DPM Lawrence Wong at the Press Conference on the New Cabinet Line-Up (May 2024)

PM Lawrence Wong | 13 May 2024

Opening Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the press conference on the new Cabinet line-up on 13 May 2024.

 

Good afternoon.

I met President Tharman earlier today and accepted the invitation to form the next government of Singapore. I also informed the President of the new Cabinet line-up, which I will be announcing today.

In assembling this team, I have consulted my colleagues and have sought to balance the need for continuity and renewal. Continuity and stability are key considerations, especially as we are approaching the end of this term of government.

All the ministers already have a full plate of work to see through, and some have also just rolled out new programmes in their ministries. So to avoid any disruptions, I have decided to keep them in their present roles until the end of the term. And that means I too, will retain my portfolio in Finance even after becoming Prime Minister.

As I had shared previously, both Mr Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Teo Chee Hean will be Senior Ministers in Cabinet, and Mr Teo will also continue as the Coordinating Minister for National Security.

As Prime Minister, I will be supported by two Deputy Prime Ministers. Mr Heng Swee Keat will continue as Deputy Prime Minister and he will oversee the technology and R&D portfolios in his capacity as Chairman of the NRF.

Mr Gan Kim Yong will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister. He will take over from me as Chairman of the MAS and will assume responsibility of the Strategy Group in the Prime Minister's Office, which coordinates our policies and plans across the government. I have known both Kim Yong and Swee Keat for many years. I value their advice and counsel, and I am glad that they will be supporting me as my deputies.

Swee Keat, you already know his record in government. We entered politics together in 2011 and worked together in MOE and MOF, as well as in national exercises like the Our Singapore Conversation.

Kim Yong, we went through the COVID baptism of fire together and he was a pillar of strength throughout. Through the course of working together, we have come to get to know each other's working styles better and in this period of increased geopolitical tensions, his experience in international economics will also help us navigate a more contested global environment. Both Kim Yong and Swee Keat are experienced ministers and will provide a steady hand in this initial period of transition. I will be able to tap on their views and expertise as I take on my new responsibility, and they will also help me to mentor our younger officeholder colleagues.

Aside from their ministers, I am renewing the line up for the rest of the team. I am making three promotions amongst the junior office holders, Miss Low Yen Ling, and Mr Desmond Tan will be promoted to Senior Ministers of State and Miss Rahayu Mahzam will be promoted to Minister of State. I am bringing two backbenchers into government. Mr Murali Pillai will be appointed as Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Transport and Mr Shawn Huang will be appointed as Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance.

On the whole, we have a strong team with a good mix of both experienced ministers and younger office holders. Amongst the 4G ministers, some have been in office for several terms. A number entered politics at around the same time as me, and others are still relatively new in their roles. I will be working and interacting with all of them and beyond this term, if my government is reelected, I plan to rotate the 4G ministers to different portfolios and give them wider exposure and experience.

Amongst them, I am sure some will be able to step up and take over from their senior colleagues in due course. Likewise, amongst the junior office holders, there will be a few who will be able to take on larger responsibilities, but we will still need more fresh blood as some of the older ministers are likely to retire either at the end of this term or shortly after, and so I am actively looking for new candidates with the potential to be office holders.

I aim to further renew and strengthen the team with new members, especially men and women in their 30s and 40s. There is no higher priority for me, and that is to form the best possible team to serve Singapore and Singaporeans.

Overall, we have a full agenda ahead of us – to keep Singapore safe and secure; to tackle the immediate concerns of Singaporeans around cost of living and jobs; and to translate our Forward Singapore aspirations into concrete programmes for the benefit of all Singaporeans.

More and more, many of the issues we deal with will involve close linkages between the economy and the society, and so I will be working closely with both Deputy Prime Ministers and the ministers to review and coordinate our policies across multiple fronts, and we will also be engaging closely with our partners, especially the labour movement and NTUC, as well as other stakeholders.

We are fully committed to working with all Singaporeans to chart our new way forward. This is my first press conference as the Prime Minister designate. We will have more press conferences in the future. I intend to do more to engage you, the media, and through you, the public at large. I will also engage with the public directly, including different segments of society.

Through these engagements, I hope to share my thinking on key concerns and issues that are on the minds of Singaporeans and I also would like to listen, get feedback and views, and get inputs as to how we can best shape new policies and programmes together. So, I look forward to involving all Singaporeans so that we can take Singapore forward together.

 

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