SINGAPORE: The country’s fourth Prime Minister was sworn in on Wednesday (May 15) at the Istana. Almost 900 guests attended the occasion, including Cabinet members, MPs, politicians, students, and representatives from other groups.

Outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was greeted with a round of applause as he arrived at the venue accompanied by his wife, Mdm Ho Ching.

Mr Wong entered the Istana grounds with his wife shortly before 8 pm. He shook hands with Mr Lee before they took their seats.

After Mr Wong, Mrs Jane Ittogi Shanmugaratnam and then President Tharman Shanmugaratnam came in with guests rising to their feet as Mr Tharman mounted the podium and the national anthem was played.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who witnessed Mr Wong’s oath-taking, and former presidents Halimah Yakob and Tony Tan were also in attendance.

In his speech, the President thanked PM Lee for his long years of service, noting Singapore’s economic progress and growth as a multi-ethnic society.

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He also noted that, once again, a smooth and orderly succession has taken place, going on to talk about how Mr Wong and the fourth generation of leaders are determined to refresh Singapore’s social compact.

The President described Mr Wong as “first and foremost, someone who listens,” adding that he had played a key role in shaping fiscal and economic policies and held his own on the global stage.

He also expressed his full confidence in Mr Wong’s ability to steer the country in “unchartered waters.”

“He will be his own person in finding his best way forward for the country,” added President Tharman.

He reiterated his commitment to working with Mr Wong and his Cabinet, just as he had with Mr Lee since taking office eight months ago.

“Singaporeans can be assured that our country is in good hands… our best years are ahead of us,” he said.

Mr Wong carried out his first act as Premier two days earlier, announcing his largely unchanged Cabinet on the evening of May 13.

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The biggest surprise was the promotion of Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who had served alongside Mr Wong in the government’s management of the pandemic, to Deputy Prime Minister.

“In assembling this team, I have consulted my colleagues and have sought to balance the need for continuity and renewal.

Continuity and stability are key considerations, especially as we are approaching the end of this term of government,” he said on Monday night.

The Cabinet was also sworn in on Wednesday night./TISG

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