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Lawrence Wong signals strong, independent leadership in The Economist interview amid political transition

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, set to become Singapore’s Prime Minister on 15 May, expressed his readiness to make tough decisions “in the interest of Singapore and Singaporeans” in an interview with The Economist.



In a revealing interview with The Economist published on Wednesday, 8 May, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who is poised to become Singapore’s next Prime Minister on 15 May, expressed his commitment to making tough, necessary decisions in the interest of the nation.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed this transition in a statement on 15 April, noting that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who has served for two decades since 2004, will officially step down on 15 May 2024.

Mr Wong, who also currently serves as Minister for Finance, is said to have received unanimous support from the PAP MPs to succeed PM Lee.

In his interview, Mr Wong outlined his approach to leadership, reminiscent of the qualities espoused by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, known for his decisive and sometimes iron-handed leadership style.

“I believe when push comes to shove and the time comes to take hard decisions, I would do so, as long as the decision is in the interest of Singapore and Singaporeans,” Mr Wong stated during the interview. He was responding to questions about whether he possesses the ‘iron’ that Lee Kuan Yew had deemed essential for governing Singapore.

Regarding PM Lee taking on the role of senior minister in his new Cabinet, Mr Wong said this is a “long-standing Singapore tradition” that has never prevented the new prime minister from setting the tone and making his own decisions.

He does not envision any difficulties on this front, he added.

“Each time we have a leadership transition, we do not just kick out all the older ministers and then have a completely new team come in. We value the more experienced ministers, and we invite them to continue contributing in different ways, in their own ways.”

Similarly, he will take over as secretary-general of the PAP in due course, Mr Wong said.

During the interview, Mr Wong also touched on his leadership philosophy, which involves a blend of firmness in decision-making with an openness to diverse perspectives. He emphasized his methodological approach to meetings and decision-making processes: “I listen carefully to everyone’s views. When I go into a meeting, I do not start off assuming that I know all the answers. I want to get people’s insights, I want to get people’s perspectives, eventually thinking about what makes for the best decisions and outcomes for Singapore.”

Examples of difficult decisions cited by Mr Wong included the recent hike in the goods and services tax from 7% to 9%, and the implementation of stringent social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. These decisions, according to Mr Wong, showcase his capability to prioritize the nation’s long-term interests over short-term popularity.

This interview comes in the wake of pointed criticism from Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam towards The Economist for its commentary on Singapore’s political succession.

On 19 April, Mr Shanmugam took to Facebook to launch a fierce defense of Mr Wong and Singapore’s political system in response to what he perceived as patronizing and biased coverage by The Economist.

He criticized the publication for its portrayal of Mr Wong as a “compromise candidate” and its broader skepticism about the transparency and fairness of Singapore’s political succession.

Mr Shanmugam accused The Economist of maintaining a colonialist attitude towards Singapore, suggesting that British observers could not accept Singapore’s success.

“They can’t stand that a people they were accustomed to lecturing are now doing better than they are, across the board,” Mr Shanmugam stated, contrasting Singapore’s political stability with the UK’s tumultuous political landscape post-Brexit.

He further highlighted Singapore’s superior economic performance and societal metrics, such as healthcare, housing, education, public safety, and social cohesion, to underscore his argument. Mr Shanmugam’s critique extended to the broader media landscape, where he claimed that Singapore’s media is less influenced by media moguls compared to Britain, leading to more balanced and constructive journalism.

It is intriguing that Mr Wong chose to engage with The Economist for an interview on 6 May despite his colleague, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam, having previously criticized the publication for poor journalism less than a month ago. This could suggest that Mr Wong may not fully align with Mr Shanmugam’s views, especially as he prepares to announce his reshuffled cabinet soon.

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SG has 2 DPMs and 2 Finance Ministers now🤔
Who will take that FM portfolio once LW takes on the PMship?

Don’t be so cock sure that another episode “Heng Swee Kiat2” wll NOT happen???? With “shay shaying Sr Ministir & the witch till around & the & the annointed princeling laying about awaiting his turn,who dare to say a “HengSweeKiat2″will not happen?

Let’s ask couple of straight, simple questions BUT with ENORMOUS IMPLICATIONS if SG see others as a COMPARISON with basic human rights.

2. FICA.
3. Gilbert ‘Offences’.
4. PAP AFRAID of 1 man show protests, Jollovan.
5. Sue Leong Tse Hian.
6. Sue Roy Ngerng.
7. Sue WP.
8. $2.00 PAP AIM Company FRAUD.
9. PUT all OLD MEN, Single People, SENIOR CITIZENS, CHUCK them into UNWANTED INDECENT housing. If youngsters SEE OLD people TREATED like JUNK, when they get older, DO THEY FEAR the same.

Above just short List of PAP CRIMES.

LawlanWong’s boss probably instructed/permitted him to say “strong independent leadership” during the interview. Kelong means kelong, hor.

Has the PAP propelled SG by leaps and bounds to spearhead a better life for 6 million people over the last 10,15 years.

Honestly what has changed?

More expensive rental flats.

Lesser purchasing power even stronger S$, for what F, and for whose sake. For Foreign workers SAKES ENTIRELY.

Stagnant pay for SG.

Crowded buses, trains. Crowded roads, Crowded Public Spaces.

More work for whom. For Trash.



And so on and so forth.


More Trafiic DEATHS??

what’s new? increase taxes, increase foreigners, etc tsk tsk tsk

We want solutions, not price increase . thank you

Foreign Press is to sell news. What news? As long as anytg readers pay to read , even if it’s shit, these Press are happy to make money when readers read and smell shit. The world know enough how SG is wired – Keppel Bribery was staged, Fujian Gang made fools of Millionaire Clowns 🤡. Any earth shaking events that has the world sit up. Yes, one outstanding is they possibly found it strangely foolish why their pple allowed the Ministers to rob their State Reserves of $20 Million bucks TO POUR TEA. Only occur in SG. By keeping quiet… Read more »

Readers and subscribers to The Economist and The Financial Times will have noticed SillyPore and their Senior Ministers recently !!! With Indranee attacking and disputing the FT’s version of a SillyPore event, … whilst BullyBoyShamu was hissing, dissing and eviscerating the Economist, .. and stooping to call it names and all !!! The above readers will laugh off this interview, … as just another platform and opportunity for a would be SillyPorean PM, to challenge himself, to use more words in the absence of action as is the case with most SillyPore ministers, and, … no interview with a PM… Read more »

“Independent leadership” sounds like everything also must check with Boss first.

Sorry He is NOT independent. He has alliance with Democrats and Loong/Yang. Toggle togglee. No?!?

The Mark of the Beast is on Him.

“You must have that iron fist to govern this country…because we are a small country. We must show to the world we have our own laws. You all foreigners come to my country and you all jolly well follow our laws.”

“…if you don’t have that iron fist, then you jolly well can forget about becoming the government…Forget about it.”

First he says he will define his leadership with Transparency. Apart from telling Singaporeans the cost of living is going up (which everyone knows), after that he himself become transparent. Now he says he is independent or should it be in dependent of someone higher up? He mentioned he has the iron in him but keep on clutching on to past practices of appointing his predecessor as SM. Either he is not ready for leadership as he has claimed or his decision is in dependent (not independent) of someone. Make no mistake as the future of Singapore and her citizen… Read more »

Dear Lawless Wrong.
If you really are for the people, first thing you do when you wear the crown is….change out all the old faces in your cabinet.
remove all the clowns who enjoyed immunity under Pinky reign.
Then we trust you. Otherwise you’re just a piece of drift wood floating about.

I would have believed you if LHL is not in your cabinet and you did away with yourself and all PAP members and affiliates on the MAS board. Now the State doesn’t have regulators. Same governance as your boss.No difference.

Aiyaah…talk so the end it’ll be the same old same old ” I say you do ” type of controlling us peasants tye of governance.
Especially when the oldcoot soon to be ex pm & self appointed SM, will be breathing down his back as SM…
So selfish of that LHL..

He labelled people xenophobic, just because they disagreed with the FW policy of his government.

That is his style, in case you missed it last time.
He definitely has the ‘iron’.
And he has a big black botak iron club in the cabinet!
But is this kind of ‘iron’ still relevant today?

He has the elitist DNA, there will be no change in the way he govern from that of his boss.

What else can he say?

I would be more impressed if he had articulated his concern for the B40 and seniors who continue to struggle to put food on the table.

Wouldn’t it be a great start to his reign if he promises to look at the living wage so that Singaporeans can live a life with dignity?

Hahaha, sure or not!

What’s iron in him is ah wrong talking about?

Has miserably failed the first litmus test by keeping ah gua as his nanny to change his diaper.

What do you think?

The PAP style is patentedly stale and predictable whenever they speak to For Press – when the whole idea’s sole mission is to exaggerate as much as possible, invoke awe and admiration towards their humongous lies concealed.

The Press and Media do NOT morally judge or offer opinions being this is hallmark of universal professionalism in media dissemination.

It is ONLY reporting, transcribing – and they don’t give judgement to it’s authenticity or truthfulness, out of respect to protect all parties.

So whenever the PAP GLOATS, the media replicate, ad verbatim.

Ah Wong can hopefully be independent, only when one event takes place… Someome had to go and I don’t mean just go, as in step down and take another post but….take a trip one way to Mandai and hopefully, not before the actual person takes Ah Wong seat! But then, it is really not Ah Wong or the other one’s fault. They are just opportunist that once they know the local fucktards are balless and can be controlled, they just would not let go and the rest just fall into place to their favor! The culprits are the ones ,… Read more »

No Phish , Craps also can