Singapore PM-Designate Wong Keeps Old Guard in Reshuffle

(Bloomberg) -- Singapore’s incoming Prime Minister Lawrence Wong picked Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong as his deputy, keeping the cabinet of outgoing premier Lee Hsien Loong largely intact.

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Gan will continue helming the trade ministry, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday. Wong, who will be sworn in as Singapore’s fourth prime minister on Wednesday, had telegraphed the reshuffle last month. He had said there may be “marginal adjustments” with bigger changes expected after the general election.

Wong, 51, will retain his key finance minister role, a post he has held since 2021. Outgoing premier Lee also double-hatted as finance minister when he began leading the city-state in 2004 and relinquished the post in 2007.

“Continuity and stability are key considerations, especially as we are approaching the end of this term of government,” Wong said at a press conference Monday.

Heng Swee Keat, who was Lee’s heir apparent before giving up the role in a shock 2021 announcement, will retain his position as deputy prime minister.

The tweaks mean Wong is keeping his predecessor’s cabinet mostly unchanged as the ruling People’s Action Party heads into a general election, expected within months. The poll must be held by November 2025.

Gan, 65, was a former career civil servant before entering politics in 2001. He has held several ministerial portfolios including health, manpower and education. Gan and Wong have worked closely in various capacities, having both co-chaired a task force that led the country’s response to the Covid pandemic.

The trade minister is also set to take over from Wong as the chairman of Singapore’s central bank. Both are currently on the board of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which decides on monetary policy and helps to oversee part of the country’s vast, undisclosed financial reserves.

--With assistance from Aradhana Aravindan and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen.

(Adds Wong’s comment in fourth paragraph.)

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