May 27, 2022

What premier-in-waiting Wong means for Singapore


SINGAPORE – Until a few years ago, Singapore’s Finance Minister Lawrence Wong was a relatively little-known civil servant turned politician. But on April 14, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) endorsed him as leader of its fourth-generation (4G) team, putting him in line to become the city-state’s next prime minister.

The announcement of a confirmed successor to long-serving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose eventual exit after roughly two decades will mark a major turning point in the nation’s politics, has appeared to put minds at ease, with 49-year-old Wong now well-positioned to cast himself as a symbol of Singapore’s meritocracy.

Few previously considered Wong a potential national leader, but analysts say his competent performance as co-chairman of a multi-ministry task force leading Singapore’s Covid-19 response has proven pivotal to his rise, allowing him to cultivate an affable public image and ultimately win the confidence of his governing party peers.