‘I’ll be taking on what would possibly be the biggest responsibility of my life’ & other quotable Lawrence Wong quotes


At his first press conference as PAP 4G leader on Apr 16, 2022, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong touched on several things such as his philosophy, his responsibilities as a leader, and how the 4G team aims to strengthen our social compact.

Here are some of the highlights.

Biggest responsibility of his life

“Now I will be taking on what would possibly be the biggest responsibility of my life.

I am under no illusions about the demands of the job. It will get more challenging with greater political contestation and a growing desire for diversity in Parliament.”

The philosophy

“My philosophy in life, instilled by my parents from young – is that whatever task I am assigned, I will give
of my best. If my best falls short – as it surely will from time to time – I try to learn, and I strive to improve, and do better.”

The work finds him

“So I have never gone out looking for additional work, but somehow the work finds me. Over the last 25 years in public service, my duties and responsibilities have kept on growing. It is like what happened more than two years ago when I was in MND, and DPM called me out of the blue. He asked, have you heard about the virus in Wuhan, and before I knew it, I was co-chairing the MTF Taskforce with Gan Kim Yong.”

No assumptions

“And as PM said in Parliament recently, we do not assume that the PAP will win the next general election. Every GE from now on will be about which party will form the Government – not just how many seats the opposition wins, or what percentage of the votes the ruling party gets.”

It’s a team effort

“As I have repeatedly emphasised, leadership and political leadership is never about one person.

It has always been about the entire team. Even a giant like Mr Lee Kuan Yew had a team. The same was true for Mr Goh Chok Tong and now PM Lee – he has SM Teo, SM Tharman and many others.”

A stronger team

“As a team that has worked together to fight Covid these past two years, we have gelled and grown closer, together as a team. I believe we have strengthened our bonds with Singaporeans too, through this crisis of a generation, and the bonds among Singaporeans have also been strengthened by the crisis.”

Strengthening political trust

“In some societies, the crisis depleted social capital and weakened political trust. In Singapore, I think we have dealt with the crisis in such a way as to add to our social capital and strengthen political trust, and I am very grateful for that.”

His job as leader

“As leader of the team, I will do my best to ensure that the contribution from the entire team will be greater than the sum of the individual parts.

That is how the team must work – that we synergise, and the overall contribution is greater than just the adding up of each individual contribution. And as I said just now about my own philosophy, where we fall short, we will strive to learn and improve and keep on doing better.

This is what Singaporeans can expect from me and my team – that collectively we will always do our best for our people and our nation.”

On when he will take over from PM (and being chased)

“I will certainly let the Prime Minister know when I am ready, and I am also very sure that before too long, he will be reminding me and chasing me for a response. I will do so in due course.”

The next chapter for Singapore

“In the Budget, I said that the measures we are taking this year Budget are a first step in the multi-year plan to renew and strengthen our social compact for this new future.

So I have been discussing with other 4G Ministers – even before this process – because in preparing for the Budget we have already been discussing these issues and we have some ideas on what additional steps we might want to take.”

Winning the trust and support of Singaporeans

“We will, as a team, continue to work hard to win the trust and support of every Singaporean – to create bonds and connect with them and to develop new ideas that will resonate with Singaporeans and especially with a new generation of Singaporeans. I fully recognise the growing diversity of experiences and perspectives amongst Singaporeans.

I would like every Singaporean to know and feel that they will always have a stake in our society, even as we chart our new way forward together.

As the leader of the team, that will be the approach, the attitude, and the spirit I adopt.”

When is the next GE?

“We all know by when the next GE must be held. PM just talked about this just now. In due course, we will discuss, we will work out our strategy to fight the GE, and we will work hard to fight for the privilege to serve the people of Singapore in Government. But for now, I will need time to consolidate, to discuss with the team to see what next steps we might take. How we would like to organise ourselves to tackle all the pressing challenges that I mentioned just now.”

Cover photo credit: MCI