FirstFT: Singapore’s finance minister to become head of city-state

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Singapore’s finance minister, Lawrence Wong, has been named heir to the prime minister, as the ruling People’s Action Party seeks to reclaim public support and bolster the city-state’s status as a financial hub international.

Lee Hsien Loong, prime minister since 2004, announced on social media late Thursday that ministers had backed Wong as the leader of the ruling People’s Action Party’s so-called “fourth generation team” with “overwhelming support “. The fourth-generation team is a group of young ministers lined up to take the reins of the ruling party, setting its leader on the right path to becoming the next prime minister.

“This succession decision is crucial for Singapore,” Lee said. “This will ensure the continuity and stability of leadership that are hallmarks of our system.” Wong, 49, would be just the fourth leader of the quasi-authoritarian state in its 56-year history.

The announcement comes as the PAP, which has ruled since independence and transformed Singapore into an international business hub, faces pressure to control immigration and navigate an increasingly divided geopolitical environment.

Do you think Lawrence Wong is the right choice to be Prime Minister of Singapore? Tell me what you think firstft@ft.com. Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia — Emily

The latest news from the war in Ukraine:

  • Latest news: Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea, the Moskva, has sunk, the country’s Defense Ministry has confirmed.

  • Inflation: Central bank policymakers in Singapore and South Korea have become the latest to tighten monetary policy as war in Ukraine stokes global inflation.

  • Punishments: The UK is to freeze around £10bn of assets held by two longtime associates of Roman Abramovich. Catch up with our explainer on why the US only hit some Russian oligarchs with sanctions.

  • Wall Street: U.S. banks this week detailed billions of dollars in potential losses from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while warning they saw no end in sight for the market turmoil.

  • Opinion: Western voters are faced with a choice: peace in Ukraine or keeping air conditioning on as war drives up energy prices, writes Gillian Tett.

1. Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for a $43 billion valuation The Tesla boss made a hostile bid on Twitter with an offer that values ​​the company at $43.4 billion, although he acknowledged his bet to privatize the social media platform could backfire.

2. China is stepping up zero-Covid propaganda China’s official Xinhua news agency today published an article warning that the country’s medical system risks “collapse” in the event of a massive Covid outbreak. This follows comments by President Xi Jinping who yesterday called on citizens to “overcome complacency” in “response to the mutating virus”.

3. Pakistani army rejects Imran Khan’s US conspiracy charge In rare public comments on Thursday, army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar denied Imran Khan’s claims that Pakistan’s national security committee had concluded last month that there was a plot to end the former cricketer star’s premiership.

4. A member of the “Beatles” of Isis sentenced A US jury found an Isis fighter
El Shafee Elsheikh, a former British citizen, guilty of all counts, including taking hostages resulting in death and conspiracy to murder US citizens outside the country. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

5. German spies rejected offer to meet Wirecard’s Marsalek in Moscow Last year, Germany’s foreign intelligence service rejected an offer to meet former Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek in Moscow, fearing the invitation to speak to the fugitive was a trap set up by the agency Russian FSB spy agency, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times.

The coming days

Songkran The Thai New Year, marked in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and other parts of South and Southeast Asia, will be celebrated throughout the weekend. Some markets in the region will be closed today.

Sun Day in North Korea The reclusive state will celebrate the birthday of its first leader Kim Il Sung.

Easter and Passover Markets around the world, from Singapore to the UK and US, will be closed in honor of Good Friday. Passover also begins at sunset on the same day. On Sunday at the Vatican, Pope Francis will lead Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

The Invictus Games The competition for wounded, ill and injured servicemen begins on Saturday in The Hague.

Join us for the FT’s Crypto and Digital Assets Summit on April 26-27. register today be part of a critical conversation with the global finance and business elite, as they chart the way forward to bridge traditional finance with the crypto leaders of tomorrow.

What else we read

The succession crisis threatening the Japanese economy The world’s third-largest economy was built on craftsmanship and family enterprise, but Japan’s rapidly shrinking and aging population means a shortage of heirs now jeopardizes that legacy.

FT interview: the boss of Panasonic The Japanese electronics conglomerate expects the rollout of its next-generation electric vehicle battery to help the company diversify its business from Tesla as it refocuses after a period of aggressive restructuring, Yuki Kusumi said. to Eri Sugiura and Antoni Slodkowski of the FT.

The corner of France which explains the political fracture of the country To understand the forces reshaping French politics, one need only visit the booming city of Bordeaux in southwestern France – and the rural areas and small towns of the “poverty crescent” that surround it.

The torturous journey of Toshiba’s journey to auction A charitable view would be that Toshiba reached the auction process via the scenic route. Another view, given that views along the way have included accounting fraud, a brush with bankruptcy, multiple CEO resignations and a war with investors, is that this company is lost, writes Leo Lewis.

New E-Learning Entrepreneurs The pandemic has sparked a growth in online MBAs and normalized corporate digital training and distance learning. Now individual entrepreneurs are looking for niches where they can make money from students who want to learn pay-as-you-go job skills not covered in traditional classrooms.

Books

The great pandemic revival of page-turning fun highlights the remarkable resilience of the classic reading format. Three new works on books explain why bound-page technology remains so remarkably resilient.

The spectacular interior of Zhongshuge Bookstore in Dujiangyan, China © Zhang Lang/China News Service/Getty Images

To work — Find out what’s changing the world of work with Isabel Berwick, Editor-in-Chief of Jobs and Careers. register here

troubled times — Your essential FT newsletter on the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. register here

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