Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew

Overview
Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

  is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Singapore
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore is the head of the government of the Republic of Singapore. The President of Singapore appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs.The office of Prime Minister...

 of the Republic of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, governing for three decades. By the time he chose to step down to enable a stable leadership renewal, he had become the world's longest-serving Prime Minister.

As the co-founder and first secretary-general of the People's Action Party
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 (PAP), he led the party to eight victories from 1959 to 1990, and oversaw the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965 and its subsequent transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a "First World
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

" Asian Tiger.
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Quotations

"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.

"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

Encyclopedia
Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

  is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Singapore
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore is the head of the government of the Republic of Singapore. The President of Singapore appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs.The office of Prime Minister...

 of the Republic of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, governing for three decades. By the time he chose to step down to enable a stable leadership renewal, he had become the world's longest-serving Prime Minister.

As the co-founder and first secretary-general of the People's Action Party
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 (PAP), he led the party to eight victories from 1959 to 1990, and oversaw the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965 and its subsequent transformation from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a "First World
First World
The concept of the First World first originated during the Cold War, where it was used to describe countries that were aligned with the United States. These countries were democratic and capitalistic. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the term "First World" took on a...

" Asian Tiger. He has remained one of the most influential political figures in South-East Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

Singapore's second prime minister, Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong is the Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He also served as the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004, succeeding Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime...

, appointed him as Senior Minister
Senior Minister
Senior Minister is a political office in the political system of Singapore taken by a prime minister or senior cabinet minister when he or she retires from that office, but still has something to offer the government based on his or her long experience...

 in 1990. He held the advisory post of Minister Mentor
Minister Mentor
Minister Mentor is a Singapore cabinet position created in 2004 as part of a leadership transition.The newly appointed Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong , announced Lee Kuan Yew's new title together with the naming of his Cabinet on August 12, 2004...

, created by his son, Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong is the third and current Prime Minister of Singapore. He is married to Ho Ching, who is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings. He is the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew....

, when the latter became the nation's third prime minister in August 2004.
With his successive ministerial positions spanning over 50 years, Lee is also one of history's longest serving ministers. On 14 May 2011, Lee and Senior Minister
Senior Minister
Senior Minister is a political office in the political system of Singapore taken by a prime minister or senior cabinet minister when he or she retires from that office, but still has something to offer the government based on his or her long experience...

 Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong is the Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He also served as the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004, succeeding Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime...

 announced their retirement from the cabinet after the 2011 General Election.

Family background


In his memoirs, Lee refers to his immigrant background as a fourth-generation Chinese Singaporean: his Hakka
Hakka people
The Hakka , sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China....

 great-grandfather, Lee Bok Boon (born 1846), emigrated from the Dapu county of Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 province to the Straits Settlements
Straits Settlements
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia.Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867...

 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. He started using his Chinese name after entering politics. His name is sometimes cited as Harry Lee Kuan Yew, although this first name
Given name
A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

 is seldom used in official settings. Lee and his wife Kwa Geok Choo
Kwa Geok Choo
Kwa Geok Choo was a Singaporean most widely known as the wife of Singapore's Minister Mentor and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and one of the partners in the law firm Lee & Lee. Kwa was also the mother of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong...

 were married on 30 September 1950. His wife passed away on 2 October 2010 in her sleep. They have two sons and one daughter.

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
Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong is the third and current Prime Minister of Singapore. He is married to Ho Ching, who is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings. He is the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew....

, a former Brigadier General
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

, has been the Prime Minister since 2004. He is also the Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Private Limited is a sovereign wealth fund established by the Government of Singapore in 1981 to manage Singapore's foreign reserves...

 (GIC), of which Lee himself is the chairman. Lee's younger son, Lee Hsien Yang
Lee Hsien Yang
Lee Hsien Yang is the second son of Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew. He is currently the Non-Executive Director and Chairman of Fraser and Neave Limited and chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore ....

, is also a former Brigadier General and is a former President and Chief Executive Officer of SingTel
Singapore Telecommunications
Singapore Telecommunications Limited , commonly abbreviated as SingTel, is a Singaporean telecommunications company, with a combined mobile subscriber base of 416 million customers from its own operations and regional associates in 25 countries at end of June 2011 increased by 19 percent from a...

, a pan-Asian telecommunications giant and Singapore's largest company by market capitalisation (listed on the Singapore Exchange
Singapore Exchange
Singapore Exchange Limited is an investment holding company located in Singapore and providing different services related to securities and derivatives trading and others. SGX is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges and the Asian and Oceanian Stock Exchanges FederationSingapore Exchange...

, SGX). Fifty-six percent of SingTel is owned by Temasek Holdings
Temasek Holdings
Temasek Holdings is an investment company owned by the government of Singapore. With an international staff of 380 people, it manages a portfolio of about S$193 billion at end of March 2011, focused primarily in Asia...

, a prominent government holding company
Holding company
A holding company is a company or firm that owns other companies' outstanding stock. It usually refers to a company which does not produce goods or services itself; rather, its purpose is to own shares of other companies. Holding companies allow the reduction of risk for the owners and can allow...

 with controlling stakes in a variety of very large government-linked companies such as Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Limited is the flag carrier airline of Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets...

 and DBS Bank
DBS Bank
DBS Bank Ltd is a bank incorporated in Singapore. It was previously known as The Development Bank of Singapore Limited, before the present name was adopted in July 2003 to reflect its changing role as a regional bank....

. Temasek Holdings, in turn, is run by Executive Director and C.E.O. Ho Ching
Ho Ching
Ho Ching is the Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings and the wife of the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong...

, the wife of Lee Hsien Loong. Lee's daughter, Lee Wei Ling, runs the National Neuroscience Institute
National Neuroscience Institute
The National Neuroscience Institute is a medical institute located in Singapore specialising in the neurosciences. It is a national referral centre. There are over 20 subspecialties that are served.-History:...

. Lee's wife, Kwa Geok Choo
Kwa Geok Choo
Kwa Geok Choo was a Singaporean most widely known as the wife of Singapore's Minister Mentor and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and one of the partners in the law firm Lee & Lee. Kwa was also the mother of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong...

, used to be a partner of the prominent legal firm Lee & Lee.

Early life


Lee was educated at Telok Kurau Primary School
Telok Kurau Primary School
Telok Kurau Primary School is a government primary school on Bedok Reservoir Road in Bedok, Singapore. The school, which was founded on 6 September 1926 as Telok Kurau English School, was attended by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia's late Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn in its early...

, Raffles Institution (where he was a member of the 01 Raffles Scout Group), and Raffles College (now National University of Singapore
National University of Singapore
The National University of Singapore is Singapore's oldest university. It is the largest university in the country in terms of student enrollment and curriculum offered....

). His university education was delayed by World War II and the 1942–1945 Japanese occupation of Singapore
Japanese Occupation of Singapore
The Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II occurred between about 1942 and 1945 after the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942. Military forces of the Empire of Japan occupied Singapore after defeating the combined Australian, British, Indian and Malayan garrison in the Battle of Singapore...

. During the occupation, he operated a successful black market
Underground economy
A black market or underground economy is a market in goods or services which operates outside the formal one supported by established state power. Typically the totality of such activity is referred to with the definite article as a complement to the official economies, by market for such goods and...

 business selling tapioca
Tapioca
Tapioca is a starch extracted Manihot esculenta. This species, native to the Amazon, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and most of the West Indies, is now cultivated worldwide and has many names, including cassava, manioc, aipim,...

-based glue called Stikfas. Having taken Chinese and Japanese lessons since 1942, he was able to find work transcribing Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 wire reports for the Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

, as well as being the English-language editor on the Japanese Hodobu (報道部 – an information or propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 department) from 1943 to 1944.
After the war, he briefly attended the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 before moving to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Fitzwilliam College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge in England.The college traces its origins back to 1869 and the foundation of the Non-Collegiate Students Board, a venture intended to offer students from less financially privileged backgrounds a chance to study...

, 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
John Laycock
Christopher John Laycock, was a British lawyer, the founder of one of Singapore's earliest law firms, Laycock and Ong.It was in this firm that the man who would subsequently become Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, began his career as a lawyer in 1949 after graduating from Cambridge...

, a pioneer of multiracialism
Multiracialism
Multiracialism is a concept or ideology that promotes a society composed of various races, while accepting and respecting different cultural backgrounds...

 who, together with A.P. Rajah and C.C. Tan, had founded Singapore's first multiracial club open to Asians.

Pre-People's Action Party (PAP)


Lee's first experience with politics in Singapore was his role as election agent for John Laycock under the banner of the pro-British Progressive Party
Progressive Party (Singapore)
The Singapore Progressive Party , or just, the Progressive Party is a now defunct political party that was formed on August 25, 1947. It won the Legislative Assembly general elections in 1948 by winning half of the contested seats in the Legislative Assembly, 3 out of 6...

 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
Constitution of Singapore
The Constitution of Singapore is the supreme law of Singapore and it is a codified constitution.The constitution cannot be amended without the support of more than two-thirds of the members of parliament on the second and third readings . The president may seek opinion on constitutional issues...

 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
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 and students' union
Students' union
A students' union, student government, student senate, students' association, guild of students or government of student body is a student organization present in many colleges and universities, and has started appearing in some high schools...

s, which provided Lee with a link to the Chinese-speaking, working-class world. Later on in his career, his People's Action Party
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 (PAP) would use these historical links to unions as a negotiating tool in industrial disputes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

.

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
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

", 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
Malayan Communist Party
The Malayan Communist Party , officially known as the Communist Party of Malaya , was founded in 1930 and laid down its arms in 1989. It is most famous for its role in the Malayan Emergency.-Formation:...

 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
Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall
The Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall is a complex of two buildings and a clock tower joined together by a common corridor and is located in the civic district of Singapore...

, 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 won the Tanjong Pagar
Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency
Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency is currently a five-member Group Representation Constituency in central Singapore....

 seat in the 1955 elections . He became the opposition leader against David Saul Marshall
David Saul Marshall
David Saul Marshall was the leader of the Singapore Labour Front and became the first Chief Minister of Singapore in 1955....

's Labour Front
Labour Front
The Labour Front was a political party in Singapore. It was founded before the 1955 legislative council elections by David Saul Marshall, Singapore's first chief minister in 1955 and Lim Yew Hock, Singapore's second chief minister...

-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
Lim Yew Hock
Lim Yew Hock , later renamed Haji Omar Lim Yew Hock, was Singapore’s second Chief Minister from 1956 to 1959. He is known for suppressing the communist movements and leading the all-party delegation that won internal self-government for Singapore....

, 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. Fortunately for Lee and the party's moderate faction, Lim Yew Hock ordered a mass arrest
Mass arrest
A mass arrest occurs when the police apprehend large numbers of suspects at once. This sometimes occurs at illegal protests. Some mass arrests are also used in an effort combat gang activity. This is sometimes controversial, and lawsuits sometimes result...

 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.

Self-government administration – 1959 to 1963


In the national elections held on 1 June 1959, the PAP
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 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
Lim Yew Hock
Lim Yew Hock , later renamed Haji Omar Lim Yew Hock, was Singapore’s second Chief Minister from 1956 to 1959. He is known for suppressing the communist movements and leading the all-party delegation that won internal self-government for Singapore....

.
Before he took office, Lee demanded and secured the release of Lim Chin Siong
Lim Chin Siong
Lim Chin Siong was an influential leftwing politician and trade union leader in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s.-Early life:Born in Telok Ayer Street, Lim studied first in Johor, before entering Singapore’s Catholic High School and Chinese High School in 1949 and 1950 respectively...

 and Devan Nair
Devan Nair
Devan Nair a/l Chengara Veetil, also known as C. V. Devan Nair , was the third President of Singapore and was elected by Parliament on October 23, 1981. He served as President until his resignation on March 28, 1985.-Youth:Nair was born in Malacca, Malaysia, the son of an Indian immigrant I.V.K...

, 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
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

 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 a new party, the pro-communist Barisan Sosialis
Barisan Sosialis
The Barisan Sosialis is a former Singaporean left-wing political party formed in 1961, by left-wing members of the People's Action Party and led by Dr Lee Siew Choh and Lim Chin Siong.-Formation:...

. At its inception it had popular support rivalling 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 as well as the defections and labour unrest 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 Malaysia, then separation – 1963 to 1965



After Malayan Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. He is officially appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of state, who in HM's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House of Representatives , the...

 Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, AC, CH was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya from 1955, and the country's first Prime Minister from independence in 1957. He remained as the Prime Minister after Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore joined the...

 proposed the formation of a federation which would include Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

, Singapore, Sabah
Sabah
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south...

 and Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 in 1961, Lee began to campaign for a merger with Malaysia to end British colonial rule
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. 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 Malaysia. However, the union was short-lived. The Malaysian Central Government
Politics of Malaysia
The politics of Malaysia takes place in the framework of a federal constitutional monarchy, in which the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is head of state and the Prime Minister of Malaysia is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the federal government and the 13 state governments. ...

, ruled by the United Malays National Organisation
United Malays National Organisation
The United Malays National Organisation, is Malaysia's largest political party; a founding member of the National Front coalition, which has played a dominant role in Malaysian politics since independence....

 (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
Malaysian Malaysia
The phrase "Malaysian Malaysia" was originally used in the early 1960s as the rallying motto of the Malaysian Solidarity Council, a confederation of political parties formed to oppose Article 153 of the Constitution of 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
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

'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
Goh Keng Swee
Goh Keng Swee was the second Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore between 1973 and 1984, and a Member of Parliament for the Kreta Ayer constituency for a quarter of a century. Born in Malacca in the Straits Settlements into a Peranakan family, he came to Singapore at the age of two years...

 that the secession was inevitable. Lee 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 on television that day, he broke down emotionally as he formally announced the separation and the full independence of Singapore:

"For me, it is a moment of anguish. All my life, my whole adult life, I... I believed in Malaysian merger and unity of the two territories. You know that we, as a people are connected by geography, economics, by ties of kinship... It literally broke everything that we stood for.... Now, I, Lee Kuan Yew, as Prime Minister of Singapore, in this current capacity of mine 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 same day, 9 August 1965, just as the press conference ended, 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.

Prime Minister, post-independence – 1965 to 1990


In his autobiography, Lee 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
High Commissioner (Commonwealth)
In the Commonwealth of Nations, a High Commissioner is the senior diplomat in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another.-History:...

 to Singapore, John Robb, British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

 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
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 on 25 May 1973, just a few years after the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation under Sukarno
Sukarno
Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo was the first President of Indonesia.Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first President from 1945 to 1967...

'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
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 was the dominant language at that time. Together with efforts from the government and ruling party, Lee tried to create a unique Singaporean identity
Culture of Singapore
Singapore was a part of British Malaya for many centuries. It was ruled by the Sultanate of Johor. In 1819, the British came to the Island and set up a port and colony. During British rule, the port of Singapore flourished and attracted many migrants...

 in the 1970s and 1980s—one which heavily recognised racial consciousness within the umbrella of multiculturalism
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

.

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
Proselytism
Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος...

 directed at Malays. In 1974 the government advised the Bible Society of Singapore to stop publishing religious materials in Malay.

Decisions and policies


Lee Kuan Yew 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 and Indonesia with its Confrontation stance. As Singapore gained admission to the UN, Lee quickly sought international recognition of Singapore's independence. He declared a policy of neutrality
Neutrality (international relations)
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 and non-alignment, following Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

's model. At the same time, he asked Goh Keng Swee
Goh Keng Swee
Goh Keng Swee was the second Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore between 1973 and 1984, and a Member of Parliament for the Kreta Ayer constituency for a quarter of a century. Born in Malacca in the Straits Settlements into a Peranakan family, he came to Singapore at the age of two years...

 to build up the Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

 (SAF) and requested help from other countries, particularly Israel, for advice, training and facilities.

The economy


Lee always placed great importance on developing the economy, and his attention to detail on this aspect went even to the extent of connecting it with other facets of Singapore, including the country's extensive and meticulous tending of its international image of being a "Garden City", something that has been sustained to this day.

Government policies


Like many countries, Singapore had problems with political corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

. Lee introduced legislation giving the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau is a government agency in Singapore which investigates and prosecutes corruption in the public and private sectors...

 (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.

In the late 1960s, fearing that Singapore's growing population might overburden the developing economy, Lee started a vigorous Stop at Two family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

 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 rebate
Tax refund
A tax refund or tax rebate is a refund on taxes when the tax liability is less than the taxes paid. Taxpayers can often get a tax refund on their income tax if the tax they owe is less than the sum of the total amount of the withholding taxes and estimated taxes that they paid, plus the...

s.

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
Social Development Unit
The Social Development Network , formerly known as "Social Development Unit" , is a governmental body under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports which works closely with the community and commercial sectors to foster opportunities for singles to interact in social settings in...

 (SDU) was set up to promote socialising among men and women graduates. In the Graduate Mothers Scheme, 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
Birth rate
Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

 had fallen so low that Lee's successor Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong is the Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He also served as the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004, succeeding Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime...

 extended these incentives to all married women, and gave even more incentives, such as the 'baby bonus' scheme.

Corporal punishment



One of Lee Kuan Yew's abiding beliefs has been in the efficacy of corporal punishment
Corporal punishment
Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable...

 in the form of caning
Caning
Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits with a single cane usually made of rattan, generally applied to the offender's bare or clothed buttocks or hand . Application of a cane to the knuckles or the shoulders has been much less common...

. 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."

Lee's government inherited judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment
Judicial corporal punishment refers to the infliction of corporal punishment as a result of a sentence by a court of law. The punishment can be flogging, caning, birching, whipping, or strapping...

 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. By 1993 it was mandatory for 42 offences and optional for a further 42. 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 and to 6,404 in 2007.

It was in 1994, with the intensely publicised caning, under that vandalism legislation, of the American teenager Michael Fay
Michael P. Fay
Michael Peter Fay is an American who briefly shot to international notoriety when he was sentenced to caning in Singapore as an 18-year-old in 1994 for theft and vandalism...

, that judicial caning came to the notice of the rest of the world.

School corporal punishment (for male students only) was likewise inherited from the British, and this is in widespread use to discipline disobedient schoolboys, still under 1957 legislation. Lee also introduced caning in the Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

, and Singapore is one of few countries in the world where corporal punishment is an official penalty in military discipline.

Mahathir bin Mohamad


Lee looked forward to improving relationships with Mahathir bin Mohamad
Mahathir bin Mohamad
Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad . is a Malaysian politician who was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He held the post for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, making him Malaysia's longest serving Prime Minister. His political career spanned almost 40 years.Born and raised in Alor Setar, Kedah, Mahathir...

 upon the latter's promotion to Deputy Prime Minister. Knowing that Mahathir was in line to become the next Prime Minister of Malaysia
Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. He is officially appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of state, who in HM's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House of Representatives , the...

, Lee invited Mahathir (through the then President of Singapore
President of Singapore
The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, as which Singapore governs itself, the prime minister is the head of the government while the position of president is largely ceremonial. Before 1993, the President of Singapore was...

 Devan Nair
Devan Nair
Devan Nair a/l Chengara Veetil, also known as C. V. Devan Nair , was the third President of Singapore and was elected by Parliament on October 23, 1981. He served as President until his resignation on March 28, 1985.-Youth:Nair was born in Malacca, Malaysia, the son of an Indian immigrant I.V.K...

) 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
Democratic Action Party
The Democratic Action Party, or DAP is a secular, multi-racial, social democratic Malaysian political party.The DAP is one of the three major opposition parties in Malaysia, along with the PKR and PAS, that are seen as electable alternatives to the Barisan Nasional coalition of parties...

; in exchange, Mahathir undertook not to interfere in the affairs of Malay Singaporean
Malays in Singapore
Malays in Singapore are defined by the Singaporean government using the broader and antiquated "Malay race" concept, rather than modern-day Malay ethnic group. Although Malays have inhabited the area that is now Singapore since the 17th century, most of the Malays in Singapore today are immigrants...

s.

In June 1988, Lee and Mahathir reached an agreement in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

 to build the Linggui dam on the Johor River
Johor River
Johor River is the main river in the Malaysian state of Johor. The river is 122.7km long and flows in a roughly north-south direction, originating from Mount Gemuruh and then empties into the Strait of Johor. Its major tributaries are Sayong, Linggui, Tiram and Lebam Rivers. Its banks are also...

.

Senior Minister – 1990 to 2004


After leading the PAP
People's Action Party
The People's Action Party is the leading political party in Singapore. It has been the city-state's ruling political party since 1959....

 to victory in seven elections, Lee stepped down on 28 November 1990, handing over the prime ministership
Prime Minister of Singapore
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore is the head of the government of the Republic of Singapore. The President of Singapore appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs.The office of Prime Minister...

 to Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong
Goh Chok Tong is the Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He also served as the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004, succeeding Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime...

. He was then the world's longest-serving Prime Minister.

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
Senior Minister
Senior Minister is a political office in the political system of Singapore taken by a prime minister or senior cabinet minister when he or she retires from that office, but still has something to offer the government based on his or her long experience...

 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. He has 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
Secretary-General
-International intergovernmental organizations:-International nongovernmental organizations:-Sports governing bodies:...

 of the PAP and was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong in November 1992.

Minister Mentor – 2004 to 2011


Since the early 2000s, Lee has expressed concern about the declining proficiency of Mandarin
Singaporean Mandarin
Singaporean Mandarin is a variety of Mandarin Chinese widely spoken in Singapore. It is one of the four official languages of Singapore along with English, Malay and Tamil....

 among younger Chinese Singaporeans. In one of his parliamentary speeches, he said: "Singaporeans must learn to juggle English and Mandarin". Subsequently, in December 2004, a one-year long campaign called 华语 Cool! (Huayu Cool!) was launched, in an attempt to attract young viewers to learn and speak Mandarin.

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
China Central Television
China Central Television or Chinese Central Television, commonly abbreviated as CCTV, is the major state television broadcaster in mainland China. CCTV has a network of 19 channels broadcasting different programmes and is accessible to more than one billion viewers...

 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."


In November 2010, Lee's private conversations with US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg
James Steinberg
James Braidy "Jim" Steinberg is an American academic and political advisor, and former Deputy Secretary of State. He is currently Dean and Professor of Social Science, International Affairs, and Law at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.-Early career:He...

 on 30 May 2009 were among the US Embassy cables leak
United States diplomatic cables leak
The United States diplomatic cables leak, widely known as Cablegate, began in February 2010 when WikiLeaks—a non-profit organization that publishes submissions from anonymous whistleblowers—began releasing classified cables that had been sent to the U.S. State Department by 274 of its consulates,...

ed by WikiLeaks
Wikileaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

. In a US Embassy report classified as 'Secret', Lee gave his assessment of a number of Asian leaders and views on political developments in North Asia, including implications for nuclear proliferation. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed deep concern about the leaks, especially when read out of context, and the need to protect confidentiality of diplomatic correspondence.

In January 2011, Straits Times Press published the book Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going. Targeted at younger Singaporeans, it was based on 16 interviews with the Minister Mentor by seven local journalists in 2008–2009. The first print run of 45,000 copies sold out in less than a month after it was launched in January 2011. Another batch of 55,000 copies was made available shortly after.

After Singapore General Elections 2011 in which the Opposition made unprecedented gains by winning a Group Representative Constituency, Lee announced that he has decided to leave the Cabinet for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his team to have a fresh clean slate.

Legacy


During the three decades in which Lee held office, Singapore grew from being a developing country
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

 to one of the most developed nation
Developed country
A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

s in Asia, despite its small population, limited land space and lack of natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s. 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. Indeed, for many people in Singapore and other countries, Lee is inextricably linked with their perceptions of Singapore's country brand.

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
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 has asked Lee, and other senior Singaporean officials, to stop taking libel actions against journalists.

In 2004 the National University of Singapore
National University of Singapore
The National University of Singapore is Singapore's oldest university. It is the largest university in the country in terms of student enrollment and curriculum offered....

 Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy is a school of the National University of Singapore . It was established in 1992 as the Master of Public Policy Programme under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of National University of Singapore in collaboration with the Kennedy School of Government...

 was named after him, one of the first cases of an institution in Singapore doing so.

Memoirs


Lee wrote a two-volume set of memoirs: The Singapore Story (ISBN 0-13-020803-5), which covers his view of Singapore's history
History of Singapore
The history of Singapore dates to the 11th century. The island rose in importance during the 14th century under the rule of Srivijayan prince Parameswara and became an important port until it was destroyed by Acehnese raiders in 1613. The modern history of Singapore began in 1819 when Englishman...

 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 decoration
    State decoration
    State decorations are orders, medals and other decorations granted by a state. International decorations are similar, but are not granted by a specific nation but rather an international organization....

    s, including the Order of the Companions of Honour
    Order of the Companions of Honour
    The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

     (1970), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
    Order of St Michael and St George
    The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

     (1972), the Freedom of the City of London
    City of London
    The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

     (1982), the Seri Paduka Mahkota Johor
    Order of the Crown of Johor
    The Most Illustrious Order of the Crown of Johor, or Seri Paduka Mahkota Johor, is a chivalrous medal awarded by the Sultan of Johor. It was first instituted July 31, 1886.It is awarded in three classes:...

     (1984), the Order of Great Leader (1988) and the Order of the Rising Sun
    Order of the Rising Sun
    The is a Japanese order, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. The Order was the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government, created on April 10, 1875 by decree of the Council of State. The badge features rays of sunlight from the rising sun...

     (1967).
  • Lee was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize
    Ig Nobel Prize
    The Ig Nobel Prizes are an American parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year in early October for ten unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to "first make people laugh, and then make them think"...

     in 1994.
  • In 2002, Lee was formally admitted to the Fellowship of Imperial College London
    Imperial College London
    Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine...

     in recognition of his promotion of international trade and industry, and development of science and engineering study initiatives with the UK.
  • In 2006, Lee was presented with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
    Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
    The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars , located in Washington, D.C., is a United States Presidential Memorial that was established as part of the Smithsonian Institution by an act of Congress in 1968...

    .
  • In 2007, Lee was conferred an honorary Doctorate in Law at the Australian National University
    Australian National University
    The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

     in Canberra
    Canberra
    Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

    , albeit amid protest from students and staff.
  • 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
    United States Secretary of State
    The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

     and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize
    Nobel Peace Prize
    The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

     winner, Dr Henry Kissinger
    Henry Kissinger
    Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

     said:
    "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
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

 a day later, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 introduced him as:
"... 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
    Order of Friendship
    The Order of Friendship is a state decoration of Russia established by decree # 442 of March 2, 1994 of the President of the Russian Federation....

     by President Dmitry Medvedev
    Dmitry Medvedev
    Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the third President of the Russian Federation.Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint...

     on the sidelines of APEC Singapore 2009
    APEC Singapore 2009
    Singapore hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings from February to November 2009. The APEC 2009 meetings will culminate in the 17th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting , where Leaders of APEC's 21 member economies will meet from 14 to 15 November 2009.-Theme:The theme for 2009 is...

    .
  • On 29 April 2010, Lee was named in the TIME 100 list as one of the people who most affect our world.
  • On 14 January 2011, Lee received the inaugural Gryphon Award from his alma mater, Raffles Institution, given to illustrious Rafflesians who have made exceptional contributions to the nation.
  • On 19 October 2011, Lee received the Lincoln Medal in Washington DC — an honor reserved for people who have exemplified the legacy and character embodied by former US President Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

    .

Health


On 13 September 2008, Lee, then 84, underwent successful treatment for abnormal heart rhythm (atrial flutter
Atrial flutter
Atrial flutter is an abnormal heart rhythm that occurs in the atria of the heart. When it first occurs, it is usually associated with a fast heart rate or tachycardia , and falls into the category of supra-ventricular tachycardias. While this rhythm occurs most often in individuals with...

) at Singapore General Hospital
Singapore General Hospital
The Singapore General Hospital is the largest and oldest hospital in Singapore, of which the foundation of its first building was laid in 1821....

, but he was still able to address a philanthropy forum via video link from hospital.
On 28 September 2010, he was hospitalized for a chest infection, cancelling plans to attend the wake of Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Balaji Sadasivan.

On a Sunday Times column on 6 November 2011, Lee's daughter Wei Ling revealed that Lee, 88, suffers from peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is the term for damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system, which may be caused either by diseases of or trauma to the nerve or the side-effects of systemic illness....

.
In the column, she recounted how she first noticed her father's ailments when she accompanied her father to meet former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 in Connecticut in October 2009. Wei Ling, a neurologist, "did a few simple neurological tests and decided the nerves to his legs were not working as they should". A day later, when interviewed at a constituency event, Lee Kuan Yew stated "I have no doubt at all that this has not affected my mind, my will nor my resolve" and "People in wheel chairs can make a contribution. I've still got two legs, I make a contribution."

Devan Nair


Devan Nair
Devan Nair
Devan Nair a/l Chengara Veetil, also known as C. V. Devan Nair , was the third President of Singapore and was elected by Parliament on October 23, 1981. He served as President until his resignation on March 28, 1985.-Youth:Nair was born in Malacca, Malaysia, the son of an Indian immigrant I.V.K...

, the third President of Singapore
President of Singapore
The President of the Republic of Singapore is Singapore's head of state. In a Westminster parliamentary system, as which Singapore governs itself, the prime minister is the head of the government while the position of president is largely ceremonial. Before 1993, the President of Singapore was...

 and who was living in exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, remarked in a 1999 interview with the Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail is a nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, based in Toronto and printed in six cities across the country. With a weekly readership of approximately 1 million, it is Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper after the Toronto Star...

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
Government of Singapore
The Government of Singapore is defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore to mean the Executive branch of government, which is made up of the President and the Cabinet of Singapore. Although the President acts in his personal discretion in the exercise of certain functions as a check...

. However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice
Ontario Superior Court of Justice
The Superior Court of Justice is the superior court of general jurisdiction for the Province of Ontario, Canada. It is the successor to the former Ontario Court of Justice , and was created on April 19, 1999...

 refused to throw out Nair's counterclaim, holding that Lee had abused the litigating process and therefore Nair has a reasonable cause of action.

Defamation judgment


On 24 September 2008 the High Court of Singapore
High Court of Singapore
The High Court of the Republic of Singapore is the lower division of the Supreme Court of Singapore, the upper being the Court of Appeal. It consists of the Chief Justice of Singapore and the Judges of the High Court. Judicial Commissioners are often appointed to assist with the Court's caseload...

, in a summary judgment
Summary judgment
In law, a summary judgment is a determination made by a court without a full trial. Such a judgment may be issued as to the merits of an entire case, or of specific issues in that case....

 by Justice Woo Bih Li
Woo Bih Li
Justice Woo Bih Li is a judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore.Justice Woo received his LL.B. from the University of Singapore in 1977, and was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court the following year. He joined the law firm Allen & Gledhill in 1970 and in 1992, he...

, ruled that the Far Eastern Economic Review
Far Eastern Economic Review
The Far Eastern Economic Review was an English language Asian news magazine started in 1946. It printed its final issue in December 2009. The Hong Kong-based business magazine was originally published weekly...

(FEER) magazine (Hugo Restall, editor), defamed Lee and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong
Lee Hsien Loong is the third and current Prime Minister of Singapore. He is married to Ho Ching, who is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Holdings. He is the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew....

. The court found the 2006 article "Singapore's 'Martyr': Chee Soon Juan
Chee Soon Juan
Chee Soon Juan, PhD is a politician and political activist from Singapore. He is currently the leader of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party ....

" meant that Lee Kuan Yew "has been running and continues to run Singapore in the same corrupt manner as T. T. Durai
T. T. Durai
Thambirajah Tharmadurai , better known as T. T. Durai, is the former Chief Executive Officer of the National Kidney Foundation Singapore . He is the central figure in the National Kidney Foundation Singapore scandal and was jailed for corruption charges.Durai was once highly respected as the head...

 operated the National Kidney Foundation
National Kidney Foundation Singapore
The National Kidney Foundation Singapore is a Singapore-based foundation running kidney dialysis and prevention programmes. It is fully supported by charity donations.-Beginnings:...

 (NKF) and he has been using libel actions to suppress those who would question to avoid exposure of his corruption." The court sentenced FEER, owned by Dow Jones & Company
Dow Jones & Company
Dow Jones & Company is an American publishing and financial information firm.The company was founded in 1882 by three reporters: Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser. Like The New York Times and the Washington Post, the company was in recent years publicly traded but privately...

 (in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC, KSG is an Australian-American business magnate. He is the founder and Chairman and CEO of , the world's second-largest media conglomerate....

's News Corp), to pay damages
Damages
In law, damages is an award, typically of money, to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury; grammatically, it is a singular noun, not plural.- Compensatory damages :...

 to the complainants. FEER appealed but lost the case when the Court of Appeal ruled in October 2009 that the Far Eastern Economic Review defamed the country's founder Lee Kuan Yew and his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

External links



Interviews and articles
  • A Conversation with Lee Kuan Yew, Fareed Zakaria
    Fareed Zakaria
    Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian-American journalist and author. From 2000 to 2010, he was a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International. In 2010 he became Editor-At-Large of Time magazine...

    , Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

    , March–April 1994
  • War of Words Alejandro Reyes, Time
    Time (magazine)
    Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

    , 25 September 1998
  • Lee Kuan Yew: A Chronology, 1923–1965 Largely based on Lee Kuan Yew, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew. Singapore: Times, 1998. Retrieved 8 December 2004
  • Part 1, Part 2: CNN
    CNN
    Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

    , Fareed Zakaria talks with Lee Kuan Yew about his life as prime minister of Singapore, 22 September 2008
  • Daddy knows best: The Lee Kuan Yew story, Tom Plate, Sify.com, 2010(?)
  • Lee Kuan Yew Watch
  • Official Profile at the Parliament of Singapore
    Parliament of Singapore
    The Parliament of the Republic of Singapore and the President jointly make up the legislature of Singapore. Parliament is unicameral and is made up of Members of Parliament who are elected, as well as Non-constituency Members of Parliament and Nominated Members of Parliament who are appointed...

     (archived)


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