Singapore PM Lee to become senior minister, after nation’s baton passes to DPM Lawrence Wong on May 15

Singapore is likely to have its general elections in late 2024, and while the baton of national leadership passes on May 15 from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Lawrence Wong, the rest of the Cabinet is not likely to see major changes.

Lee Hsien Loong at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess
Outgoing Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong raises a toast at a ceremony at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong (MCI Photo by Fyrol)

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

Wong, the current Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Singapore, spoke to reporters this week, outlining his plans as the new head of state. He also gave out those plans in a Facebook post dated April 16, which said: “The upcoming swearing-in ceremony on 15 May is not just for me, but also for a new Cabinet. For now, there should not be any major changes. The broad shape of the team is in place, and I hope to bring in more new members after the next election.”

He added: “Meanwhile, I have asked Mr Lee Hsien Loong to continue serving in Cabinet as Senior Minister, and I am glad that he has agreed. Mr Lee has done much for Singapore, especially over the last 20 years of leading our country. I thank him for his selfless service and lasting contributions to our nation.”

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong addresses the media
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong addresses the media on his upcoming swearing-in as prime minister on May 15. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lawrence Wong (MCI Photo by Fyrol)

As the leader of Singapore’s “4G” team, Wong wrote: “For the rest of this term, we have a full agenda: to tackle concerns around jobs and cost of living; provide greater assurance to families, seniors and vulnerable groups; and take concrete steps towards our shared aspirations as part of our #ForwardSG roadmap.

“There is much to be done and many opportunities to chart a new way forward for ourselves and our nation. I invite all Singaporeans to join me in this journey — share your ideas and dreams; work with me and my team. Let us build our future together.”

Expressing his admiration for PM Lee, Indian-origin Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan wrote on Facebook: “It has been a rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to work with a man who is a superpower intellectually, erudite, wide interests, always curious, and yet disciplined, data driven, focused on facts & logic. And yet, beyond that, ultimately, driven by a very powerful sense of duty, of mission, and compassion. So, for me, it has been an incredible journey and like all other Singaporeans, I want to say a big thank you to Prime Minister Lee and I look forward to his contributions in this new phase.”

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong with minister Vivian Balakrishnan
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong with minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Vivian Balakrishnan

Balakrishnan added: “Internationally, I should also say that Prime Minister Lee has continued to fly the flag of Singapore very high. I have been present at almost all his meetings with leaders. I have always been struck by how much people wanted to listen, to pick his brains, to glean advice from his wisdom and his experience.”

“Prime Minister Lee and his reputation [have] opened so many doors for us. It has given us opportunities on the international stage. It has given us credibility, and his style of conducting foreign policy on the basis of realism, consistency, constructiveness, goodwill and trust. All these have been calling cards, defining attributes of our foreign policy. We have been very blessed to have a man like Prime Minister Lee lead us, represent us, and his role not only as a leader domestically, but as a respected statesman on the international stage,” said the minister.

Lee Hsien Loong attends dining-in at Senior Police Officers’ Mess

With Lawrence Wong preparing to take up the mantle of premier, Lee Hsien Loong celebrated his last month as Prime Minister of Singapore by attending a dining-in ceremony at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess.

He posted today on Facebook: “Thank you to the Singapore Police Force for hosting me to a dining-in at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess last night!

“I last attended an SPF dining-in 10 years ago in 2014. Back then, I spoke about the need to maintain the highest standards of integrity, commitment, and professionalism, as well as to continue investing in technology to deal with the latest threats.

“Glad that the SPF has exceeded my expectations in the years since then. According to recent surveys, Singaporean’s level of trust in the police is among the highest in the world. This is a remarkable achievement.”

At the dining-in ceremony, “a formal banquet hosted by senior police officers”, PM Lee received the ceremonial Temasek Sword.

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong receives the Temasek Sword
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong receives the Temasek Sword at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong (MCI Photo by Fyrol)

He described: “One of the traditions is the presentation of the Temasek Sword — a commemorative sword commissioned by the Mess for their distinguished guest. The Commissioners’ Series of the Temasek Sword features the names of former Police Commissioners etched onto the blade.”

Lee met Singapore Police Force officers from various departments and commended them. “I would like to express my appreciation to all SPF officers, past and present, for their hard work, dedication, vigilance, and loyalty,” he wrote in the post.

PM Lee with Singapore Police Force officers
PM Lee captioned this photo as: “Had a quick chat with police officers of different levels and departments. We talked about online scams, developments in the SPF, and even social media algorithms! Work in the police force is multi-faceted and constantly evolving. I am glad that our officers are up to the task.” Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong (MCI Photo by Fyrol)

“Even though the future is uncertain and threats continue to evolve, I have full confidence in our police force and I believe that the SPF will continue climbing to greater heights in the future. – LHL,” he concluded.

The outgoing prime minister raised a toast to the Singapore Police Force and said: “Thank you SPF for your good wishes! And thank you for keeping our homes safe and secure!”