Singapore— National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force specially formed to combat the coronavirus outbreak, has quietly been winning over many Singaporeans for how he has handled the crisis, with even normally critical netizens calling him “nuanced,” “measured,” and “better than the rest of the team.” People have even noted how the tech-savvy minister uses his smartphone as a tool during press conferences.
Some have even called for him to be the next Deputy Prime Minister, and there are those who have compared other ministers to Mr Wong quite unfavourably.
Mr Wong, a member of the fourth generation (4G) leadership team of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), gave a press conference on Tuesday (Mar 17), to announce that while the country is not ruling out a lockdown to address the current outbreak, Singapore is not choosing to go that way at the moment.
“We have always said that we need to consider a whole range of measures and not rule anything out. So something as stringent, we are not planning for it – so Singaporeans should not think of us as planning for it. It’s certainly a very extreme measure, and we don’t think we need to get there if we do all the things we have been doing, we have been advocating, and we do them well.”
He did, however, reiterate a March 16 advisory from the Ministry of Health for Singaporeans to defer all non-essential travel overseas, since many new cases in the country are imported ones, in the sense that they’ve come from other countries.
Mr Wong has received kudos from many netizens, especially after the press conference on Tuesday night.
People even commented reminding him to take good care of himself at this time.
There were others who still asked for a lock down, and said that if this should be called for, they would support the call.
Even academic and economist Donald Low, who is known to view the Government with a critical eye, wrote on Tuesday night, “Please make this man DPM-designate already. The nuance and calibration of his message is outstanding. Respect…”
Other netizens have echoed Mr Low’s thoughts.
The fact that Mr Wong is perceived to be doing so well has caused others to question where Gan Kim Yong is. Mr Gan is Singapore’s Health Minister and the co-chair of the task force.
One netizen even said that they prefer Mr Wong over Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who is the Second Assistant Secretary-General of the PAP, and who has not gone without controversy during this time.