Lawrence Wong

Lawrence Wong
黄循财
Lawrence Wong.jpg
Wong at the Singapore International Energy Week in 2010
Minister for Finance
Assumed office
15 May 2021
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Second MinisterIndranee Rajah
Preceded byHeng Swee Keat
ConstituencyMarsiling–Yew Tee GRC
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
ConstituencyMarsiling–Yew Tee GRC
Minister for National Development
In office
1 October 2015 – 26 July 2020
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byKhaw Boon Wan
Succeeded byDesmond Lee
ConstituencyMarsiling–Yew Tee GRC
Second Minister for Finance[1]
In office
22 August 2016 – 14 May 2021
Serving with Indranee Rajah[2]
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
MinisterHeng Swee Keat
Preceded byOffice established
ConstituencyMarsiling–Yew Tee GRC
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC
(Limbang)
Assumed office
11 September 2015
Majority29,081 (26.36%)
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
In office
1 May 2014[3] – 30 September 2015
Acting: 1 November 2012 – 30 April 2014
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byChan Chun Sing
Succeeded byGrace Fu Hai Yien
ConstituencyWest Coast GRC
Second Minister for Communications and Information
In office
1 May 2014 – 30 September 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
MinisterYaacob Ibrahim
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
ConstituencyWest Coast GRC
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for West Coast GRC
(Boon Lay)
In office
7 May 2011 – 24 August 2015
Personal details
Born1972 (age 49–50)[4]
Singapore
Political partyPeople's Action Party
EducationVictoria Junior College
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison (BS)
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (MA)
Harvard University (MPA)[5]
Signature

Lawrence Wong Shyun Tsai (Chinese: 黄循财; pinyin: Huáng Xúncái; born 1972)[4] is a Singaporean politician who has been serving as Minister for Finance since 2021. A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he is the Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Limbang ward of Marsiling–Yew Tee Group GRC since 2015.

Prior 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 as part of a five-member PAP team in West Coast GRC and his team won with about 67% of the vote. Starting from the 2015 general election, he had been contesting in the newly formed Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC and had retained his seat as a Member of Parliament in the 2015 and 2020 general elections.

Wong is also a co-chair of a multi-ministerial committee set up by the government in January 2020 to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore.[6] He was previously Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (2012–2015), Minister for National Development (2015–2020) and Minister for Education (2020–2021).[7] A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he has been a Member of Parliament representing the Limbang ward of Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC since 2015. Within the PAP, he is a member of the party's Central Executive Committee and the chairman of the PAP's charity wing.[8]

Education

A Chinese Singaporean of Hainanese descent,[9] Wong was educated at Haig Boys' Primary School, Tanjong Katong Secondary School and Victoria Junior College.[10][11] After graduating from junior college, he obtained a Public Service Commission scholarship to study at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he completed a Bachelor of Science in economics in 1993.[12][13] He subsequently completed a Master of Arts in economics at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, and a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[14]

Career

Public career

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 was 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 Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In 2008, Wong became the Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Market Authority.[15]

Political career

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 became a Member of Parliament representing the Boon Lay ward of West Coast GRC.

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

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 full Minister with the portfolios Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Communications and Information.[22] He is also a member of the PAP's Central Executive Committee.[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 – the birthplace of modern Singapore which contained many institutions that have witnessed important turning points in Singapore's history.[26][27] 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.[28]

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.[29][30][31]

In the 2015 general election, Wong was part of a four-member PAP team contesting in the newly formed Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC. [32] The PAP team won with 68.7% of the vote against the Singapore Democratic Party and Wong became a 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.[33] Wong had also announced several key initiatives to get more Singaporeans involved in sports.[34] 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.[35]

Wong also chaired the Singapore High Performance Sports Steering Committee, which provides strategic guidance on identifying and nurturing high performing sporting talents.[36] Wong said that the accomplishments of Singapore athletes at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games indicate that Singapore's investment in sports is paying off.[37]

On 1 October 2015, Wong's portfolio changed to Minister for National Development.[5] He also chaired the steering committee for the development of Jurong Lake Gardens.[38]

On 22 August 2016, Wong was appointed Second Minister for Finance,[39] in addition to being Minister for National Development. On 29 August 2016, he stepped down from the board of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and was replaced by Ong Ye Kung.[16]

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.[40]

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.[41]

On 27 July 2020, following a Cabinet reshuffle, Wong succeeded Ong Ye Kung as Minister for Education.[42] On 8 November that year, Wong was elected into the PAP's Central Executive Committee for the first time after taking up various roles during the COVID-19 pandemic.[43]

On 15 May 2021, following another Cabinet reshuffle, Wong relinquished his portfolio as Minister for Education and became Minister for Finance.[44] On 28 May 2021, he was reappointed to the board of the Monetary Authority of Singapore as Deputy Chair, replacing Lim Hng Kiang.[45][46]

Personal life

Wong's father was a sales executive and his mother was a teacher at his primary school. His elder brother is an aerospace engineer. Wong married at 28 but divorced his first wife after three years due to "incompatibility",[47][48][49] and he has since remarried.[50][51][52]

References

  1. ^ "Live updates: National Day Rally 2016". Channel NewsAsia. 22 August 2016. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  2. ^ Yuen Sin (24 April 2018). "Cabinet reshuffle: Indranee Rajah promoted, new Cabinet now has 3 women ministers". The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. Archived from the original on 3 December 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Tan and Wong promoted to full Minister". Channel NewsAsia. 29 April 2014. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b "MP | Parliament of Singapore".
  5. ^ a b "Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announces Singapore's new Cabinet". Channel NewsAsia. 28 September 2015. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  6. ^ "7 ministries get new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle". CNA. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  7. ^ Au-Yong, Rachel (2015-09-29). "Lawrence Wong to lead National Development". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  8. ^ "Member's CV: Lawrence Wong". Parliament of Singapore. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "VJC News". Archived from the original on 26 March 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  11. ^ ""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.
  12. ^ ""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 2021-01-19.
  13. ^ "Traditional degree route not a must before going out to work: Lawrence Wong". The Straits Times. 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2021-01-19.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "Lawrence Wong". Prime Minister's Office Singapore. Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Appointment to MAS Board of Directors". Monetary Authority of Singapore. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Changes to MAS board of directors: Lawrence Wong steps down, Ong Ye Kung appointed". Archived from the original on 7 November 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Singapore optimistic about World Heritage bid for Botanic Gardens: Lawrence Wong". Channel News Asia. Channel News Asia. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  18. ^ "UNESCO delegates laud S'pore's nomination of Botanic Gardens as World Heritage Site". TODAY. TODAY. Archived from the original on 7 July 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
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  20. ^ "Budget 2013: Free museum entry from May for all Singaporeans, PRs". Straits Times Online. Singapore Press Holdings. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  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". Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Central Executive Committee (CEC)". People's Association Party. People's Association 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.
  26. ^ "Singapore Budget 2015: $740 million invested on Civic District revamp". Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  27. ^ "A S$740 million plan to restore and revive heritage-rich Civic District". Channel News Asia. MediaCorp Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  28. ^ Yong, Charissa (2016-08-15). "Consultant's study on bin centre part of extensive feasibility study". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  29. ^ "S$200-million fund to match donations to arts & heritage sector launched". TODAY. MediaCorp Press Ltd. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  30. ^ "$200m Arts Fund To Help Drive Sustainability". ST Jobs. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  31. ^ ""Community node" at Jurong library aims to bring arts to youth in heartland". Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  32. ^ "Lawrence Wong and Halimah Yacob to co-anchor Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC". Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. Archived from the original on 16 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  33. ^ "Steering Committee". SEA Games 2015. SingTel. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  34. ^ "MCCY to get more S'poreans to play sports". TODAY. MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  35. ^ "ActiveSG: $100 credits for S'poreans, PRs to get sporty & healthy, says Lawrence Wong". Asia One. Singapore Press Holdings Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  36. ^ "Singapore High Performance Sports Steering Committee". Sport Singapore. Singapore Sports Council. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  37. ^ "SEA Games success shows investment in sports is paying off: Lawrence Wong". Channel News Asia. MediaCorp Pte Ltd. Archived from the original on 10 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  38. ^ Yeo, Sam Jo (2015-10-25). "Jurong Lake Gardens to have community gardening and cycling tracks". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  39. ^ Singapore, Prime Minister‘s Office (2016-08-24). "Changes to Cabinet and other appointments". Prime Minister‘s Office Singapore. Archived from the original on 2016-08-24. Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  40. ^ "Parliament: Teary-eyed Lawrence Wong pays tribute to front-line workers and other unsung heroes in coronavirus fight". The Straits Times. 2020-03-25. Archived from the original on 2020-03-27. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  41. ^ hermesauto (2020-07-18). "GE2020 results a 'clear mandate' although 61.2 per cent vote share lower than 65 per cent PAP hoped for: Lawrence Wong". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2021-06-04.
  42. ^ "PM Lee announces new Cabinet; 6 office holders promoted, 3 retirements". Channel News Asia. Archived from the original on 2020-07-25. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ "Changes to Cabinet and Other Appointments (April 2021)". Prime Minister’s Office. 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  45. ^ "Changes to MAS Board of Directors". MAS. 28 May 2021. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  46. ^ Subhani, Ovais (28 May 2021). "MAS appoints finance minister Lawrence Wong as deputy chair of its board". The Straits Times. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  47. ^ "You tick my box: How Singapore politicians found love". AsiaOne. June 25, 2020.
  48. ^ Long, Susan (2013-02-15). "Campaign country no more?". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2020-09-20. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  49. ^ "Lawrence Wong on politics, policies, and living alone". The New Paper. 2015-09-01. Archived from the original on 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
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  52. ^ Toh, Wen Li (May 13, 2020). "Coronavirus: Reopening of the economy will be gradual and phased" – via The Straits Times.

External links

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Singaporean Member of Parliament Lawrence Wong speaking at the Singapore International Energy Week conference.