Lee Kuan Yew: Wikis

  
  
  
  

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is 李 (Li).
Harry Lee Kuan Yew
李光耀


Incumbent
Assumed office 
12 August 2004
President S.R. Nathan (1999-Present)
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (2004-Present)
Preceded by Post created
Constituency Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (Tanjong Pagar)

In office
5 June 1959 – 28 November 1990
President Yusof bin Ishak (1965-1970)
Benjamin Henry Sheares (1970-1981)
C.V. Devan Nair (1981-1985)
Wee Kim Wee (1985-1993)
Deputy Toh Chin Chye (1959 to 1968)
Goh Keng Swee (1968 to 1984)
S. Rajaratnam (1980 to 1985)
Goh Chok Tong (1985 to 1990)
Ong Teng Cheong (1985 to 1990)
Preceded by None (post created)
Succeeded by Goh Chok Tong

In office
28 November 1990 – 12 August 2004
President Wee Kim Wee (1985-1993)
Ong Teng Cheong (1993-1999)
S.R. Nathan (1999-Present)
Preceded by S. Rajaratnam
Succeeded by Goh Chok Tong

Born 16 September 1923 (1923-09-16) (age 86)
Singapore
Political party People's Action Party
Spouse(s) Kwa Geok Choo
Religion Unspecified

Lee Kuan Yew, Honorary GCMG, Honorary CH (Christian name: Harry, Chinese: 耀pinyin: Lǐ Guāngyào; POJ: Lí Kng-iāu; born 16 September 1923; also Lee Kwan-Yew) was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, from 1959 to 1990. He is an overseas Chinese belonging to the Hakka ethnic group.

As co-founder and first secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP), he led the party to a landslide victory in 1959, oversaw the separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 and its subsequent transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a "First World", Asian Tiger. He has remained one of the most influential political figures in South-East Asia.

Under the administration of Singapore's second prime minister, Goh Chok Tong, he served as Senior Minister. He currently holds the post of Minister Mentor, a post created when his son, Lee Hsien Loong, became the nation's third prime minister on 12 August 2004.[1][2]

Contents

Family background

In his memoirs, Lee refers to his immigrant background as a fourth-generation Chinese Singaporean: his Hakka great-grandfather, Lee Bok Boon (born 1846), emigrated from the Dapu county of Guangdong province to the Straits Settlements in 1862.

The eldest child of Lee Chin Koon and Chua Jim Neo, Lee Kuan Yew was born at 92 Kampong Java Road in Singapore, in a large and airy bungalow. As a child he was strongly influenced by British culture, due in part to his grandfather, Lee Hoon Leong, who had given his sons an English education. His grandfather gave him the name "Harry" in addition to his Chinese name (given by his father) Kuan Yew. He was mostly known as "Harry Lee" for his first 30 or so years, and still is to his friends in the West and to many close friends and family.[3] He started using his Chinese name after entering politics. His name is sometimes cited as Harry Lee Kuan Yew, although this first name is seldom used in official settings.

Lee and his wife Kwa Geok Choo were married on 30 September 1950. They have two sons and one daughter.[4] Kwa Geok Choo's roots can be traced from Min Nan Tong'an.[5][6]

Note: Family tree mostly based on Memoirs of LEE KUAN YEW; Pinyin of Lee is Li

Lee Bok Boon
b.1846
 
Seow Huan Neo
b.1850.est
 
 
 
 
Lee Hoon Leong
b.1871
 
Ko Liem Nio
b.1883
 
 
 
 
Lee Chin Koon
b.1903
 
Chua Jim Neo
b.1907
 
 
 
 
Lee Kuan Yew
b.1923
 
 
 
 
 
Kwa Geok Choo
b.1921
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wong Ming Yang
b.1951
 
Lee Hsien Loong
b.1952
 
Ho Ching
b.1953
Lee Wei Ling
b.1955
Lee Hsien Yang
b.1957
 
Lim Suet Fern
b.1957
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lee Xiu Qi
b.1980
 
 
Li Hongyi
b.1987
 
 
Li Shengwu
b.1985
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lee Yi Peng
b.1982
 
 
Li Haoyi
b.1989
 
 
Li Huanwu
b.1986
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Li Shaowu
b.1995
 
 
 
His elder son Lee Hsien Loong has been Prime Minister of Singapore since 2004.

Several members of Lee's family hold prominent positions in Singaporean society, and his sons and daughter hold high government or government-linked posts. His elder son Lee Hsien Loong, a former Brigadier-General, has been the Prime Minister since 2004. He is also the Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), of which Lee himself is Chairman. Lee's younger son, Lee Hsien Yang, is also a former Brigadier-General and is a former President and Chief Executive Officer of SingTel, a pan-Asian telecommunications giant and Singapore's largest company by market capitalisation (listed on the Singapore Exchange, SGX). Fifty-six percent of SingTel is owned by Temasek Holdings, a prominent government holding company with controlling stakes in a variety of very large government-linked companies such as Singapore Airlines and DBS Bank. Temasek Holdings in turn was until 2009 run by Executive Director and CEO Ho Ching, the wife of Lee's elder son, the Prime Minister. Lee's daughter, Lee Wei Ling, runs the National Neuroscience Institute. Lee's wife Kwa Geok Choo used to be a partner of the prominent legal firm Lee & Lee. His younger brother, Dennis, was a partner of the same firm. He also has 2 younger brothers, Freddie and Suan Yew and a younger sister, Monica.

Early life

Lee was educated at Telok Kurau Primary School, Raffles Institution (where he was a member of the 01 Raffles Scout Group), and Raffles College. His university education was delayed by World War II and the 1942-1945 Japanese occupation of Singapore. During the occupation, he operated a successful black market business selling tapioca-based glue called Stikfas.[7] Having taken Chinese and Japanese lessons since 1942, he was able to find work transcribing Allied wire reports for the Japanese, as well as being the English-language editor on the Japanese Hodobu (報道部 — an information or propaganda department) from 1943 to 1944.[3][8]

After the war, he briefly attended the London School of Economics before moving to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, where he studied law, graduating with Double Starred First Class Honours. (He was subsequently made an honorary fellow of Fitzwilliam College.) He returned to Singapore in 1949 to practise as a lawyer in Laycock and Ong, the legal practice of John Laycock, a pioneer of multiracialism who, together with A.P. Rajah and C.C. Tan, had founded Singapore's first multiracial club open to Asians.

Early political career – 1951 to 1959

Pre-People's Action Party (PAP)

Lee's first experience with politics in Singapore was his role as election agent for his boss John Laycock under the banner of the pro-British Progressive Party in the 1951 legislative council elections. However, Lee eventually realised the party was unlikely to win mass support, especially from the Chinese-speaking working class. This was especially important when the 1953 Rendel Constitution expanded the electoral rolls to include all local-born as voters, resulting in a significant increase in Chinese voters. His big break came when he was engaged as a legal advisor to the trade and Students' unions which provided Lee with the link to the Chinese-speaking, working-class world (later on in his career, his People's Action Party (PAP) would use these historical links to unions as a negotiating tool in industrial disputes).

Formation of the PAP

On 12 November 1954, Lee, together with a group of fellow English-educated middle-class men whom he himself described as "beer-swilling bourgeois", formed the "socialist" PAP in an expedient alliance with the pro-communist trade unionists. This alliance was described by Lee as a marriage of convenience, since the English-educated group needed the pro-communists' mass support base while the communists needed a non-communist party leadership as a smoke screen because the Malayan Communist Party was illegal. Their common aims were to agitate for self-government and put an end to British colonial rule. An inaugural conference was held at the Victoria Memorial Hall, attended by over 1,500 supporters and trade unionists. Lee became secretary-general, a post he held until 1992, save for a brief period in 1957.

In opposition

Lee comprehensively won the Tanjong Pagar seat in the 1955 elections. He became the opposition leader against David Saul Marshall's Labour Front-led coalition government. He was also one of PAP's representatives to the two constitutional discussions held in London over the future status of Singapore, the first led by Marshall and the second by Lim Yew Hock, Marshall's hardline successor. It was during this period that Lee had to contend with rivals from both within and outside the PAP.

Lee's position in the PAP was seriously under threat in 1957 when pro-communists took over the leadership posts, following a party conference which the party's left wing had stacked with fake members.[9] Fortunately for Lee and the party's moderate faction, Lim Yew Hock ordered a mass arrest of the pro-communists and Lee was reinstated as secretary-general. After the communist 'scare', Lee subsequently received a new, stronger mandate from his Tanjong Pagar constituents in a by-election in 1957. The communist threat within the party was temporarily removed as Lee prepared for the next round of elections.

Prime Minister, pre-independence – 1959 to 1965

Self-government administration – 1959 to 1963

In the national elections held on 1 June 1959, the PAP won 43 of the 51 seats in the legislative assembly. Singapore gained self-government with autonomy in all state matters except defence and foreign affairs, and Lee became the first Prime Minister of Singapore on 5 June 1959, taking over from Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock.[10] Before he took office, Lee demanded and secured the release of Lim Chin Siong and Devan Nair, who had been arrested earlier by Lim Yew Hock's government.

Lee faced many problems after gaining self-rule for Singapore from the British, including education, housing, and unemployment.

A key event was the motion of confidence of the government in which 13 PAP assemblymen crossed party lines and abstained from voting on 21 July 1961. Together with six prominent left-leaning leaders from trade unions, the breakaway members established the new party, the pro-communist Barisan Sosialis. At the time of inception, it had popular support rivalling or even superseding that of the PAP. 35 of the 51 branches of PAP and 19 of its 23 organising secretaries went to the Barisan Sosialis. This event was known as 'The Big Split of 1961. The PAP's majority was now 26-25 in the legislative assembly.

In 1961, the PAP faced two by-election defeats, the defections and labour movements by leftists. Lee's government was near collapse until the 1962 referendum on the issue of merger, which was a test of public confidence in the government.

Merger with Malaya, then separation – 1963 to 1965

After Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman proposed the formation of a federation which would include Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak in 1961, Lee began to campaign for a merger with Malaysia to end British colonial rule. He used the results of a referendum held on 1 September 1962, in which 70% of the votes were cast in support of his proposal, to demonstrate that the people supported his plan.

On 16 September 1963, Singapore became part of the Federation of Malaysia. However, the union was short-lived. The Malaysian Central Government, ruled by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), became worried by the inclusion of Singapore's Chinese majority and the political challenge of the PAP in Malaysia. Lee openly opposed the bumiputra policy and used the Malaysian Solidarity Convention's famous cry of "Malaysian Malaysia!", a nation serving the Malaysian nationality, as opposed to the Malay race.

The 1964 race riots in Singapore followed, such as that on Muhammad's birthday (21 July 1964), near Kallang Gasworks, in which 23 people were killed and hundreds injured as Chinese and Malays attacked each other. It is still disputed how the riots started, and theories include a bottle being thrown into a Muslim rally by a Chinese, while others have argued that it was started by a Malay. More riots broke out in September 1964, as rioters looted cars and shops, forcing both Tunku Abdul Rahman and Lee Kuan Yew to make public appearances in order to calm the situation.

Unable to resolve the crisis, the Tunku decided to expel Singapore from Malaysia, choosing to "sever all ties with a State Government that showed no measure of loyalty to its Central Government". Lee was adamant and tried to work out a compromise, but without success. He was later convinced by Goh Keng Swee that the secession was inevitable. Lee Kuan Yew signed a separation agreement on 7 August 1965, which discussed Singapore's post-separation relations with Malaysia in order to continue co-operation in areas such as trade and mutual defence.

The failure of the merger was a heavy blow to Lee, who believed that it was crucial for Singapore’s survival. In a televised press conference, he broke down emotionally as he announced the separation (this particular conference is used as evidence by supporters of Lee that he had not intentionally instigated the breakup of Malaysia):

"For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I believed in merger and unity of the two territories. ... Now, I, Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, do hereby proclaim and declare on behalf on the people and the Government of Singapore that as from today, the ninth day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and sixty-five, Singapore shall be forever a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of the people in a most and just equal society."

On that day, 9 August 1965, the Malaysian Parliament passed the required resolution that would sever Singapore's ties to Malaysia as a state, and thus the Republic of Singapore was created. Singapore's lack of natural resources, a water supply that was beholden primarily to Malaysia and a very limited defensive capability were the major challenges that Lee and the Singaporean Government faced.[11]

Prime Minister, post-independence – 1965 to 1990

In his biography, Lee Kuan Yew stated that he did not sleep well, and fell sick days after Singapore's independence. Upon learning of Lee's condition from the British High Commissioner to Singapore, John Robb, Prime Minister Harold Wilson expressed concern, in response to which Lee replied:

"Do not worry about Singapore. My colleagues and I are sane, rational people even in our moments of anguish. We will weigh all possible consequences before we make any move on the political chessboard..."

Lee began to seek international recognition of Singapore's independence. Singapore joined the United Nations (UN) on 21 September 1965, and founded the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 8 August 1967 with four other South-East Asian countries. Lee made his first official visit to Indonesia on 25 May 1973, just a few years after the Konfrontasi under Sukarno's regime. Relations between Singapore and Indonesia substantially improved as subsequent visits were made between Singapore and Indonesia.

Singapore has never had a dominant culture to which immigrants could assimilate even though Malay was the dominant language at that time. Together with efforts from the government and ruling party, Lee tried to create a unique Singaporean identity in the 1970s and 1980s—one which heavily recognised racial consciousness within the umbrella of multi-culturalism.

Lee and his government stressed the importance of maintaining religious tolerance and racial harmony, and they were ready to use the law to counter any threat that might incite ethnic and religious violence. For example, Lee warned against "insensitive evangelisation", by which he referred to instances of Christian proselytising directed at Malays. In 1974 the government advised the Bible Society of Singapore to stop publishing religious materials in Malay.[12]

Decisions and policies

Lee had three main concerns — national security, the economy, and social issues — during his post-independence administration.

National security

The vulnerability of Singapore was deeply felt, with threats from multiple sources including the communists, Indonesia (with its Confrontation stance), and UMNO extremists who wanted to force Singapore back into Malaysia. As Singapore gained admission to the United Nations, Lee quickly sought international recognition of Singapore's independence. He declared a policy of neutrality and non-alignment, following Switzerland's model. At the same time, he asked Goh Keng Swee to build up the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and requested help from other countries for advice, training and facilities.

Government policies

Like many countries, Singapore was not immune to corruption. Lee was well aware how corruption had led to the downfall of the Nationalist Chinese government in mainland China. Fighting against the communists himself, he knew he had to 'clean house'. Lee introduced legislation giving the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) greater power to conduct arrests, search, call up witnesses, and investigate bank accounts and income-tax returns of suspected persons and their families.

Lee believed that ministers should be well paid in order to maintain a clean and honest government. In 1994 he proposed to link the salaries of ministers, judges, and top civil servants to the salaries of top professionals in the private sector, arguing that this would help recruit and retain talent to serve in the public sector.[13]

In the late 1960s, fearing that Singapore's growing population might overburden the developing economy, Lee started a vigorous 'Stop-at-Two' family planning campaign. Couples were urged to undergo sterilisation after their second child. Third or fourth children were given lower priorities in education and such families received fewer economic rebates.[13]

In 1983, Lee sparked the 'Great Marriage Debate' when he encouraged Singapore men to choose highly-educated women as wives. He was concerned that a large number of graduate women were unmarried. Some sections of the population, including graduate women, were upset by his views. Nevertheless, a match-making agency Social Development Unit (SDU) was set up to promote socialising among men and women graduates.[13] Lee also introduced incentives such as tax rebates, schooling, and housing priorities for graduate mothers who had three or four children, in a reversal of the over-successful 'Stop-at-Two' family planning campaign in the 1960s and 1970s. By the late 1990s, the birth rate had fallen so low that Lee's successor Goh Chok Tong extended these incentives to all married women, and gave even more incentives, such as the 'baby bonus' scheme.[13]

Corporal punishment

One of Lee Kuan Yew's abiding beliefs has been in the efficacy of corporal punishment in the form of caning. In his autobiography The Singapore Story he described his time at Raffles Institution in the 1930s, mentioning that he was caned there for chronic lateness by the then headmaster, D.W. McLeod. He wrote: "I bent over a chair and was given three of the best with my trousers on. I did not think he lightened his strokes. I have never understood why Western educationists are so much against corporal punishment. It did my fellow students and me no harm."[14]

Lee's government inherited judicial corporal punishment from British rule, but greatly expanded its scope. Under the British, it had been used as a penalty for offences involving personal violence, amounting to a handful of caning sentences per year. The PAP government under Lee extended its use to an ever-expanding range of crimes.[15] By 1993 it was mandatory for 42 offences and optional for a further 42.[16] Those routinely ordered by the courts to be caned now include drug addicts and illegal immigrants. From 602 canings in 1987, the figure rose to 3,244 in 1993[17] and to 6,404 in 2007.[18]


It was in 1994, with the intensely publicised caning, under that vandalism legislation, of the American teenager Michael Fay, that judicial caning came to the notice of the rest of the world.

Caning in schools (for male students only) was likewise inherited from the British, and this is in widespread use to discipline disobedient schoolboys, still under 1957 legislation.[19] Lee also introduced caning in the Singapore Armed Forces, and Singapore is one of few countries in the world where corporal punishment is an official penalty in military discipline.[20]

Relations with Malaysia

Mahathir bin Mohamad

Lee looked forward to improving relationships with Mahathir bin Mohamad upon the latter's promotion to Deputy Prime Minister. Knowing that Mahathir was in line to become the next Prime Minister of Malaysia, Lee invited Mahathir (through then-President of Singapore Devan Nair) to visit Singapore in 1978. The first and subsequent visits improved both personal and diplomatic relationships between them. Mahathir asked Lee to cut off links with the Chinese leaders of the Democratic Action Party; in exchange, Mahathir undertook not to interfere in the affairs of the Malay Singaporeans.

In June 1988, Lee and Mahathir reached agreement in Kuala Lumpur to build the Linggui dam on the Johor River.

Senior Minister – 1990 to 2004

Lee Kuan Yew (middle) meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Singapore's Ambassador to the U.S. Chan Heng Chee in 2000.

After leading the PAP to victory in seven elections, Lee stepped down on 28 November 1990, handing over the prime ministership to Goh Chok Tong. He was then the world's longest ever serving Prime Minister.[21]

This was the first leadership transition since independence.

When Goh Chok Tong became head of government, Lee remained in the cabinet with a non-executive position of Senior Minister and played a role he described as advisory. In public, Lee would refer to Goh as "my Prime Minister", in deference to Goh's authority. In practice, Lee's opinions still carry much weight with the public and in the cabinet. He has continued to wield much influence in the country and is ready to use it when necessary. As he said in a 1988 National Day rally:

"Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up."

Lee subsequently stepped down as the Secretary-General of the PAP and was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong in November 1992.

Minister Mentor – 2004 to present

Recently, Lee has expressed his concern about the declining proficiency of Mandarin among younger Singaporeans. In one of his parliamentary speeches, he said: "Singaporeans must learn to juggle English and Mandarin". Subsequently, , beginning in December 2004, a one-year long campaign called 华语 Cool! was launched, in an attempt to attract young viewers to learn and speak Mandarin.[22]

In June 2005, Lee published a book, Keeping My Mandarin Alive, documenting his decades of effort to master Mandarin, a language which he said he had to re-learn due to disuse:

"...because I don't use it so much, therefore it gets disused and there's language loss. Then I have to revive it. It's a terrible problem because learning it in adult life, it hasn't got the same roots in your memory."

In an interview with CCTV on 12 June 2005, Lee stressed the need to have a continuous renewal of talent in the country's leadership, saying:

"In a different world we need to find a niche for ourselves, little corners where in spite of our small size we can perform a role which will be useful to the world. To do that, you will need people at the top, decision-makers who have got foresight, good minds, who are open to ideas, who can seize opportunities like we did... My job really was to find my successors. I found them, they are there; their job is to find their successors. So there must be this continuous renewal of talented, dedicated, honest, able people who will do things not for themselves but for their people and for their country. If they can do that, they will carry on for another one generation and so it goes on. The moment that breaks, it's gone."

Legacy and memoirs

Legacy

During the three decades in which Lee held office, Singapore grew from being a developing country to one of the most developed nations in Asia, despite its small population, limited land space and lack of natural resources. Lee has often stated that Singapore's only natural resources are its people and their strong work ethic. He is widely respected by many Singaporeans, particularly the older generation, who remember his inspiring leadership during independence and the separation from Malaysia.

Memoirs

Lee Kuan Yew has written a two-volume set of memoirs: The Singapore Story (ISBN 0-13-020803-5), which covers his view of Singapore's history until its separation from Malaysia in 1965, and From Third World to First: The Singapore Story (ISBN 0060197765), which gives his account of Singapore's subsequent transformation into a developed nation.

Awards

Meeting the US President at the White House oval office a day later, President Barack Obama introduced him as:[28][29]

"... one of the legendary figures of Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries. He is somebody who helped to trigger the Asian economic miracle."

Health

On 13 September 2008, Lee, 84, underwent successful treatment for abnormal heart rhythm (atrial flutter) at Singapore General Hospital, but he was still able to address a philanthropy forum via video link from hospital.[31]

Controversies

Devan Nair

Devan Nair, the third President of Singapore and who was living in exile in Canada, remarked in a 1999 interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail that Lee's technique of suing his opponents into bankruptcy or oblivion was an abrogation of political rights. He also remarked that Lee is "an increasingly self-righteous know-all", surrounded by "department store dummies". In response to these remarks, Lee sued Devan Nair in a Canadian court and Nair countersued. Lee then brought a motion to have Nair's counterclaim thrown out of court. Lee argued that Nair's counterclaim disclosed no reasonable cause of action and constituted an inflammatory attack on the integrity of the government of Singapore. However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice refused to throw out Nair's counterclaim, holding that Lee had abused the litigating process and therefore Nair has a reasonable cause of action.[32]

Defamation judgment

On 24 September 2008 the High Court, in a summary judgement by Justice Woo Bih Li, ruled that the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) magazine (Hugo Restall, editor), defamed Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The court found the 2006 article "Singapore's 'Martyr': Chee Soon Juan" meant that Lee Kuan Yew "has been running and continues to run Singapore in the same corrupt manner as Durai operated NKF and he has been using libel actions to suppress those who would question to avoid exposure of his corruption."[33] The court sentenced FEER, owned by Dow Jones & Company (in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp), to pay damages to the complainants. FEER appealed[33] but lost the case when the Court of Appeal ruled in October, 2009 that the Far Eastern Economic Review did defame the country's founder Lee Kuan Yew and his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.[34]

Secondary sources

References

  1. ^ "Why it's no change in Singapore". The Editor (press review) (London: guardian.co.uk). 16 August 2004. http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2004/aug/16/theeditorpressreview. 
  2. ^ "Singapore told to feel free". The Guardian. Associated Press (London). 13 August 2004. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/aug/13/1. 
  3. ^ a b McCarthy, Terry. Lee Kuan Yew, Time Asia, Hong Kong, 23 August 1999.
  4. ^ "The Cabinet - Mr LEE Kuan Yew". http://www.cabinet.gov.sg/CabinetAppointments/Mr+LEE+Kuan+Yew.htm. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  5. ^ 新加坡內閣資政李光耀 Xinhuanet.com. (Chinese)
  6. ^ 李光耀劝扁勿藉奥运搞台独 Zaobao.com, 19 November 2007. (Chinese)
  7. ^ Ooi, Jeff (2005). ""Perils of the sitting duck"". Archived from the original on 25 November 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20051125194719/http://www.jeffooi.com/archives/2005/11/i_went_into_act.php.  Retrieved on 6 November 2005.
  8. ^ Pillai, M.G.G. (1 November 2005). ""Did Lee Kuan Yew want Singapore ejected from Malaysia?"". Malaysia Today. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071013161748/http://www.malaysia-today.net/columns/pillai/2005/11/did-lee-kuan-yew-want-singapore.htm. 
  9. ^ Mauzy, Diane K.; Milne, R.S. (2002). Singapore Politics Under the People's Action Party. London & New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-24653-9
  10. ^ Hoe Yeen Nie (2 June 2009). "State of Singapore came into being 50 years ago on 3 June". Channel News Asia (Singapore). http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/433440/1/.html. 
  11. ^ For one journalist's personal view of these events, see Pillai, M.G.G., "Did Lee Kuan Yew want Singapore ejected from Malaysia?", Malaysia Today, 1 November 2005.
  12. ^ Public-domain information from the US State Department Country Guide.
  13. ^ a b c d Jacobson, Mark (January 2010). "The Singapore Solution". National Geographic Magazine. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/01/singapore/jacobson-text. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  14. ^ Lee Kuan Yew, "The Singapore Story", Time Asia, Hong Kong, 21 September 1998.
  15. ^ Judicial caning in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei at World Corporal Punishment Research.
  16. ^ Singapore: Table of offences for which caning is available at World Corporal Punishment Research.
  17. ^ Singapore Human Rights Practices 1994, US State Department.
  18. ^ Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007, US State Department, released 11 March 2008.
  19. ^ Regulation No 88 under the Schools Regulation Act 1957 (extract).
  20. ^ Armed Forces Act, 1972.
  21. ^ Erlanger, Steven, "New Leader takes Singapore's helm", The New York Times, 29 November 1990.
  22. ^ zaobao.com
  23. ^ "Bio of Lee Kuan Yew". Governmentof Singapore. http://www.pmo.gov.sg/AboutGovernment/CabinetAppointments/MMLeeKuanYew/. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  24. ^ "List of Ig Nobel past winners". Archived from the original on 11 January 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060111004730/http://www.improb.com/ig/ig-pastwinners.html. .
  25. ^ "Commemoration Day pride". Reporter (Imperial College London). 13 November 2002. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/college.asp?P=3736. 
  26. ^ Skehan, Craig (28 March 2007). "Hostile welcome for Lee Kuan Yew". Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/03/28/1174761533651.html. 
  27. ^ "Warm tributes from old friends". The White House. 29 October 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-obama-and-minister-mentor-lee-kuan-yew-singapore-meeting. 
  28. ^ "Obama welcomes 'legendary' Lee Kuan Yew". AFP. 29 October 2009. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gCvuRK0yenAnx8seMxjlAG59nC7w. 
  29. ^ "Remarks by President Obama and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore before Meeting". The White House. 29 October 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-obama-and-minister-mentor-lee-kuan-yew-singapore-meeting. 
  30. ^ "Russia, S'pore move towards closer ties with new governmental body". Channel Newsasia. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1018440/1/.html. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  31. ^ "Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew hospitalized", International Herald Tribune, Paris, 13 September 2008.
  32. ^ Lee v. Globe and Mail (2001), 6 C.P.C. (5th) 354 (Ont.S.C.J.).
  33. ^ a b "Editor 'defamed' Singapore leader, BBC News Online, London, 24 September 2008.
  34. ^ "Singapore backs Lee in media case" BBC News Online, 8 October 2009.

External links

Political offices
New title Prime Minister of Singapore
3 June 1959 – 28 November 1990
Succeeded by
Goh Chok Tong
Preceded by
Hon Sui Sen
Minister for Finance
1983
Succeeded by
Tony Tan
Preceded by
S. Rajaratnam
Senior Minister
1990–2004
Succeeded by
Goh Chok Tong
New title Minister Mentor
2004 – present
Incumbent
Party political offices
New political party Secretary General of People's Action Party
1954–1992
Succeeded by
Goh Chok Tong


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Lee Kuan Yew (born September 16, 1923) is a Singapore politician. He was the Singapore Prime Minister (1959–1990) and Senior Minister (1990–2004). Since 2004 he has been in the role of Minister Mentor.

Contents

1950s

In opposition

  • "But we either believe in democracy or we not. If we do, then, we must say categorically, without qualification, that no restraint from the any democratic processes, other than by the ordinary law of the land, should be allowed... If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought, and no excuse, whether of security, should allow a government to be deterred from doing what it knows to be right, and what it must know to be right... " - Lee Kuan Yew, Legislative Assembly Debates, April 27, 1955
  • "If it is not totalitarian to arrest a man and detain him, when you cannot charge him with any offence against any written law - if that is not what we have always cried out against in Fascist states - then what is it?… If we are to survive as a free democracy, then we must be prepared, in principle, to concede to our enemies - even those who do not subscribe to our views - as much constitutional rights as you concede yourself." - Opposition leader Lee Kuan Yew, Legislative Assembly Debates, Sept 21, 1955
  • "Repression, Sir is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love-it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack. All you have to do is to dissolve organizations and societies and banish and detain the key political workers in these societies. Then miraculously everything is tranquil on the surface. Then an intimidated press and the government-controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they're conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict." -Lee Kuan Yew as an opposition PAP member speaking to David Marshall, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Debates, 4 October, 1956
  • "If we say that we believe in democracy, if we say that the fabric of a democratic society is one which allows for the free play of idea...then, in the name of all the gods, give that free play a chance to work within the constitutional framework." - Opposition leader Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Oct 4, 1956
  • "Repression can only go up to a point. When it becomes too acute, the instruments of repression, namely the army and the police, have been proved time and time again in history to have turned their guns on their masters." - Opposition leader Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, May 5, 1959
  • "I pointed to an article with bold headlines reporting that the police had refused to allow the PAP to hold a rally at Empress Place, and then to the last paragraph where in small type it added the meeting would take place where we were now. I compared this with a prominent report about an SPA rally. This was flagrant bias." - Complaining about the Straits Times in 1959.

1960s

Pre-merger

  • "If I were in authority in Singapore indefinitely without having to ask those who are governed whether they like what is being done, then I would not have the slightest doubt that I could govern much more effectively in their interests." - Mr Lee Kuan Yew, 1962

Federation of Malaysia, 1963-1965

  • "Let us get down to fundamentals. Is this an open, or is this a closed society? Is it a society where men can preach ideas - novel, unorthodox, heresies, to established churches and established governments - where there is a constant contest for men's hearts and minds on the basis of what is right, of what is just, of what is in the national interests, or is it a closed society where the mass media - the newspapers, the journals, publications, TV, radio - either bound by sound or by sight, or both sound and sight, men's minds are fed with a constant drone of sycophantic support for a particular orthodox political philosophy? I am talking of the principle of the open society, the open debate, ideas, not intimidation, persuasion not coercion..." - Lee Kuan Yew, Before Singapore's independence, Malaysian Parliamentary Debates, Dec 18, 1964
  • "How does the Malay in the kampong find his way out into this modernised civil society? By becoming servants of the 0.3 per cent who would have the money to hire them to clean their shoe, open their motorcar doors?" — Lee Kuan Yew in the Parliament of Malaysia, 1965 [1]
  • "Of course there are Chinese millionaires in big cars and big houses. Is it the answer to make a few Malay millionaires with big cars and big houses? How does telling a Malay bus driver that he should support the party of his Malay director (UMNO) and the Chinese bus conductor to join another party of his Chinese director (MCA) - how does that improve the standards of the Malay bus driver and the Chinese bus conductor who are both workers in the same company? If we delude people into believing that they are poor because there are no Malay rights or because opposition members oppose Malay rights, where are we going to end up? You let people in the kampongs believe that they are poor because we don't speak Malay, because the government does not write in Malay, so he expects a miracle to take place in 1967 (the year Malay would become the national and sole official language in Malaysia). The moment we all start speaking Malay, he is going to have an uplift in the standard of living, and if doesn't happen, what happens then? Meanwhile, whenever there is a failure of economic, social and educational policies, you come back and say, oh, these wicked Chinese, Indian and others opposing Malay rights. They don't oppose Malay rights. They, the Malay, have the right as Malaysian citizens to go up to the level of training and education that the more competitive societies, the non-Malay society, has produced. That is what must be done, isn't it? Not to feed them with this obscurantist doctrine that all they have got to do is to get Malay rights for the few special Malays and their problem has been resolved." — Lee Kuan Yew in the Parliament of Malaysia, 1965 [2]
  • "They (the Malay extremists) have triggered off something basic and fundamental. Malaysia — to whom does it belong? To Malaysians. But who are Malaysians? I hope I am, Mr Speaker, Sir. But sometimes, sitting in this chamber, I doubt whether I am allowed to be a Malaysian. This is the doubt that hangs over many minds, and the next contest, if this goes on, will be on very different lines." — Lee Kuan Yew in the Parliament of Malaysia, 1965 [3]
  • "Once emotions are set in motion, and men pitted against men along these unspoken lines, you will have the kind of warfare that will split the nation from top to bottom and undo Malaysia. Everybody knows it. I don't have to say it. It is the unspoken word!" — Lee Kuan Yew in the Parliament of Malaysia, 1965 [4]
  • "According to history, Malays began to migrate to Malaysia in noticeable numbers only about 700 years ago. Of the 39 percent Malays in Malaysia today, about one-third are comparatively new immigrants like the secretary-general of UMNO, Dato' Syed Ja'afar Albar, who came to Malaya from Indonesia just before the war at the age of more than thirty. Therefore it is wrong and illogical for a particular racial group to think that they are more justified to be called Malaysians and that the others can become Malaysian only through their favour." — Lee Kuan Yew (in 1964 or 1965), — Ye, Lin-Sheng (2003). The Chinese Dilemma, p. 43. East West Publishing. ISBN 0-9751646-1-9.
  • "Three women were brought to the Singapore General Hospital, each in the same condition and needing a blood transfusion. The first, a Southeast Asian was given the transfusion but died a few hours later. The second, a South Asian was also given a transfusion but died a few days later. The third, an East Asian, was given a transfusion and survived. That is the X factor in development." - 27 December 1967

Singapore Independence, 1965

  • “For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I believed in merger and unity of the two territories.”, on August 9, 1965, when Lee announced the separation of Singapore from Malaysia.
  • “Do not worry about Singapore. My colleagues and I are sane, rational people even in our moments of anguish. We will weigh all possible consequences before we make any move on the political chessboard...”, 1965, when he responded to concerns of the British government after Singapore's independence. London was concerned that the young government was not able to keep things in control and might take foolish measures.

Post Independence

  • "We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two... We will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic." -Lee Kuan Yew in 1967.

1970s

1980s

  • "Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him, or give it up! This is not a game of cards! This is your life and mine! I spent a whole life-time building this, and as long as I am in charge, nobody is going to knock it down." - 1980
  • "Let us not deceive ourselves: our talent profile is nowhere near that of, say, the Jews or the Japanese in America. The exceptional number of Nobel Prize winners who are Jews is no accident. It is also no accident that a high percentage, sometimes 50%, of faculty members in the top American universities on both the east and west coasts are Jews. And the number of high calibre Japanese academics, professionals, and business executives is out of all proportion to the percentage of Japanese in the total American population." - 1982
  • "If you don't include your women graduates in your breeding pool and leave them on the shelf, you would end up a more stupid society...So what happens? There will be less bright people to support dumb people in the next generation. That's a problem." -Lee Kuan Yew in 1983 National Day Rally
  • "(Without the CPF), Singaporeans would buy enormous quantities of clothes, shoes, furniture, television sets, radio, tape recorders, hi-fis, washing machines, motor cars. They would have no substantial or permanent asset to show for it." - Asian Wall Street Journal, Oct 21 1985
  • "We have to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, whether they are religious extremists. If you don't do that, the country would be in ruins." - Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, 1986
  • "I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn't be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters - who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right. Never mind what the people think." - Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, 20 April 1987
  • "Look, Jeyaretnam cant win the infighting. I'll tell you why. WE are in charge. Every government ministry and department is under our control. And in the infighting, he will go down for the count every time... I will make him crawl on his bended knees, and beg for mercy." - As recounted by former President C. V. Devan Nair

24 December 1984, election aftermath

  • "At this rate, the one-man, one-vote system could lead to decline and disintegration" - after the Opposition won 2 seats
  • "Every election campaign starts off on a reasonable note, then in order to get the crowds excited, they make more and more brazen, scurrilous, wild accusations." - Accusing the Opposition of "gutter politics"
  • "The party would withdraw services to the two opposition-held seats of Anson and Potong Pasir" - On Potong Pasir and Anson electing non-PAP MPs

1990s

Leadership transition, pre-1991

  • “I'm prepared to banter with you. I'm prepared to humour you. But if this were an Orwellian society with an Orwellian leader, would we be having this conversation?”, Sunday Mail Magazine 1990 on being a "state out of 1984"
  • “Even from my sick bed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.” 1988 National Day Rally, when he discussed the leadership transition to Goh Chok Tong in 1990.

Senior Minister

  • "With few exceptions, democracy has not brought good government to new developing countries...What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural backround, my values are for a government which is honest, effective and efficient." - Lee Kuan Yew (educated in Cambridge and speaks English, called Harry when young) in speech entitled 'Democracy, Human Rights and the Realities', Tokyo, Nov 10, 1992
  • "In America itself, after 30 years of experimenting with the Great Society programmes, there is widespread crime and violence, children kill each other with guns, neigbourhoods are insecure, old people feel forgotten, families are falling apart. And the media attacks the integrity and character of your leaders with impunity, drags down all those in authority and blames everyone but itself." - Lee Kuan Yew, Sept 1995.
  • "I have visited (Burma) and I know that there is only one instrument of government, and that is the army...If I were Aung San Suu Kyi, I think I'd rather be behind a fence and be a symbol than after two or three years, be found impotent." - SM Lee Kuan Yew, Reuters, Jun 6, 1996, which sparked a flurry of protests from Burmese students.
  • "Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right.

If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless." - Lee Kuan Yew, 6.10.1997

  • "Mine is a very matter-of-fact approach to the problem. If you can select a population and they're educated and they're properly brought up, then you don't have to use too much of the stick because they would already have been trained. It's like with dogs. You train it in a proper way from small. It will know that it's got to leave, go outside to pee and to defecate. No, we are not that kind of society. We had to train adult dogs who even today deliberately urinate in the lifts." - Lee Kuan Yew on Singapore society, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
  • "Supposing Catherine Lim was writing about me and not the prime minister...She would not dare, right? Because my posture, my response has been such that nobody doubts that if you take me on, I will put on knuckle-dusters and catch you in a cul de sac...Anybody who decides to take me on needs to put on knuckle dusters. If you think you can hurt me more than I can hurt you, try. There is no other way you can govern a Chinese society." - SM Lee Kuan Yew, The Man and His Ideas, 1997
  • "Supposing I'm now 21, 22, what would I do? I would not be absorbed in wanting to change life in Singapore. I'm not responsible for Singapore...Why should I go and undertake this job and spend my whole life pushing this for a lot of people for whom nothing is good enough? I will have a fall-back position, which many are doing - have a house in Perth or Vancouver or Sydney, or an apartment in London, in case I need some place suddenly, and think about whether I go on to America." - SM Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
  • "What people mean by consultation is an imitation of what they see in America; pressure groups and lobby groups..It's an unthinking adoption of Western practices of development without any pruning and modification to suit our circumstances." - Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
  • "The Bell curve is a fact of life. The blacks on average score 85 per cent on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score on average 100. Asians score more ... the Bell curve authors put it at least 10 points higher. These are realities that, if you do not accept, will lead to frustration because you will be spending money on wrong assumptions and the results cannot follow." - Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
  • "I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that's the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils... I didn't start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I've come to." - Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
  • "Put it this way. As long as Jeyaretnam [Workers' Party leader] stands for what he stands for -- a thoroughly destructive force -- we will knock him. There are two ways of playing this. One, a you attack the policies; two, you attack the system. Jeyaretnam was attacking the system, he brought the Chief Justice into it. If I want to fix you, do I need the Chief Justice to fix you? Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac. That's the way I had to survive in the past. That's the way the communists tackled me. He brought the Chief Justice into the political arena." - SM Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997
  • "If, for instance, you put in a Malay officer who's very religious and who has family ties in Malaysia in charge of a machine gun unit, that's a very tricky business. We've got to know his background... I'm saying these things because they are real, and if I don't think that, and I think even if today the Prime Minister doesn't think carefully about this, we could have a tragedy." - SM Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, September 19, 1999 on Malays in the Singapore Armed Forces

2000s

Senior Minister

  • "... If you can't think because you can't chew, try a banana", 2000. Lee was responding to a BBC reporter who suggested that Singapore's draconian laws (including the ban on chewing gum) could stifle the people's creativity.[5]
  • "He picked up from me a certain way of thinking, certain logic, certain cut of mind. He has got from his mother a facility with words, and a certain intuition." - Lee Kuan Yew on Lee Hsien Loong, Straits Times, Jun 22, 2004
  • "I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind - an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. You are not a leader." - SM Lee Kuan Yew, Success Stories, 2002

Minister Mentor

  • "Political reform need not go hand in hand with economic liberalisation. I do not believe that if you are libertarian, full of diverse opinions, full of competing ideas in the market place, full of sound and fury, therefore you will succeed." - Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, Aug 17, 2004
  • "If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it." - Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew evoking the ghost of Deng Xiaoping whilst endorsing the Tiananmen Square massacre, Straits Times, Aug 17, 2004
  • "...because I don't use it so much, therefore it gets disused and there's language loss. Then I have to revive it. It's a terrible problem because learning it at adult life, it hasn't got the same roots in your memory.” May 2005, as Lee released a book, Keeping My Mandarin Alive, relating to his decades of effort to master Mandarin–a language which he said he had to re-learn due to disuse.
  • "At the end of the day, we are so many digits in the machine. The point is – are these digits stronger than the competitors' digits?" - MM Lee Kuan Yew on Singapore workers, History of Singapore, 2005
  • "When I call a man openly, you're a liar, you're dishonest, and you do not dare to sue me, there's something basically wrong. And I will repeat it anywhere and you can't go and say, oh, I have apologised; let's move on. Can you commit a dishonourable -- maybe even one which is against the law -- an illegal act and say, let's move on because I've apologised? You may move on but you're going to move on out of politics in time." -- MM Lee Kuan Yew on James Gomez, Channelnewsasia, May 2006
  • "Please do not assume that you can change governments. Young people don't understand this" -- MM Lee Kuan Yew on the results of the 2006 election
  • "Without the elected president and if there is a freak result, within two or three years, the army would have to come in and stop it" -- MM Lee Kuan Yew on what would happen if a profligate opposition government touched Singapore's vast monetary reserves
  • "Merit over nepotism" -- MM Lee Kuan Yew, in a talk in response to the IMF/World Bank meet in Singapore 2006 (MM Lee's elder son, PM Lee Hsien Loong, is the youngest Brigadier General in Singapore's history, is tipped to be Lee Kuan Yew's successor as Prime Minister from a young age, whose wife is the CEO of the government-owned Temasek Holdings and whose career has also been dogged by a perceived reputation for being arrogant and autocratic.)
  • "That was the year the British decided to get out and sell everything. So I immediately held an election. I knew the people will be dead scared." - On winning 88% of the votes in 1968 (actual share was 84.43%), The Straits Times, March 7, 2007
  • "Low salaries will draw in the hypocrites who sweet talk their way into power in the name of public service, but once in charge will show their true colour, and ruin the country." - 2007, on Minister's Pay
  • "You know, the cure for all this talk is really a good dose of incompetent government. You get that alternative and you'll never put Singapore together again: Humpty Dumpty cannot be put together again... and your asset values will disappear, your apartment will be worth a fraction of what it is, your jobs will be in peril, your security will be at risk and our women will become maids in other people's countries, foreign workers." - Justifying million-dollar pay hike for Singapore ministers (Straits Times, 5 April 2007)
  • "Singaporeans, if I can chose an analogy, we are the hard disk of a computer, the foreign talent are the megabytes you add to your storage capacity. So your computer never hangs because you got enormous storage capacity," - On accepting foreign talent (Straits Times, 22 April 2007)
  • "When you're Singapore and your existence depends on performance - extraordinary performance, better than your competitors - when that performance disappears because the system on which it's been based becomes eroded, then you've lost everything... I try to tell the younger generation that and they say the old man is playing the same record, we've heard it all before. I happen to know how we got here and I know how we can unscramble it." - On one freak election result ruining Singapore (Straits Times, 26 April 2008)
  • "There is a conspiracy to do us in. Why?... They see us as a threat" - on why Human Rights Groups criticise Singapore's governance (Agence France-Presse, July 12 2008, [6])

External links

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Simple English

Lee Kuan Yew
李光耀
File:Lee Kuan


Minister Mentor
Incumbent
Assumed office 
12 August 2004
President S. R. Nathan (1999-Present)
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (2004-Present)
Preceded by None (post created)
Constituency Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (Tanjong Pagar)

1st Prime Minister of Singapore
In office
5 June 1959 – 28 November 1990
President
Deputy
Preceded by None (post created)
Succeeded by Goh Chok Tong

Senior Minister
In office
28 November 1990 – 12 August 2004
President
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong (1990-2004)
Preceded by S. Rajaratnam
Succeeded by Goh Chok Tong

Born 16 September 1923 (1923-09-16) (age 87)
Singapore
Political party People's Action Party
Spouse Kwa Geok Choo
This article contains Chinese text. Without the correct software, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lee.

Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH (Honorary) (Christian name: Harry, Chinese: 李光耀; Pinyin: Lǐ Guāngyào; born 16 September 1923; also Lee Kwan-Yew) is a Singaporean politician. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1959 to 1990.

He was the co-founder and first secretary-general of the People's Action Party (PAP), and led the party to a landslide victory in 1959. During his leadership, Singapore separated from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 and grew from an underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a "First World", Asian Tiger. He has remained one of the most influential political figures in South-East Asia.

Under Singapore's second prime minister Goh Chok Tong, Lee served as Senior Minister. He is currently Minister Mentor, a post created when his son Lee Hsien Loong became the nation's third prime minister on 12 August 2004.[1][2]

On 13 September 2008, Lee, 84, underwent successful treatment for abnormal heart rhythm (atrial flutter) at Singapore General Hospital, but he was still able to address a philanthropy forum via video link from hospital.[3]

Contents

Family

Lee says in his autobiography that he is a fourth-generation Chinese Singaporean: his Hakka great-grandfather, Lee Bok Boon (born 1846), emigrated from the Dapu county of Guangdong province to the Straits Settlements in 1862.

Lee Kuan Yew was born at 92 Kampong Java Road in Singapore. He was the oldest child of Lee Chin Koon and Chua Jim Neo. As a child he was strongly influenced by British culture, partly because of the influence of his grandfather Lee Hoon Leong, who had given his sons an English education. His grandfather gave him the name "Harry", and his father gave him the Chinese name "Kuan Yew". He was mostly known as "Harry Lee" until he turned 30, and his close friends and family, especially in the West, still know him by that name.[4] He started using his Chinese name after entering politics. His name is sometimes written as Harry Lee Kuan Yew, although this first name is not usually used in official settings.

Lee and his wife Kwa Geok Choo were married on 30 September 1950. They have two sons and one daughter.[5] Kwa Geok Choo's roots can be traced from Min Nan Tong'an.[6][7]

File:Lee Hsien Loong
His elder son Lee Hsien Loong has been Prime Minister of Singapore since 2004.

Many of Lee's family have important positions in Singaporean society, and his children hold high government or government-linked posts. His elder son Lee Hsien Loong, a former Brigadier General, has been the Prime Minister since 2004. He is also the Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), of which Lee himself is the chairman. Lee's younger son, Lee Hsien Yang, is also a former Brigadier General and is a former President and Chief Executive Officer of SingTel, a pan-Asian telecommunications giant and Singapore's largest company by market capitalisation (listed on the Singapore Exchange, SGX). Fifty-six percent of SingTel is owned by Temasek Holdings, a prominent government holding company with controlling stakes in a variety of very large government-linked companies such as Singapore Airlines and DBS Bank. Temasek Holdings was until 2009 run by Executive Director and C.E.O. Ho Ching, the wife of Lee Hsien Loong. Lee's daughter, Lee Wei Ling, runs the National Neuroscience Institute. Lee's wife, Kwa Geok Choo, used to be a partner of the prominent legal firm Lee & Lee.

Early life

Lee studied at Telok Kurau Primary School, Raffles Institution (where he was a member of the 01 Raffles Scout Group), and Raffles College (now National University of Singapore). He was stopped from going to university by World War II and the 1942-1945 Japanese occupation of Singapore. During the occupation, he ran a successful black market business selling tapioca-based glue called Stikfas.[8] Because he had taken Chinese and Japanese lessons since 1942, he was able to find work transcribing Allied wire reports for the Japanese, as well as being the English language editor on the Japanese Hodobu (報道部 — an information or propaganda department) from 1943 to 1944.[4][9]

Political career

Decisions and policies

Lee had three main concerns — national security, the economy, and social issues — during his post-independence administration.

National security

The vulnerability of Singapore was deeply felt, with threats from multiple sources including the communists, Indonesia (with its Confrontation stance), and UMNO extremists who wanted to force Singapore back into Malaysia. As Singapore gained admission to the United Nations, Lee quickly sought international recognition of Singapore's independence. He declared a policy of neutrality and non-alignment, following Switzerland's model. At the same time, he asked Goh Keng Swee to build up the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and requested help from other countries for advice, training and facilities.

Government policies

Like many countries, Singapore was not immune to political corruption. Lee introduced legislation giving the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) greater power to conduct arrests, search, call up witnesses, and investigate bank accounts and income-tax returns of suspected persons and their families.

Lee believed that ministers should be well paid in order to maintain a clean and honest government. In 1994 he proposed to link the salaries of ministers, judges, and top civil servants to the salaries of top professionals in the private sector, arguing that this would help recruit and retain talent to serve in the public sector.[10]

In the late 1960s, fearing that Singapore's growing population might overburden the developing economy, Lee started a vigorous 'Stop-at-Two' family planning campaign. Couples were urged to undergo sterilisation after their second child. Third or fourth children were given lower priorities in education and such families received fewer economic rebates.[10]

In 1983, Lee sparked the 'Great Marriage Debate' when he encouraged Singapore men to choose highly-educated women as wives. He was concerned that a large number of graduate women were unmarried. Some sections of the population, including graduate women, were upset by his views. Nevertheless, a match-making agency Social Development Unit (SDU) was set up to promote socialising among men and women graduates.[10] Lee also introduced incentives such as tax rebates, schooling, and housing priorities for graduate mothers who had three or four children, in a reversal of the over-successful 'Stop-at-Two' family planning campaign in the 1960s and 1970s. By the late 1990s, the birth rate had fallen so low that Lee's successor Goh Chok Tong extended these incentives to all married women, and gave even more incentives, such as the 'baby bonus' scheme.[10]

Legacy

During the three decades in which Lee held office, Singapore grew from being a developing country to one of the most developed nations in Asia, despite its small population, limited land space and lack of natural resources. Lee has often stated that Singapore's only natural resources are its people and their strong work ethic. He is widely respected by many Singaporeans, particularly the older generation, who remember his inspiring leadership during independence and the separation from Malaysia.

On the other hand, many Singaporeans have criticized Lee as being authoritarian and intolerant of dissent, citing his numerous mostly successful attempts to sue political opponents and newspapers who express an unfavorable opinion. International media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has asked Lee, and other senior Singaporean officials, to stop taking libel actions against journalists [11].

Memoirs

Lee has written a two-volume set of memoirs: The Singapore Story (ISBN 0-13-020803-5), which covers his view of Singapore's history until its separation from Malaysia in 1965, and From Third World to First: The Singapore Story (ISBN 0060197765), which gives his account of Singapore's subsequent transformation into a developed nation.

Awards

  • Lee has received a number of state decorations, including the Order of the Companions of Honour (1970), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (1972), the Freedom of the City of London (1982), the Order of the Crown of Johore First Class (1984), the Order of Great Leader (1988) and the Order of the Rising Sun (1967).[12]
  • Lee was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in 1994.[13]
  • In 2002, Lee was formally admitted to the Fellowship of Imperial College London in recognition of his promotion of international trade and industry, and development of science and engineering study initiatives with the UK.[14]
  • In 2006, Lee was presented with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
  • In 2007, Lee was conferred an honorary Doctorate in Law at the Australian National University in Canberra, albeit amid protest from students and staff.[15]
  • In October 2009, Lee was conferred the first Lifetime Achievement award by the U.S.-Asean Business Council at its 25th anniversary gala dinner in Washington, D.C.. In his tribute, former United States Secretary of State and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr Henry Kissinger said:[16]
    "He has become a seminal figure for all of us. I've not learned as much from anybody as I have from Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He made himself an indispensable friend of the United States, not primarily by the power he represented but by the quality of his thinking.
Meeting the U.S. President at the White House Oval Office a day later, President Barack Obama introduced him as:[17][18]
"... one of the legendary figures of Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries. He is somebody who helped to trigger the Asian economic miracle."
  • On 15 November 2009, Lee was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship by President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of APEC Singapore 2009.[19]

Controversies

Devan Nair

Devan Nair, the third President of Singapore and who was living in exile in Canada, remarked in a 1999 interview with the Toronto The Globe and Mail that Lee's technique of suing his opponents into bankruptcy or oblivion was an abrogation of political rights. He also remarked that Lee is "an increasingly self-righteous know-all", surrounded by "department store dummies". In response to these remarks, Lee sued Devan Nair in a Canadian court and Nair countersued. Lee then brought a motion to have Nair's counterclaim thrown out of court. Lee argued that Nair's counterclaim disclosed no reasonable cause of action and constituted an inflammatory attack on the integrity of the government of Singapore. However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice refused to throw out Nair's counterclaim, holding that Lee had abused the litigating process and therefore Nair has a reasonable cause of action.[20]

Defamation judgment

On 24 September 2008 the High Court of Singapore, in a summary judgment by Justice Woo Bih Li, ruled that the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) magazine (Hugo Restall, editor), defamed Lee and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The court found the 2006 article "Singapore's 'Martyr': Chee Soon Juan" meant that Lee Kuan Yew "has been running and continues to run Singapore in the same corrupt manner as T. T. Durai operated the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and he has been using libel actions to suppress those who would question to avoid exposure of his corruption."[21] The court sentenced FEER, owned by Dow Jones & Company (in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp), to pay damages to the complainants. FEER appealed[21] but lost the case when the Court of Appeal ruled in October, 2009 that the Far Eastern Economic Review did defame the country's founder Lee Kuan Yew and his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.[22]

Secondary sources

  • Barr, Michael D. 2000. Lee Kuan Yew: The Beliefs Behind the Man. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
  • Gordon, Uri. 2000. Machiavelli's Tiger: Lee Kwan Yew and Singapore's Authoritarian regime
  • Josey, Alex. 1980. Lee Kuan Yew — The Crucial Years. Singapore and Kuala Lumpur: Times Books International.
  • King, Rodney. 2008. The Singapore Miracle, Myth and Reality. 2nd Edition, Insight Press.
  • Kwang, Han Fook, Warren Fernandez and Sumiko Tan. 1998. Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas. Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings.
  • McCarthy, Terry (23 August 1999). "Lee Kuan Yew". Time Asia (Hong Kong). http://www.time.com/time/asia/asia/magazine/1999/990823/lee1.html. 
  • Minchin, James. 1986. No Man is an Island. A Study of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

References

  1. "Why it's no change in Singapore". guardian.co.uk (London). 16 August 2004. http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2004/aug/16/theeditorpressreview. 
  2. "Singapore told to feel free". The Guardian. Associated Press (London). 13 August 2004. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/aug/13/1. 
  3. "Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew hospitalized", International Herald Tribune, Paris, 13 September 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 McCarthy, Terry. Lee Kuan Yew, Time Asia, Hong Kong, 23 August 1999.
  5. "The Cabinet - Mr LEE Kuan Yew". http://www.cabinet.gov.sg/CabinetAppointments/Mr+LEE+Kuan+Yew.htm. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  6. 新加坡內閣資政李光耀 Xinhuanet.com. Template:Language icon
  7. 李光耀劝扁勿藉奥运搞台独 Zaobao.com, 19 November 2007. Template:Language icon
  8. Ooi, Jeff (2005). ""Perils of the sitting duck"". Archived from the original on 25 November 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20051125194719/http://www.jeffooi.com/archives/2005/11/i_went_into_act.php.  Retrieved on 6 November 2005.
  9. Pillai, M.G.G. (1 November 2005). ""Did Lee Kuan Yew want Singapore ejected from Malaysia?"". Malaysia Today. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071013161748/http://www.malaysia-today.net/columns/pillai/2005/11/did-lee-kuan-yew-want-singapore.htm. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Jacobson, Mark (January 2010). "The Singapore Solution". National Geographic Magazine. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/01/singapore/jacobson-text. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  11. "Stop suing journalists: RSF tells Singapore leaders". Bangkok Post. 2010-03-26. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/172827/. Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  12. "Bio of Lee Kuan Yew". Governmentof Singapore. http://www.pmo.gov.sg/AboutGovernment/CabinetAppointments/MMLeeKuanYew/. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  13. "List of Ig Nobel past winners". Archived from the original on 11 January 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060111004730/http://www.improb.com/ig/ig-pastwinners.html. .
  14. "Commemoration Day pride". Reporter (Imperial College London). 13 November 2002. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/college.asp?P=3736. 
  15. Skehan, Craig (28 March 2007). "Hostile welcome for Lee Kuan Yew". Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/03/28/1174761533651.html. 
  16. "Warm tributes from old friends". The White House. 29 October 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-obama-and-minister-mentor-lee-kuan-yew-singapore-meeting. 
  17. "Obama welcomes 'legendary' Lee Kuan Yew". AFP. 29 October 2009. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gCvuRK0yenAnx8seMxjlAG59nC7w. 
  18. "Remarks by President Obama and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore before Meeting". The White House. 29 October 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-obama-and-minister-mentor-lee-kuan-yew-singapore-meeting. 
  19. "Russia, S'pore move towards closer ties with new governmental body". Channel Newsasia. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1018440/1/.html. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  20. Lee v. Globe and Mail (2001), 6 C.P.C. (5th) 354 (Ont.S.C.J.).
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Editor 'defamed' Singapore leader, BBC News Online, London, 24 September 2008.
  22. "Singapore backs Lee in media case" BBC News Online, 8 October 2009.

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Political offices
New title Prime Minister of Singapore
3 June 1959 – 28 November 1990
Succeeded by
Goh Chok Tong
Preceded by
Hon Sui Sen
Minister for Finance
1983
Succeeded by
Tony Tan
Preceded by
S. Rajaratnam
Senior Minister
1990–2004
Succeeded by
Goh Chok Tong
New title Minister Mentor
2004 – present
Incumbent
Party political offices
New political party Secretary General of People's Action Party
1954–1992
Succeeded by
Goh Chok Tong








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