SINGAPORE — Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Thursday (14 April) called it a "privilege" to be called upon to lead the People's Action Party (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) team, shortly after the decision was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
With the endorsement by the PAP 4G team, Wong is slated to become Singapore's next prime minister.
"I am humbled and grateful for the trust and confidence of my colleagues, who have chosen me to lead them. I am also deeply grateful for the support of my fellow MPs," said Wong in a Facebook post.
"It is my privilege to be called upon to lead this team. I will do my utmost to uphold this responsibility."
In Lee's statement, he said that cabinet ministers had affirmed their choice of Wong as the leader of the 4G team on Thursday, adding that the decision was endorsed by all government MPs in a party caucus on the same evening.
Wong said, "From the very beginning in 1959, our model of political leadership has never been about one person, but the team. Each of us contributes, complements each other, and gives our best to Singapore."
Speaking about the multi-ministry taskforce's (MTF) efforts to combat COVID-19 in Singapore, the MTF co-chair noted that "colleagues in the 4G leadership have stood shoulder to shoulder with each other" to deal with the pandemic.
"The experience of the past two years has cemented our cohesiveness and strengthened our resolve to steward Singapore safely through this crisis and beyond," he added.
"But as we have been reminded many times, the right to lead cannot be inherited. Together with the rest of the 4G team, I will continue to serve Singaporeans wholeheartedly, and strive to earn the trust and support of each and every one of our fellow citizens."
'Best person' to lead 4G team
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who stepped aside as the leader of the 4G in April last year, wrote that the 4G leaders have agreed that Wong is the "best person" to lead them.
"I am very glad that he has accepted this responsibility," said Heng, adding that Wong had agreed readily to co-chair the MTF taskforce after the former spoke to him about taking on the responsibility.
"He was an indispensable pillar in the MOF's work throughout our pandemic Budgets, as well as a calm and thorough leader in our pandemic responses," he added.
"I, therefore, had full confidence in Lawrence when he took my place as Minister for Finance last year. I was impressed when he delivered his maiden Budget this year – it was not an easy Budget to deliver, but he did so with verve, steadiness, and a sense of fairness."
Heng also noted that Singaporeans and Singapore need a next leader who has their "well-being at heart, the integrity and commitment to serve, and the ability to forge new paths and bring people together".
"I believe that Lawrence has these qualities. I have found him to be a leader who considers things carefully, is able to bring people together, and has conviction to do what’s right for Singapore," he stressed, noting that Wong has a big task ahead of him.
"He has my whole-hearted support and confidence, as well as the support of his peers. Please give him your wholehearted support. Remember too that each of us has a role to play in the future of Singapore. Together, we can take Singapore forward!"
"I deeply appreciate the camaraderie that we have shared over the years and look forward to continue working closely with him and the team to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead of us," said Chan, who entered politics together with Wong in 2011.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, also previously seen as a candidate to succeed Lee, spoke about his experience working with Wong as MTF co-chairs.
"I have worked with him up close and witnessed his dedication and commitment to Singapore and Singaporeans. He puts his heart and soul into what he is doing and is never a seeker of credit or fanfare," said Ong.
"I will do my utmost to support him, and look forward to be part of his team. My heartiest congratulations, Lawrence Wong!"
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