Lawrence Wong

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Lawrence Wong
黄循财
Lawrence Wong at a Singapore International Energy Week conference - 20101102.jpg
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
Assumed office
13 June 2022
Serving with Heng Swee Keat
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byTharman Shanmugaratnam
Teo Chee Hean
Minister for Finance
Assumed office
15 May 2021
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Second MinisterIndranee Rajah
Preceded byHeng Swee Keat
Minister for Education
In office
27 July 2020 – 14 May 2021
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Second MinisterMaliki Osman
Preceded byOng Ye Kung
Succeeded byChan Chun Sing
Second Minister for Finance
In office
22 August 2016 – 14 May 2021
Serving with Indranee Rajah (2018 onwards)
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
MinisterHeng Swee Keat
Preceded byLim Hwee Hua (2011)
Minister for National Development
In office
1 October 2015 – 26 July 2020
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Second MinisterDesmond Lee
(2017–2020)
Preceded byKhaw Boon Wan
Succeeded byDesmond Lee
Second Minister for Communications and Information
In office
1 May 2014 – 30 September 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
MinisterYaacob Ibrahim
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
In office
1 November 2012 – 30 September 2015
Acting: 1 November 2012 – 30 April 2014
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byChan Chun Sing (as Acting Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports)
Succeeded byGrace Fu Hai Yien
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC
(Limbang)
Assumed office
11 September 2015
Preceded byConstituency established
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for West Coast GRC
(Boon Lay)
In office
7 May 2011 – 24 August 2015
Preceded byHo Geok Choo
Succeeded byPatrick Tay
Personal details
Born
Lawrence Wong Shyun Tsai

(1972-12-18) 18 December 1972 (age 49)
Singapore
Political partyPeople's Action Party
EducationTanjong Katong Secondary School
Victoria Junior College
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison (BS)
University of Michigan (MA)
Harvard University (MPA)
Signature
Websitepmo.gov.sg

Lawrence Wong Shyun Tsai (Chinese: 黄循财; pinyin: Huáng Xúncái; born 18 December 1972)[1] is a Singaporean politician who has been serving as Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore since 2022 alongside Heng Swee Keat and Minister for Finance since 2021. A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Limbang ward of Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC since 2015. He is also a member of the party's Central Executive Committee (CEC).

Prior to entering politics, Wong was a civil servant working in the ministries of trade and industry, finance and health. He was also principal private secretary to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong between 2005 and 2008, and chief executive officer of the Energy Market Authority between 2008 and 2011.

Wong made his political debut in the 2011 general election when he contested in West Coast GRC as part of a five-member PAP team and won. Since the 2015 general election, he has contested in Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC and retained his seat in the 2015 and 2020 general elections. He was the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth between 2012 and 2015, Second Minister of Communications and Information between 2014 and 2015, Minister for National Development between 2015 and 2020,[2] Second Minister of Finance between 2016 and 2021 and Minister for Education between 2020 and 2021.

Wong is a co-chair of a multi-ministerial committee set up by the government in January 2020 to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.[3] In April 2022, he was chosen as the leader of the PAP's fourth generation leadership team, placing him in line as Lee's apparent successor.[4] Wong assumed office as Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore from 13 June 2022, serving with Heng Swee Keat.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Wong was born on 18 December 1972 at Parkway East Hospital in the eastern part of Singapore.[6] He is of Hainanese descent.[7] Growing up, Wong and his family lived in a public Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat in Marine Parade.[6] Wong's father worked as a sales executive while his mother was a teacher at his primary school.[6]

Wong attended Haig Boys' Primary School (now known as Tanjong Katong Primary School), Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Victoria Junior College[8][9] before graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics under the Public Service Commission scholarship.[10][11]

He subsequently went on to complete a Master of Arts degree in economics at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and a Master of Public Administration degree at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[12][13]

Career[edit]

Civil Service Career[edit]

Wong began his career as a civil servant at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, where he served as Assistant Director (Research and Planning) from 1997 to 1999. He then moved to the Ministry of Finance, where he served as Assistant Director (Fiscal Policy) from 1999 to 2001 and later Deputy Director (Budget) and Head of Economic Programmes. In 2004, he moved to the Ministry of Health to serve as Director of Healthcare Finance.

From 2005 to 2008, Wong served as the principal private secretary to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In 2008, Wong became the chief executive officer of the Energy Market Authority.[14]

Political career[edit]

Wong entered politics at the 2011 general election when he contested as part of a five-member People's Action Party (PAP) team in West Coast GRC. The PAP team won with 66.66% of the vote against the Reform Party and Wong was elected as the Member of Parliament representing the Boon Lay ward of West Coast GRC.

On 21 May 2011, Wong was appointed as Minister of State for Defence and Minister of State for Education. He was also appointed to the board of directors of the Monetary Authority of Singapore on 10 June 2011.[15] On 1 August 2012, he was promoted to Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts and Senior Minister of State for Education. On 1 November 2012, he was appointed Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information.[16]

Wong led a team to bid for the Singapore Botanic Gardens to be recognised as Singapore's first UNESCO World Heritage Site.[17][18][19] Wong also spearheaded the free museum entry policy for all Singaporeans and permanent residents, to all national museums and heritage institutions from 18 May 2013.[20] In 2013, Wong also announced the setting up of a new S$100 million National Youth Fund for youth to champion community and social causes.[21]

On 1 May 2014, Wong was promoted to Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Communications and Information.[22] He was also a co-opted Member of the 32nd, 33rd and 35th CEC before his win in the election into the 36th PAP Central Executive Committee (CEC).[23] Wong was also appointed as the Head of the SG50 Programme Office that coordinates the work of five committees for Singapore's Golden Jubilee Year celebrations.[24] Wong is also the co-chair for the SG50 Culture and Community Committee.[25]

As Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Wong was involved in the transformation of the Civic District[26][27]— the birthplace of modern Singapore which contained many institutions that have witnessed important turning points in Singapore's history. On January 2016, he assumed office as Chairman of the PAP Community Foundation from 2016 until 2022 where it was handed over to Minister Josephine Teo[28] In August 2016, the National Arts Council attracted criticisms over the high consultation fees paid for a bin centre, as flagged by the Auditor-General's Office. Wong addressed the issue in Parliament, saying that the project was at acceptable cost due to the need for extensive study of the location and technicality involved with the building of the refuse centre in the Civic District.[29]

Under his charge, Wong also introduced the S$200 million Cultural Matching Fund, a dollar-for-dollar matching grant for cash donations to arts and heritage charities and Institutions of Public Character in Singapore.[30][31][32]

In the 2015 general election, Wong was part of a four-member PAP team contesting in the newly formed Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC. [33] The PAP team won with 68.7% of the vote against the Singapore Democratic Party and Wong was elected as the Member of Parliament representing the Limbang ward of Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC.

Wong was also the Chairman of the Steering Committee for the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.[34] Wong had also announced several key initiatives to get more Singaporeans involved in sports.[35] This includes a national movement called ActiveSG, which gives all Singaporeans and permanent residents ActiveSG$100 to sign up for sports programmes, and enter into swimming pools and gyms at the various sports centres islandwide.[36]

Wong also chaired the Singapore High Performance Sports Steering Committee, which provides strategic guidance on identifying and nurturing high performing sporting talents.[37] Wong said that the accomplishments of Singapore athletes at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games indicate that Singapore's investment in sports is paying off.[38]

On 1 October 2015, Wong became the Minister for National Development.[13] He also chaired the steering committee for the development of Jurong Lake Gardens.[39]

On 22 August 2016, Wong was appointed Second Minister for Finance,[40] in addition to being Minister for National Development.[41] On 29 August 2016, he stepped down from the board of directors of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and was replaced by Ong Ye Kung.[15][42]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore, Wong and Gan Kim Yong were appointed co-chairs of a multi-ministerial committee formed by the government in January 2020 to manage the situation. On 26 March 2020, while paying tribute to frontline workers helping in Singapore's fight against COVID-19, Wong turned emotional and teary-eyed while delivering his address in Parliament. He thanked healthcare workers, as well as those working in cleaning, transport and security sectors for providing much-needed services to keep Singapore going during this difficult time.[43]

In the 2020 general election, Wong led a four-member PAP team to contest in Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC again. The PAP team won with 63.18% of the vote against the Singapore Democratic Party and Wong retained his seat as the Member of Parliament representing Limbang ward.[44]

On 27 July 2020, following a Cabinet reshuffle, Wong succeeded Ong Ye Kung as Minister for Education.[45] On 8 November that year, Wong was elected into the PAP's Central Executive Committee for the first time after rising to prominence for leading the Government's fight against Covid-19.[46]

On 15 May 2021, following another Cabinet reshuffle, Wong relinquished his portfolio as Minister for Education and became Minister for Finance.[47] On 28 May 2021, he was reappointed to the board of directors of the Monetary Authority of Singapore as Deputy Chair, replacing Lim Hng Kiang.[48][49]

In February 2022, Wong announced a S$500 million (US$372 million) stimulus package to create jobs and support businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Wong also said the government would set aside SG$560 million to help Singapore citizens deal with the rising cost of living.[50]

Selection as 4G leader[edit]

On 14 April 2022, Wong was selected as the leader of the PAP's fourth-generation (4G) team, succeeding Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who had stepped down as 4G leader on 8 April 2021.[51] Prior to his appointment, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delegated former PAP chairman Khaw Boon Wan to initiate a consultation process among the fourth-generation ministers of the Cabinet, aimed at garnering their individual views regarding the selection of a new 4G leader.[52] However, both Prime Minister Lee and Senior Ministers Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean, abstained from participating in the process.[53]

Wong received an "overwhelming majority" of support in the consultation process, surpassing that of Ong Ye Kung and Chan Chun Sing, his cabinet colleagues and co-contestants in the 4G leadership race.[54] He received 15 out of the 19 votes from the stakeholders polled, and as no candidate is allowed to vote for himself, this meant that only three other individuals did not vote for him as their first choice.[55] His candidature was unanimously endorsed by the Cabinet and subsequently, by the PAP MPs at a party caucus on 14 April.[56] His appointment was announced by Prime Minister Lee in a Facebook post the same day.[56]

As the new 4G leader, Wong subsequently emerged as Lee's apparent successor to the position of prime minister; the latter's initial plans to step down at the age of 70 had been thwarted by Heng's withdrawal.[57]

Deputy Prime Minister[edit]

On 6 June 2022, a Cabinet reshuffle was announced where Lawrence was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister, which furthur cemented his position as PM Lee Hsien Loong's successor. In addition to becoming Deputy Prime Minister, he was also named "Acting Prime Minister" in the PM's absence, he had also taken over responsibility of the Strategy Group in the Prime Minister's Office (Singapore) from Heng Swee Keat[58][59] On 29 June 2022, Wong had launched the "Forward Singapore" movement [60] as part of his vision for Singapore - a society that benefits many, not a few. [61]

Personal life[edit]

Wong married at the age of 28 but divorced his first wife after three years due to "incompatibility",[62][63][64] and he has since remarried.[65] The couple has no children.[66] His elder brother is an aerospace engineer at DSO National Laboratories. [67]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MP | Parliament of Singapore".
  2. ^ Au-Yong, Rachel (29 September 2015). "Lawrence Wong to lead National Development". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
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  6. ^ a b c Tan, Sumiko (1 November 2020). "Lunch With Sumiko: 2020 feels like a lifetime for Lawrence Wong". www.straitstimes.com. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  7. ^ MCCY - Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Speeches by Mr Lawrence Wong (6 November 2013). "Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong at the Hainan Culture and Heritage Centre's anniversary dinner cum book launch". MCCY - Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  8. ^ "VJC News". Archived from the original on 26 March 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  9. ^ ""I ran my first marathon in 1997. I have done two" – an interview with Lawrence Wong (Part 8)". Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  10. ^ ""Inspiring Excellence, Celebrating Distinction, Raising Competencies in the Financial Sector" - Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth; Board Member, Monetary Authority of Singapore at the FICS Distinction Evening on 28 May 2013". www.mas.gov.sg. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
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  21. ^ "New National Youth Fund to be set up: Lawrence Wong". Channel News Asia. MediaCorp Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Tan Chuan-Jin, Lawrence Wong promoted to full ministers". 29 April 2014. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Central Executive Committee (CEC)". People's Action Party. People's Action Party. Archived from the original on 1 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  24. ^ "SG50 Celebration Fund almost doubled with S$4m cash injection: Lawrence Wong". Channel News Asia. Channel News Asia. Archived from the original on 8 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  25. ^ "Steering Committee for Singapore50". Singapore50. Singapore50. Archived from the original on 7 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
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  46. ^ Yuen, Sin; Lim, Min Zhang (8 November 2020). "PAP conference: Lawrence Wong, Desmond Lee elected to party's top committee for first time". The Straits Times. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  47. ^ "Changes to Cabinet and Other Appointments (April 2021)". Prime Minister's Office. 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
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  50. ^ "Singapore announces $372 million jobs support package". CNBC. 18 February 2022. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  51. ^ "Finance Minister Lawrence Wong endorsed as leader of 4G team: PM Lee". www.channelnewsasia.com. 14 April 2022.
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  53. ^ "Singapore taps finance chief Lawrence Wong as heir apparent to PM Lee". Business Standard India. 15 April 2022.
  54. ^ "Singapore PM Lee Signals Lawrence Wong Becomes New Successor". www.bloombergquint.com. 14 April 2022.
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  56. ^ a b "Lawrence Wong selected as leader of Singapore's PAP 4G team: PM Lee". sg.news.yahoo.com. 14 April 2022.
  57. ^ "Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong picked as PM heir apparent". asia.nikkei.com. 14 April 2022.
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  59. ^ Tham, Yuen-C (6 June 2022). "Lawrence Wong promoted to Deputy Prime Minister as part of Singapore Cabinet changes". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  60. ^ https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/fairness-and-inclusion-vital-to-the-national-conversation
  61. ^ https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/dpm-lawrence-wong-lays-out-vision-singapore-1933891
  62. ^ "You tick my box: How Singapore politicians found love". AsiaOne. 25 June 2020.
  63. ^ Long, Susan (15 February 2013). "Campaign country no more?". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  64. ^ "Lawrence Wong on politics, policies, and living alone". The New Paper. 1 September 2015. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  65. ^ Zalizan, Taufiq; Choo, Daryl (14 April 2022). "Once PM Lee's principal private secretary, Lawrence Wong now set to succeed him in top job". Today. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  66. ^ "Lawrence Wong is Singapore's presumptive next prime minister". The Economist. 23 April 2022. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  67. ^ https://tnp.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/8-things-know-about-lawrence-wong

External links[edit]

Media related to Lawrence Wong at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
New office
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
2012 – 2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for National Development
2015 – 2020
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New office
Second Minister for Finance
2016 – 2021
Position abolished
Preceded by Minister for Education
2020 – 2021
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Finance
2021 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
New vacancy
Deputy Prime Minister
2022 – present
Serving with: Heng Swee Keat
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by Member of Parliament for
West Coast GRC (Boon Lay)

2011 – 2015
Succeeded by
New constituency Member of Parliament for
Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC (Limbang)

2015 – present
Incumbent