Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong submits resignation; calls it a day after two decades in the job

Image from The Straits Times/ANN.

SINGAPORE: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday submitted his resignation to President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, saying he and his government will resign on Wednesday.

Lee, the Singapore Prime Minister since 2004, said in the letter that he advised the president to invite Lawrence Wong to form the next government, the international media had reported on Monday.

Tharman accepted Lee's resignation and said he will appoint Wong as prime minister and invite him to form the new government.

Gan Kim Yong and Heng Swee Keat will be deputy prime ministers in the new government, Wong announced at a press conference.

Gan will remain as the minister for trade and industry, and replace Wong as the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Lee and Teo Chee Hean will be senior ministers in the new cabinet, said Wong, who will remain as the finance minister.

Born in Singapore during British colonial rule, the 72-year-old Lee is the eldest son of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics with first class honours and a Diploma in Computer Science with distinction (equivalent to a first-class masters in computer science).

He served in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) between 1971 and 1984, and attained the rank Brigadier-General, completing a Master of Public Administration degree at Harvard Kennedy School in 1980.

Lee resigned from the SAF in 1984 to enter politics and was elected the MP for Teck Ghee SMC. Since its dissolution in 1991, he has represented the Teck Ghee ward of Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Lee has served as deputy prime minister, Minister for Finance, Minister for Trade and Industry, and Second Minister for Defence under Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong before assuming the office of Prime Minister in 2004.

After 20 years of weekly Cabinet meetings that soldiered on even during the Covid-19 pandemic, Lee has led his last meeting last Thursday.

Commemorating the moment in a Facebook post on May 9, PM Lee thanked his colleagues for their steadfast support during the meetings, which had continued through the pandemic via teleconferencing.

PM Lee said: “It has been my privilege to lead my Cabinet team for the past 20 years.

“In Cabinet, the prime minister is primus inter pares – not the boss with his subordinates, but the first among equals, all deliberating together to find the best solutions for Singapore.”

In April, the Prime Minister’s Office announced tha Wong will take over the mantle from PM Lee as Singapore’s prime minister on Wednesday (May 15).

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