Ong Ye Kung shares photo with PM Lee from 2004, says he ‘learnt a lot’ from him

Ong Ye Kung shares 2004 photo with PM Lee before latter was sworn in as Prime Minister

A day after news broke that Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong would step down as leader of the government, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung shared an old pic of the two of them.

The photo was taken before then-DPM Lee was sworn in as PM in 2004.

Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

Although PM Lee is handing over the reins to Lawrence Wong, he will remain in the Cabinet as a Senior Minister.

Ong Ye Kung posts throwback photo with PM Lee

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (16 April), Mr Ong said he managed to “dig up” the 20-year-old shot from his collection.

ong ye kung pm lee

Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

Mr Ong served as PM Lee’s Principal Private Secretary (PPS) from 2002 to 2004, following his tenure as press secretary.

During this time, Mr Ong gleaned valuable insights by observing how PM Lee handled things and conducted meetings.

Reflecting on his learning journey, Mr Ong admitted to struggling with writing English due to his Chinese language background.

This presented a “problem” in his role as PPS, a matter PM Lee addressed directly by urging Mr Ong to improve in this area.

On numerous occasions, PM Lee dictated to Mr Ong how he would have made an announcement.

He was able to provide the background, rationale, and then the change in “a few succinct sentences”.

Mr Ong said:

That was a major ‘SkillsFuture moment’ for me. It is probably the skill that I most frequently use as a Minister.

Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

Thankful to PM Lee

Mr Ong added that he was “deeply thankful” for what PM Lee has brought to Singapore society, namely inclusivity, which PM Lee has been a big advocate of.

He emphasised that inclusivity would not have been possible without:

  • The foundation of meritocracy
  • An economy that presents many opportunities
  • A strong education system

“During the past 20 years, we saw the strengthening of social safety nets, like ComCare, policies to better support ageing, like Pioneer and Merdeka Generation Packages, and a transformation of the education scene, including the evolution of the secondary school streaming system into Subject-Based Banding,” Mr Ong said.

“Inclusivity . . . brings optimism and hope to many. This is ongoing work, that future generations will need to continue to build upon,” he concluded.

PM Lee to remain as Senior Minister in Cabinet

Speaking on Tuesday (16 April) after the announcement of the change in prime ministers, Mr Wong stated that PM Lee will remain as a Senior Minister.

He added that besides “minor changes”, he would not heavily reshuffle the Cabinet after he takes over on 15 May.

Any major changes to the Cabinet will likely only occur after the General Election (GE), which must happen by November 2025.

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Featured image adapted from Ong Ye Kung on Facebook.

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