The 4G Leadership has decided who will lead them. The choice fell on Finance Minister Lawrence Wong
Lawrence who is also co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in a statement that Cabinet ministers affirmed their choice today (14 April 2022). This decision was endorsed by all Government MPs in a party caucus in the evening.
The decision on succession is a crucial one for Singapore because it will ensure the continuity and stability of leadership that are the hallmarks of our system, PM Lee said. “The Ministers recognise that the right to lead cannot be inherited. Mr Lawrence Wong and his younger team will continue to give their best to Singaporeans, and justify their trust and support,” he added.
Mr Lawrence Wong, 49, was PM Lee’s former Principal Private Secretary. He then served as Chief Executive of the Energy Market Authority before entering politics in 2011.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mr Wong took on the role as co-chair of the multi-ministerial task force on Covid-19, alongside then Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, in leading the Government’s pandemic response.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
As Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Chairman of the Singapore National Commission for UNESCO, he leads the Singapore delegation to the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Germany, Bonn, where our Singapore Botanic Gardens has conferred the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Piloted new model of assisted living for seniors
As Minister for National Development, he piloted a new model of assisted living for seniors that combines housing with care services to enable seniors to live independently and with dignity.
“Nation-building is a never-ending journey. It has to be sustained with effort, with discipline and with a constant adaptation to change. Each generation of Singaporeans can and must contribute to making Singapore a better, more livable and sustainable city.”
On HDB’s 99-year lease
“It will be easy for me to give you a politically expedient answer now and try to wave away the problem. But there are serious trade-offs and ramifications to consider. Ultimately, the government must grapple with these difficult questions, study the matter and do the responsible thing,” he said in Parliament in 2018.
“Our duty is not just to the current generation who already own homes, but also to the future generations – those not yet voting, and those not yet born, whose lives and future depend on us making the right decisions on their behalf.”
Responding to Workers’ Party’s call to relax the rules for spending, he said:
What does it say about us, and our mindsets and our attitudes, if the minute we need the money, the first thing we do is to relax the rules? Surely that will be ill-disciplined, imprudent and unwise.
Free museum entry
Do you know that Lawrence spearheaded the free museum entry policy to all national museums and heritage institutions for all Singaporeans and permanent residents, from 18 May 2013? Before that, we had to pay to enter museums.
He plays the guitar and he sings. You can watch him play and sing at the garden party at the Istana in 2015.
He’s a pet lover and an animal activist
In a Facebook post in 2015, Wong urged Singaporeans to be more loving towards animals, saying “the way we treat our animals says much about who we are”.
“It reflects on our humanity and the kind of society we want to be. So let’s all work together to build a kinder and more compassionate society for all!”
He had shared many Instagram posts of his pet dog, Summer.
He mourned the death of Summer in July 2020 while he was thick in the midst of handling the COVID outbreak in the dormitories.
He gets overwhelmed with gratitude!
As co-chair of the multi-ministerial task force handling the pandemic, he was overwhelmed by emotions when he spoke with gratitude, the dedication of those on the frontline.
He serves on the boards of several organizations, including GIC and the Future Economy Council, the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council and the National Research Foundation Board. He also co-chairs the Singapore-Shanghai Comprehensive Cooperation Council. He also chairs the PAP Community Foundation.
In a Facebook post to congratulate Mr Wong, Mr Heng describes Mr Wong as ‘an indispensable pillar in MOF’s work throughout our pandemic Budgets, as well as a calm and thorough leader in our pandemic responses’. The Deputy Prime Minister who decided to step aside as Leader of the 4G said of Mr Wong: “What we need is a next leader who has the well-being of Singaporeans and Singapore at heart, who has 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.”
The man who will take over the baton said, “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.”
From the very beginning in 1959, Singapore’s model of political leadership has never been about one person, but the team, Mr Wong said. “Each of us contributes, complements each other, and gives of our best to Singapore.”
Recounting the fight against COVID-19, Mr Wong said he and his colleagues in the 4G leadership have stood ‘shoulder to shoulder with each other’. “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 said. “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,” he added.
One thing we can conclude about Lawrence Wong. He is a good man and a dedicated servant.