SINGAPORE, Aug 16 — Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said that the actual timing of him succeeding Lee Hsien Loong as the prime minister has not been decided yet.
Wong said this during an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait on Aug 15 where the full transcript of the interview was made available on the Ministry of Finance’s website.
Taking a question from Micklethwait on when does he think he is likely to take over, Wong said that the government had a very thorough and deliberate process to think about what it might do with succession planning.
“The plans were disrupted because of COVID-19. Then we had to come back together, and we wanted a process that would allow us to choose a leader while strengthening the sense of team within the Cabinet, and we have done that.
“I have emerged as the candidate my colleagues have chosen to lead the team, I am honoured by their choice, and we are now in the process of deliberating exactly when would that transition be for me to take over from Prime Minister Lee,” Wong explained.
Pressing further on the timing, Micklethwait asked would Wong expect it to happen before the General Elections in 2025?
Wong replied that “it is not later than 2025 – it could be earlier.”
“As we have discussed before, and we have mentioned this in the last press conference, it could take place before the General Elections, in which case I would take over as Prime Minister and I would clearly lead the PAP (People’s Action Party) and the 4G (Fourth Generation) team in the elections.
“Or it could be that PM continues as PM now and he leads the PAP in the elections, and then after the elections, if the PAP wins, I take over from him as PM.
“These are the options, but we have still yet to make a decision on the actual timing,” said Wong.
Wong noted that his priority for now “is really to start thinking about organising the team, how we might want to go about dealing with our immediate priorities and really take this time to settle in to my new expanded responsibilities and portfolios.”
“In due course we will make a decision on this important matter,” he said.
The interview touched on a wide-ranging topics that include geopolitics, the global economy and Singapore’s economic outlook.
Wong was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister effective from June 13, 2022.