Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew died at 91, World leaders pay Tributes

Lee Kuan Yew- dies at 91-

Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew dead at 91

Lee Kuan Yew, who founded modern Singapore and was both feared for his authoritarian tactics and admired for turning the city-state into one of the world’s richest nations, died Monday. He was 91.

Lee was admitted to Singapore General Hospital on Feb. 5 for pneumonia and was later put on life support. The prime minister’s office said he “passed away peacefully.”

Lee guided Singapore through a traumatic split with Malaysia in 1965 and helped transform the sleepy port city into a global trade and finance center. He stepped down in 1990.

President Obama called Lee a “visionary” and “true giant of history.”

IMF, World Bank chiefs send condolences

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was a visionary statesman whose wisdom and leadership will be remembered by people all around the globe.

"It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, Founding Father of Singapore. He was a visionary statesman whose uncompromising stand for meritocracy, efficiency and education transformed Singapore into one of the most prosperous nations in the world,'' said Ms Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director.

"His wisdom and leadership will be remembered by people all around the globe.

"On behalf of the International Monetary Fund, I extend our condolences to his family and the people of Singapore," she said in a statement.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim also extended his "sincere condolences" to the people of Singapore and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death.

"We will be forever grateful to the former Prime Minister for his role as a pioneer of development and the architect of modern Singapore. We were privileged to have had a close working relationship with him over several decades.

"The late Prime Minister is recognized around the world for transforming Singapore in a short time from an undeveloped nation to one of the most successful high-income countries in the world. He showed that a city-state with few natural resources could rapidly evolve into a global trading hub and financial powerhouse through education, integrated planning, and a highly trained civil service. He tackled corruption relentlessly and held public servants to the highest standards. Most importantly, he showed that economic development could provide opportunities and improve the lives of a country’s citizens," the statement from Mr Kim read.

Mr Lee, who was Singapore's first elected prime minister, died on Monday aged 91.

World leaders pay tributes to Lee Kuan Yew

A man reads tributes to Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, at the Singapore General Hospital on Monday. Lee died on Monday aged 91, triggering a flood of tributes to the man who oversaw the tiny city-state's rapid rise from a British colonial backwater to a global trade and financial center.- Reuters

MARCH 23:  World leaders expressed their condolences and paid tribute to Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, who died on Monday aged 91.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

"A far-sighted statesman and a lion among leaders, Mr Lee Kuan Yew's life teaches valuable lessons to everyone. News of his demise is saddening."

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

"Hillary and I mourn the passing of Lee Kuan Yew. Prime Minister Lee transformed Singapore into one of the world's strongest and most sustainable economies. He also firmly established his country as an important friend and partner of the United States.

"After leaving office, he continued to offer brilliant analysis and wise advice to those who sought it. We will always be grateful for our fascinating conversations with him over the years. Our thoughts are with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, his entire family, and all the people of Singapore."

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden

"Lee was a visionary leader who spearheaded Singapore's economic growth and helped it become one of the most prosperous countries in the world today. He understood the importance of economic integration and effective governance to building a thriving, modern economy. He was a pragmatist, and sometimes uncompromising. But his commitment to delivering excellence in public service was exemplary."

Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou

"Lee was a solid friend to the Republic of China and played a key leadership role in promoting the development of bilateral relations.

"Lee was a visionary and world-class leader. Under his leadership, Singapore, in just 50 years, has developed into an important trade hub in Asia with impressive economic strength.

"Lee led an unpretentious life. His self discipline was very strict."

Indonesian President Joko Widodo

"The late former PM is a close friend of Indonesia, known as the founder of modern Singapore. A great leader and statesman who loves his people, he is also known as an influential political figure in Asia.

"Under his leadership, Singapore has transformed itself to be the main economic hub in Asia and brought itself to par with the other developed countries."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak

"I pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew's determination in developing Singapore from a new nation to the modern and dynamic city we see today. His achievements were great, and his legacy is assured."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

"Today, we mourn the passing of a giant of our region. Fifty years ago, Lee Kuan Yew led a vulnerable, fledgling nation to independence. Today, thanks to his vision and determination, Singapore is one of the world's most successful countries.

"In Lee Kuan Yew's own words, Singapore's remarkable journey has been from 'third world to first'.

"Thanks to his leadership, Singapore is now one of the world's most prosperous nations, a financial powerhouse, and one of the world's easiest places to do business.

"Our region owes much to Lee Kuan Yew. Here in Australia and beyond, leaders sought and learned from his wise counsel."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

"As the founding father of Singapore, who helped to create the foundations of the prosperity that Singapore enjoys today, he was one of Asia's great leaders.

"I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his family and also my deepest sympathies to the citizens of Singapore."

Philippine President Aquino extends solidarity with Singapore, pays tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has extended the Filipino people's "solidarity with Singapore at this time of mourning", as he honoured Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has extended the Filipino people's "solidarity with Singapore at this time of mourning", as he honoured Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

"An era has passed, one upon which Singaporeans can look back on with deep pride and a sense of accomplishment," said Mr Aquino.

"Throughout his long life, as prime minister and senior minister, Mr Lee demonstrated an unswerving devotion to his country, turning it into a statement that would be an exemplar of efficient, modern and honest governance," he said.

He added: "The development of Singapore has earned it the respect of nations and peoples, including the tens of thousands of Filipinos who work there and visit the country."

Mr Aquino also extended his personal condolences to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Philippine military consultant and defence analyst Jose Antonio Custodio said: "With Lee Kuan Yew's passing, Filipinos have one less statesman who frankly pointed out what exactly ails the Philippines."

A Philippine Foreign Ministry statement said: "The Philippines joins the Singaporean people in mourning the passing of their first Prime Minister and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Lee was a visionary statesman who built Singapore into an economic powerhouse and modern society that has been a positive force not only in the region but also in the world. His fortitude, political will and wisdom will continue to be an inspiration in the years to come."

In Manila, Singapore Philippine Association head Peter Tay said Mr Lee’s “transformative role and leadership in making Singapore the innovation capital that we all know today is immeasurable”.

“Mr Lee’s presence will be clearly missed,” added Mr Tay.

Sources:  NY Daily, Straitstimes, Hindu Business line,

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