Malaysian leaders today expressed their condolences on the death of former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
“I am saddened to hear about the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, founding prime minister of Singapore,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in a statement today.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and family.”
Kuan Yew, who became Singapore’s first prime minister in 1959, died at 3.18am today at Singapore General Hospital, where he had been admitted on February 5 suffering from pneumonia.
A British-educated lawyer, Kuan Yew is widely credited with building Singapore into one of the world’s wealthiest nations on a per capita basis.
In his statement, Najib paid tribute to Kuan Yew’s determination in developing Singapore into a modern city.
“His achievements were great, and his legacy is assured,” Najib said.
“Malaysia is committed to the future of our relationship with Singapore; to peace, stability and shared prosperity between our nations, and within Asean as a whole.”
Meanwhile, PKR hailed Kuan Yew as “a nation-builder like the late Tunku Abdul Rahman”, saying that Singapore had “lost an important figure who has done much for his country”.
“We must take stock of his efforts in administering Singapore, which focused the welfare of the people regardless of race or religion,” party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said in a statement today.
“As the founder and first prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew initiated developmental policies that were transparent and efficient, and was successful at attracting foreign investors to the point that his country was dubbed the ‘Swiss of Asia’.
“We hope that the close and warm ties between Southeast Asian neighbours initiated during the time of Lee Kuan Yew and other past leaders can only be strengthened from hereon,” she said.
Singapore declared a period of national mourning from today until March 29. State flags on all government buildings will be flown at half-mast from today until Sunday.
A private family wake will be held today and tomorrow at Sri Temasek.
Kuan Yew’s body will lie in state at Parliament House from Wednesday until Saturday for the public to pay their respects.
The state funeral will be held at 2pm on March 29 at the University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore. He will be cremated at Mandai Crematorium. – March 23, 2015.