Factbox: Singapore’s PM-in-waiting takes new step towards leadership & More News Here

Singapore Minister Lawrence Wong seen on this image on the Southeast Asian Games in 2015. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has mentioned Wong would succeed him as PM. Mandatory Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images by way of Reuters/File Photo

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SINGAPORE, June 6 (Reuters) – Singapore’s finance minister, Lawrence Wong, will probably be promoted to deputy prime minister on June 13, in keeping with an official assertion launched on Monday, taking a step nearer to changing into the chief of the city-state.

Wong would be the fourth prime minister to guide the monetary hub since its independence in 1965, although the timing of the handover from present Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is as but undecided.

Following are some key information about Wong:

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PANDEMIC PERFORMANCE

Wong, 49, was catapulted into the political highlight as co-head of the federal government’s COVID-19 activity drive.

He has largely gained reward for his dealing with of the virus. Under his leadership, Singapore imposed strict lockdowns, border curbs and contact-tracing, which saved deaths and infections to a minimal, particularly early on within the pandemic. But after attaining one of many world’s highest vaccination charges, many questioned the sluggish tempo at which the town eased restrictions.

Singapore dropped practically all pandemic restrictions in April this yr.

Wong broke down in tears throughout a speech in parliament in 2020 as he thanked healthcare employees and others for his or her efforts in the course of the pandemic, a uncommon present of emotion among the many city-state’s leaders.

CAREER CIVIL SERVANT

As a civil servant, Wong labored in a number of ministries and served as Prime Minister Lee’s principal non-public secretary from 2005 to 2008.

He beforehand led the training and nationwide improvement ministries, and have become finance minister final yr. He delivered his first finances this yr, aimed toward steering the nation right into a post-pandemic period and addressing wealth inequality.

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Wong is a member of the board of GIC, the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, and can be the deputy chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

He studied economics on the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and likewise attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Wong will solely be the nation’s second prime minister from exterior the Lee household. The present prime minister’s father Lee Kuan Yew was the nation founding father and first chief.

CHALLENGES

Besides the fast problem of recovering from a pandemic and dealing with financial dangers from the battle in Ukraine, Wong seems to be set to inherit various long-term structural coverage points.

He should guarantee Singapore retains its attractiveness as a enterprise hub regardless of international tax reforms and pressures to reverse globalisation. Singapore may also must navigate shifting geopolitics, together with its relationship with China and the United States.

Singapore, an oil refining hub, can be attempting to transition towards a greener financial system and deal with a quickly ageing inhabitants.

The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) secured 83 of 93 parliamentary seats within the 2020 election, however its share of the favored vote dropped close to a document low, whereas the opposition gained an unprecedented 10 seats.

“With the ruling party’s lackluster performance… Wong and Lee will likely focus on initiatives and policies to secure better social outcomes for Singaporeans and help the PAP gain more public support,” mentioned Nydia Ngiow, managing director at Bower Group Asia.

“BOOKWORM, GUITAR PLAYER AND DOG LOVER”

The son of a salesman and a major college instructor, Wong describes himself as a “bookworm, guitar player and dog lover” in his Instagram profile.

Members of the PAP who’ve labored with Wong instructed Reuters the politician “does not beat around the bush”, although additionally described him as considerate and kind-hearted.

Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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