The founding prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, has passed away. He was pronounced dead at 3.18 am on Monday, at the Singapore General Hospital. Lee Kuan Yew was 91.
The founding PM was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital on 5 February for severe pneumonia. His conditioned worsened after developing an infection.
He leaves behind his sons, Singapore’s current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Hsien Yang, his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling, daughters-in-law Ho Ching and Lee Suet-Fern, seven grandchildren and two siblings. His wife, Kwa Geok Choo, passed away in 2010.
Born on 16 September, 1923, Lee was the first prime minister of Singapore. A position he held for three decades. He is also known as the founding father of Singapore, and is the co-founder and first Secretary-General of the People’s Action Party (PAP). He is widely regarded as the man most instrumental in shaping Singapore. He oversaw the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, and the country’s transformation from an underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a country with a successful sea trade, air transport, financial hub and a high-tech industrial centre.
Lee stepped down from his position as prime minister in 1990 in favour of his deputy Goh Chok Tong, and took on the role of senior minister, serving as guide and mentor in the Cabinet. In 2004, Goh Chok Tong handed the reins over to Lee’s eldest son, Lee Hsien Loong. During this time, Lee became Minister Mentor, which was a step back from being a prime mover in the country.
Lee was often praised for being both a visionary and a radical thinker, as he was instrumental in some major policies that shaped Singapore into the success it is today.