the leader of the ruling People’s Action Party's (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) team, effectively putting him in line to become the next Prime Minister.

This was after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who had previously been named as 4G leader, stepped aside in April 2021, citing his age and the lack of a proper "runway" for the top job. Mr Heng is 63 this year.

The timing of the handover was first suggested late last year when Mr Lee said that if all goes well, he would hand the baton to Mr Wong by the PAP's 70th birthday in November this year and before the next General Election, which must be called by November 2025.

Mr Lee, 72, had previously indicated his intention to step down before his 70th birthday in February 2022, but that plan was scuppered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Lee took office in 2004 at the age of 52. His predecessor Goh Chok Tong became Prime Minister at the age of 49 in 1990. The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was 35 when he was sworn in as Prime Minister in 1959.


In its statement announcing the handover, the Prime Minister's Office said Mr Wong has the unanimous support of the PAP MPs.

Mr Wong was one of three co-chairs of Singapore's multi-ministry COVID-19 task force, leading the country's pandemic response and fronting key announcements at press conferences.

He also launched the Forward Singapore exercise in 2022, which laid out a roadmap for a new Singapore vision.

In a video posted on Facebook on Monday, Mr Wong said he accepts the leadership responsibility with "humility and a deep sense of duty".

Pledging to give his all, he said: "Every ounce of my energy shall be devoted to the service of our country and our people.

"Your dreams will inspire my actions. Your concerns will guide my decisions."

He urged Singaporeans to share their ideas, passions and dreams and called on his fellow citizens to work with him and his team.

"Together," Mr Wong said, "We can build a future that shines brightly for all Singaporeans."

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