PM Lawrence Wong to visit various constituencies over coming months , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

PM Lawrence Wong to visit various constituencies over coming months

A month after being sworn in to the top post, Prime Minister Lawrence Wong says he plans to visit different constituencies across the island over the coming months to meet as many Singaporeans as he can.

Kicking off this series of visits with an appearance at a community event in Tampines on June 15, PM Wong said his decision is not tied to a political calendar, when asked if he intends to complete his rounds before the next general election. This is due to be held by November 2025.

“All of you know that I’ve just started my introductory visits to countries abroad. I think it’s equally, if not more, important for me to also visit our own districts in Singapore,” he told the media on the sidelines of the Tampines Learning Festival held at Tampines Community Plaza.

“My purpose is really to engage and listen to Singaporeans directly. So through the visits, I hope to meet as many Singaporeans as possible.

“If you have feedback on policies, ideas on making your neighbourhood better, I would like to hear these ideas from you.”

He added: “If you have ground-up initiatives and projects to advance, I too would like to hear from you. And we want to support you, cooperate, collaborate and work together.

“Of course, within the Government, there are already existing platforms for us to engage Singaporeans. But I think it’s important for me, as a new PM, to be present and spend time on the ground, not just in my own constituency but across all of Singapore.”

Asked if he could give a sense of how long he would need to make these constituency visits, PM Wong said he is still working out the schedule.

“I will try to cover as many as I can,” he added.

Last week, PM Wong made a promise that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) would engage more widely with Singaporeans to foster two-way dialogue, and that he would personally do more in his own public communications.

He said he planned to meet the media more regularly to address the issues of the day and the thinking behind certain policies, conduct more visits on the ground to garner feedback in person, and continue to make use of various social media platforms to reach out to more Singaporeans.

These proclamations came at an event to cap a six-month exercise to refresh and strengthen the PAP, which was led by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee – who is also the PAP’s assistant secretary-general – and other fourth-generation PAP leaders.

In earlier interviews and speeches, PM Wong had similarly signalled his desire to take a more consultative approach, telling more than 1,000 cadre members at the PAP’s Awards and Convention in November 2023 that he prefers to begin by listening to a diverse range of perspectives and views, and staying open to different ideas.

Before he was sworn in as prime minister, PM Wong, who was at the helm of the nationwide Forward Singapore engagement exercise, told the media that the Government is also prepared to relook fundamental assumptions as society’s circumstances, needs and expectations change.

At the Tampines event on June 15, PM Wong made a brief speech and visited some booths. He walked around the bus interchange to say hello to residents as well.

He also had a dialogue session at the Tampines East Community Club with grassroots leaders, community volunteers and different organisations in the area.

A range of issues was discussed, some linked to families, parents and children.

Also present at the dialogue were interest groups looking at environmental issues, which were discussed too.

“That will be the kind of engagements I hope to have across the different constituencies. We try as much as possible for it to be organic. I may visit a market, I may visit a hawker centre, I may engage different groups. I may make use of existing events that are already being organised in the constituency,” he said.

“But we will also try to engage and curate dialogue sessions with different stakeholders so that we can have deeper conversations with one another,” he added.

June 15 marked exactly one month since he took office, and PM Wong said the reception he has received so far has been warm.

“I am keen to build on this momentum, to build on this reception,” he said. “Having aspirations is one thing... but I would like to see how we can translate that sense of idealism and aspiration into more concrete collaborations and partnerships.”

Asked how his life has changed since becoming prime minister, PM Wong said he used to be able to walk around without security, as not so many people would recognise him.

“But now, somehow, even when I put on a cap and even with a mask, people can recognise me and there (is) security everywhere,” he said.

“I can summarise it as more work, more stress and less privacy,” he added. “But I will do my best to adapt and adjust to these new realities,” he said.

Long-time Tampines resident Junita Awang, 45, a part-time cashier, said she does not know much about PM Wong apart from what she has seen in the news, and hopes he will do more to make himself known to Singaporeans.

IT professional Selwyn Yeow, 39, said it is good for PM Wong and others to walk around and learn the sentiments on the ground.

Asked what he thought about PM Wong choosing Tampines as his first stop, the resident said the constituency is large, with a good mix of young and old.

On his impressions of PM Wong, Mr Yeow added: “I think he will be a good PM. I saw how he handled Covid-19, and from the things he has done so far, I feel it is quite positive.”

Lawrence WongTampinesFORWARD SINGAPORE