‘I see myself as a servant leader’ — DPM Lawrence Wong


DPM Lawrence Wong will work for the long-term interests of Singapore and Singaporeans when he becomes Prime Minister.

“I’m here not just to lead but also to serve, and I see myself very much as a servant leader, doing my best to serve Singapore and Singaporeans,” he said at the Forbes Global CEO Conference gala dinner this Monday (Sep 26) evening.

We at Petir.sg note that this answers an important question:

What sort of leader Singapore will have next is as important as when this leader takes over.

“If there’s one thing I believe in, it is that every leader has a different style,” said DPM Wong. “Whatever that approach is, it has to be suited to the circumstances and needs of society, or the organisation of that time.”

Here, DPM referenced the Mandarin proverb “富不过三代”. It means that wealth will not last beyond three generations.

He, of course, is thinking long-term.

“I’m sure everyone here wants to ensure your wealth goes beyond three generations,” said DPM Wong.

“So too, we in Singapore want Singapore to succeed beyond three generations. We want to build a Singapore that lasts and endures, and thrives, for generations to come.”

“And that’s what I hope to do,” he emphasised.

He further gave a glimpse of his pragmatic style in response to a question from the audience about the legacy he would like to leave behind.

“You don’t go into a job thinking right away what your legacy will be.”

At this particular political moment, Petir observes, Wong’s duties include thinking about organising the Strategy Group within the Prime Minister’s Office as well as conducting Forward Singapore, an all-of-nation exercise for all of us to come together, examine our values and aspirations, build consensus, and so refresh our social compact for Singapore’s shared future.

This refocused top-level leadership, bolstered by deep knowledge from Singapore’s diverse communities, will together serve to secure Singapore’s future.

His current focus

Currently, DPM Wong is also focused on three pressing issues facing Singapore — the rising cost of living, an impeding economic slowdown and successfully navigating through the abating pandemic.

He will also, when the time comes, lead a nation facing a difficult global environment.

“The golden age of globalisation that we all enjoyed in the past 30 years is probably over, and we are entering a new order, which will be characterised by greater geopolitical contestation and potentially more fragmentation in the global economy,” he previously said during his first official visit to Malaysia as Deputy Prime Minister in early September, and reiterated at Monday’s Forbes Global CEO Conference.

Regardless, Singapore “can continue to be a bastion for stability, opportunities and innovation”, and speak up during international tensions — not to take sides, but simply to secure “what is good and right for Singapore”.

So, the when of succession?

“The Prime Minister has said that he would like it to be sooner and he never fails to remind me that this is something that’s on his mind. But I have also said that we will do it at a time when we are ready,” said Wong.

“We will let Singaporeans know in due course.”

For now, DPM Wong will, in his current capacity, continue to serve.

Cover photo credit: Forbes