Singapore’s Lawrence Wong sworn in as new prime minister

SINGAPORE   -   Singapore on Thursday swore in Lawrence Wong as its new prime minister Thursday, replacing Lee Hsien Loong following two decades in office, with the new leader warning that the trade-dependent city-state faced a riskier, more conflict-ridden world. Wong, formerly deputy prime minister, became only the second person outside of the Lee family to helm the affluent nation as he was inaugurated at the Istana government office shortly after 8:00 pm (1200 GMT). “We will lead in our own way. We will continue to think boldly and think far,” the 51-year-old said in his maiden speech, adding that “the best chapters of our Singapore story lie ahead”.

Members of Wong’s cabinet were also sworn in, including his predecessor Lee, 72, who was appointed to the advisory role of senior minister.

Wong also said Singaporeans “face a world of conflict and rivalry”, with geopolitical tensions, protectionism and nationalism possibly stretching for years.

“We must brace ourselves to these realities and adapt to a messier, riskier and more violent world,” said Wong.

The US-educated economist is widely seen as a social media-savvy stalwart who effectively handled the Covid-19 crisis when he oversaw the government’s pandemic taskforce.

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