Lawrence Wong sworn in as S’pore’s 4th Prime Minister, promises to serve with all his heart
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Lawrence Wong sworn in as S’pore’s 4th Prime Minister, promises to serve with all his heart

Lawrence Wong sworn in as Prime Minister of Singapore on 15 May

Singapore’s Finance Minister Lawrence Wong was sworn in as the fourth Prime Minister (PM) of Singapore on Wednesday (15 May).

During the ceremony, Mr Wong took an oath of office, with President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon witnessing the formalities.

Back in April 2024, the outgoing PM Lee Hsien Loong confirmed that he would be handing over the reigns to Mr Wong the following month — two years after he first named the latter as the leader of the People’s Action Party (PAP) fourth generation, or 4G, team.

Lawrence Wong sworn in as 4th Prime Minister of Singapore

On Wednesday (15 May), Mr Wong officially started his tenure as the fourth Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.

The swearing-in ceremony saw the attendance of his wife, Loo Tze Lui, as well as outgoing PM Lee Hsien Loong and Singapore’s ministers, among other notable guests.

Source: CNA on YouTube

Singapore’s President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon presided over the ceremony, where Mr Wong took the Oath for due execution of Office of Prime Minister.

The oath saw Mr Wong pledging to faithfully discharge his duties to the best of his abilities without fear or favour, bear true faith and allegiance to the Republic of Singapore, and that he would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

Additionally, Mr Wong’s Cabinet of ministers also took the Oath for due execution of Office of Minister at the ceremony. Most notably, Gan Kim Yong, who retains the portfolio of the Minister for Trade and Industry, has been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM).

First PM to be born after Singapore gained independence in 1965

Subsequently, Mr Wong addressed the people of Singapore in his first speech in the role.

He started his speech by saying that he is deeply honoured to be sworn in as the Prime Minister of Singapore.

Mr Wong promised that he and his team will do their utmost to serve Singapore and Singaporeans.

Noting that he is the first PM to be born after independence, just like most of his 4G colleagues, Mr Wong said: “My generation’s story is the story of independent Singapore.”

“Our lives are testimony to the values that forged our nation — incorruptability, meritocracy, multiracialism, justice, and equality. These principles are deeply ingrained in us.”

Though these 4G leaders understand the “vital importance of good leadership, political stability, and long-term planning”, Mr Wong noted that they will lead in their own way.

He also praised the now-Senior Minister Mr Lee, emphasising that Mr Lee’s devotion and selflessness is “exceptional”.

Lawrence Wong promises to serve Singapore with all his heart as Prime Minister

Looking forward, Mr Wong next highlighted the importance of “bracing ourselves” to face new realities of geopolitical tension, protectionism, and rampant nationalism.

“As a small country, we cannot escape these powerful cross-currents,” he added.

The new PM then spoke about his team’s guiding ethos of finding common ground “in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust” despite Singapore’s diversity.

“This is how we will continue to evolve and strengthen our Singapore identity,” he said.

Mr Wong evoked Singapore’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic as an example of Singapore’s unity steering the country through hard times: “We responded effectively to the pandemic because we trust one another.”

Source: CNA on YouTube

Towards the end of his address, Mr Wong iterated: “Many have said that Singapore won’t make it. Yet, time and time again, we have proved the doubters wrong — and we will do so again.”

As Singaporeans, we all know what it means to exceed expectations, to go beyond what others think we are capable of, or even what we ourselves thought we could do. When the going gets tough, we do not crumble. We press on with faith in our fellow citizens and in Singapore’s future.

He promises to bring this same spirit to his new role, vowing to serve Singapore “with all his heart”.

‘He will be his own person’: President of Singapore says of new PM

In his opening speech at the start of the ceremony, Mr Tharman thanked Mr Lee for dedicating his life to the service of Singapore.

Source: CNA on YouTube

He highlighted Mr Lee’s achievements throughout his tenure as PM, such as steering the country out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the repeal of Section 377A from the Penal Code.

Mr Tharman said the outgoing PM delivered on his promise to be a “Prime Minister for all Singaporeans and to leave no one behind”. He noted:

Today, Singapore has a transformed economy, with good jobs in every sector, and substantially higher incomes across the workforce. We have a more inclusive society, from assuring every child a good start in life to affording our seniors a greater peace of mind.

With the appointment of Mr Wong, Mr Lee’s service as PM is now complete, said the President, adding that this is yet another smooth and orderly transition of leadership in Singapore’s history.

Mr Tharman expressed his full confidence in Mr Wong and his ability to lead the nation.

He will be his own person, with his own approach to building consensus and finding the best way forward for the country. And he will no doubt do so to his own rhythm and beat.

Lee Hsien Loong announced leadership handover back in April

Previously, Mr Lee announced he would be handing over the reigns to Mr Wong in a statement on 15 April.

PM Lee to step down on 15 May, will hand over the reins to DPM Lawrence Wong before polls

At the time, Mr Wong said on Facebook that he will “accept this responsibility with humility and a deep sense of duty”.

Mr Wong’s swearing-in ceremony comes ahead of the next General Election in Singapore, which is expected to be called by November 2025.

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Featured image adapted from CNA on YouTube. 

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