Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong to hand over charge to DPM Lawrence Wong on May 15; urges “full support” for “4G team”

One month from now, Singapore will see the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has set the date of May 15 to hand over charge of the country’s highest office to his successor, current Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

Lawrence Wong and Lee Hsien Loong
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Photo courtesy: PAP website

The outgoing premier urged all Singaporeans to give their “full support” to “Lawrence and the 4G team”. The term “4G team” refers to the latest generation of national leadership in Singapore — Lee was the third prime minister of the island nation, and Wong will be the fourth, hence “4G”.

In a post on the social network X on April 15 afternoon, PM Lee announced: “I will relinquish my role as PM on 15 May 2024 & @LawrenceWongST will be sworn in as the next PM on the same day. I ask all Singaporeans to give Lawrence & his team your full support, & work with them to create a brighter future for Singapore. – LHL”

The post directed X users to the official Singapore Prime Minister’s Office website, which confirmed: “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will relinquish his office on 15 May 2024.

“He will formally advise the President to appoint Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong to succeed him. DPM Wong has the unanimous support of the PAP (People’s Action Party) MPs.

“The new Prime Minister will be sworn in at 8.00 pm on 15 May 2024 at the Istana.”

DPM Wong, who is very active on social media, put out an Instagram post following the announcement on X by PM Lee. In this post, DPM Wong wrote: “I am honoured to be asked to undertake this new responsibility as the Prime Minister of Singapore.

“I accept this responsibility with humility and a deep sense of duty. I pledge to give you my all in this undertaking.

“Together, we can build a future that shines brightly for all Singaporeans.”

The transition had been expected, as PM Lee had made the planned succession of DPM Wong public in November 2023. However, setting a definite date for it now enables Singapore and the international community to prepare the next phase of multilateral and bilateral relations.

Singapore PM Lee with Indian PM Narendra Modi
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2023: Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi

PM Lee had visited India during the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September 2023. Two months later, he announced the succession of DPM Wong.

Lee wrote on Facebook this afternoon: “For any country, a leadership transition is a significant moment. Lawrence and the 4G team have worked hard to gain the people’s trust, notably during the pandemic. Through the Forward Singapore exercise, they have worked with many Singaporeans to refresh our social compact and develop the national agenda for a new generation.”

He added: “The 4G team [is] 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. – LHL”

Lee Hsien Loong, son of modern Singapore’s founder Lee Kuan Yew, has been the prime minister of Singapore and head of the People’s Action Party since August 2004. He had deferred stepping down from the top position because of the COVID-19 pandemic.