Lawrence Wong to be sworn in as PM: How has the ceremony changed since 1959?

Following the landslide win of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in 1959, the first Cabinet of the self-governing state of Singapore was appointed behind closed doors at City Hall.

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his Cabinet of eight were sworn in from 4pm on June 5 that year.

They were dressed in the party’s all-white attire, instead of lounge suits that ministers typically wore, to symbolise the PAP’s reputation as an honest entity free of corruption.

It was in this chamber that the Japanese formally surrendered on Sept 12, 1945, ending three years of occupation.

The ceremony was witnessed by the last governor of Singapore William Goode, who was also the first Yang di-Pertuan Negara (Malay for “head of state”), a post created when Singapore attained self-governing status.

City Hall was made the young Government’s headquarters, in a move to dissociate the new Government from the old one under the British, which was symbolised by Empress Place, said Mr Lee.

PAP assembly men, Speaker of Singapore’s first Legislative Assembly George Oehlers and consular representatives attended the ceremony in the Council Chamber.

Also present was influential trade unionist Lim Chin Siong, who was among eight left-wing PAP members that Mr Lee had formally requested to be freed from detention before accepting the British government’s offer to form a new government.

They were released a day before the ceremony, after being held for nearly three years for being active participants in protests by thousands of Chinese middle school students.

To celebrate the PAP’s victory, several cakes at the tea party were adorned with the PAP logo.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.