Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced that finance minister Lawrence Wong will be promoted to one of the country's Deputy Prime Ministers, as part of the cabinet reshuffle.
Wong's promotion will take effect on Monday and he will also continue as the Minister of Finance. The move was a widely expected one as Wong, 49, had been endorsed as the leader of the ruling People's Action Party's (PAP) fourth-generation team, just two months ago, to succeed the 70-year-old Lee.
"The next generation leadership is taking shape. I ask everyone to give your full support to this important transition, to steer Singapore safely out of the pandemic and into a brighter future," Lee wrote on Facebook after the announcement was made, South China Morning Post reported.
A recipient of an undergraduate government scholarship, Wong pursued his bachelors in economics from the University of WisconsinâMadison in 1993 and subsequently completed his masters in the same field from the University of Michigan. A music enthusiast, Wong told the Strait Times of his love for rock, blues and soul which he developed during his university years.
His father was a sales executive and mother a primary school teacher at the school Wong and his elder brother â now an aerospace engineer â used to study.
Coming from a non-political background, the 49-year-old entered politics after a fulfilling career in civil services, when he served as the Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister from 2005 to 2008.
His political career began when he was appointed Minister of State at the Ministries of Defence and Education in 2011 and was promoted to Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts by 2012.
According to the SCMP, Wong then continued as the Minister of National Development till 2020, when amidst the Pandemic he was made the Education Minister.
It was however, his selection as a co-chair in the co-chairs of Singapore's Covid-19 task force that earned him a lot of praise. "He puts his heart and soul into what he was doing and is never a seeker of credit or fanfare," said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
Apart from domestic politics, Wong has also performed exceptionally well at the international level. He was constantly involved in dealing with issues related to China and the US. Due to him being the minister-in-charge of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, there were many exchanges with Chinese leaders as well.
By taking reins of the country in his hands, Wong has now entered the real limelight. With his new role there are expectations to build his own 'brand of leadership,' as analyst and political experts await any deviation or a novel change in the Singapore's political culture.
Wong will be joining the current deputy prime minister Heng Swee Kea, 61, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, who had resigned from the position of leader of the 4G team in April 2021, due to his age.