Mr Lee has served as Prime Minister since 2004. On Wednesday, he was sworn in as Senior Minister.

The President said he has full confidence in Mr Wong’s 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.”

Mr Wong is taking over as Singapore’s leader in a time of big power contestation and a weakening international order, Mr Tharman said. 

But he said the Prime Minister and his team – comprising experienced hands and fourth-generation, or 4G, leaders – are well-placed to secure the country’s national interests and advance unity in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

He highlighted Mr Wong’s role in shaping Singapore’s economic, fiscal and social policies and his work to advance the interests of workers.

“As co-chair of the COVID-19 task force, he was calm and decisive under pressure. And on the global stage, he holds his own with international leaders.”

Mr Tharman also noted that Mr Wong and the 4G team want to refresh Singapore’s social compact and have laid out their Forward SG roadmap.

More than 200,000 Singaporeans participated in dialogues and engagement sessions to discuss issues ranging from ageing to careers as part of the Forward SG exercise.

The exercise, which began in June 2022 and continued for 16 months, was led by Mr Wong and other 4G leaders.

“They will have to find creative ways to deepen our connections as fellow Singaporeans, as our society continues to evolve and people have more diverse views and interests.”

He described Mr Wong as “first and foremost someone who listens”.

“Those who have worked with Mr Wong, in government and in the community, know that he brings his own package of convictions, life experiences and skills.”

Mr Tharman said he is committed to working with the Prime Minister and his government, and that he has had candid private discussions with Mr Lee in the past eight months.

“We have had a shared understanding of our respective roles and responsibilities in Singapore’s system of governance. I look forward to maintaining this close and productive relationship with Mr Wong.”


The President also thanked Mr Lee for his service to Singapore and his “exceptional leadership” as Prime Minister for two decades.

“In 2004, when Mr Lee was sworn in, he promised to ‘be a Prime Minister for all Singaporeans’, and to leave no one behind. He delivered on this promise,” said Mr Tharman.

“Singapore has a transformed economy, with good jobs in every sector and substantially higher real incomes across the workforce.”

He added that Singapore has become more inclusive and does more to uplift groups with disadvantages.

“Mr Lee also kept the population’s spirits intact through the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the major crises that divided many other societies.

“And he steered us through contentious issues like the repeal of S377A, strengthening understanding and acceptance of each other and preserving cohesion.”


Leave A Reply

© 2024 The News Singapore. All Rights Reserved.