Singapore's new PM promises change, says he'll 'never settle for the status quo'


Singapore's new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has pledged to chart a distinct course for the nation’s future while upholding the legacy of his predecessors.

Key points:

  • Wong, 51, was sworn into office on May 15, becoming Singapore's fourth prime minister.

  • Singaporean President Tharman Shanmugaratnam appointed Wong to succeed Lee Hsien Loong, marking the end of the Lee dynasty's half-century reign. The People's Action Party facilitated the succession.

  • Wong is Singapore’s first prime minister born after the nation's independence in 1965.

The details:

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  • Wong entered politics in 2011 and was elected as a Member of Parliament representing the Boon Lay ward of West Coast GRC.

  • In 2020, he co-chaired a committee that enabled him to become a prominent figure during Singapore's successful battle against COVID-19.

  • In his inauguration, Wong acknowledged Singapore's current vulnerabilities and highlighted the importance of unity and forward-thinking strategies to safeguard its interests.

"This is my promise to all Singaporeans. I will serve you with all my heart. I will never settle for the status quo. I will always seek better ways to make tomorrow better than today.”

  • While recognizing the contributions of past leaders — saying “we stand on the shoulders of giants” — Wong promised a departure from his predecessors' leadership style.

“This is a passing of the baton not just between leadership teams but also across generations. We will lead in our own way. We will continue to think boldly and think far.”

  • To ensure continuity while preparing for the upcoming general elections next year, Wong retained key ministers in his cabinet, including Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong.

What's next:

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  • Observers note Singapore's growing dissatisfaction with the previous government's handling of issues such as income inequality, housing affordability and restrictions on free speech. Wong said his immediate priorities include addressing the root causes of rising living costs, ensuring housing affordability and enhancing job security to improve the overall well-being of Singaporeans.


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