SINGAPORE: An important announcement was made regarding the country’s leadership succession on Monday afternoon (April 15).

“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will relinquish his office on 15 May 2024,” the Prime Minister’s Office announced, adding “He will formally advise the President to appoint Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong to succeed him.”

The announcement from the PMO also said that the Members of Parliament unanimously support Mr Wong from the ruling People’s Action Party and that he will be sworn in at the Istana on May 15, 2024, at 8:00 pm.

Mr Wong posted a brief video on his social media channels addressed to fellow Singaporeans and touching on his personal backstory as a public servant.

He said that when he joined the political arena in 2011 “because he wanted to be part of the Singapore story,” he did not expect to be asked to serve as the next Prime Minister.

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The Prime Minister-to-be said, however, that he accepts this responsibility “with humility and a deep sense of duty. I pledge to give my all in this undertaking. Every ounce of my energy shall be devoted to that service of our country and our people.”

“Your dreams will inspire my actions. Your concerns will guide my decisions,” Mr Wong added, inviting Singaporeans to join him and to share their ideas, passions, and dreams.

“Work with me and my team together we can build a future that shines brightly for all Singaporeans… we will build a democratic society based on justice and equality.

Let us move forward as one team Singapore and write the next chapter of our Singapore story together.”

PM Lee underlined the significance of the leadership transition in a post on his Facebook page, noting how Mr Wong and his fellow 4G leaders “worked hard to gain the people’s trust, notably during the pandemic.”

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Mr Wong led the multi-ministry team that spearheaded the government’s endeavours during the pandemic.

“The 4G team are committed to keeping Singapore working well and moving ahead.

These will always be top priorities for the government.  I ask all Singaporeans to give Lawrence and his team your full support, and work with them to create a brighter future for Singapore,” added the Prime Minister.

PM Lee had said in 2012 that he hoped to hand over the leadership of Singapore by the time he turned 70 years old in 2022, though this was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had once been believed would succeed PM Lee, Mr Heng bowed out of contention in April 2021, stepping aside as leader of the People’s Action Party’s fourth-generation (4G) team.

PM Lee later announced that he would be handing over leadership to Mr Wong before the next General Election, which must be held by Nov 23, 2025. /TISG

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