Singapore former PM Lee Kuan Yew passes away at age of 91

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-3-23 9:04:26

Photo: Xinhua

Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister of Singapore, died at 3:18 am on Monday at the age of 91, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office ( PMO) on Monday.

Lee passed away "peacefully", the statement said.

Lee had been in hospital for severe pneumonia since Feb. 5. PMO said his condition was "slightly improved" on Feb. 28, but worsened due to an infection on March 17. His condition had hence remained "critically ill" until PMO issued a statement at noon on Saturday, saying that his condition had again "worsened".

His ill health had prevented him from attending public and constituency events in recent months. His latest appearances were at the People's Action Party's 60th anniversary celebrations in November last year and his constituency's Tree Planting Day earlier the same month.

As a MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC (Group Representation Constituency), he also attended Tanjong Pagar GRC's National Day dinner in August 2014.

Lee served as Singapore's prime minister from 1959 till 1990.

Born in September 1923 into a family of Chinese descent, Lee did well in high school and later majored in law at Cambridge.

He married Kwa Geok Choo in 1950 and they have two sons and a daughter. His eldest son Lee Hsien Loong became the third prime minister of Singapore in August 2004.

Lee had a fairly tough experience during the Japanese occupation of Singapore from 1942 to 1945.

Lee, who returned to Singapore in 1949 as a lawyer, helped with local elections and also worked as a legal advisor to labor unions.

In November 1954, Lee, together with a group of fellow English- educated middle class men, formed the socialist People's Action Party (PAP), and Lee served as its secretary-general.

Lee won the Tanjong Pagar seat in the 1955 elections. He led the PAP to a national election victory in 1959 and was sworn in as the prime minister of the autonomous government.

In September 1963, Singapore became part of Malaysia in a short- lived union. In August 1965, Singapore was expelled from Malaysia, and hence the Republic of Singapore was created.

Lee served as the prime minister of Singapore till 1990 when he handed over power to Goh Chok Tong.

Lee tried to create a unique Singaporean identity in the early decades of the republic by recognizing the multiracial reality and stress multicultural harmony.

He stressed the rule of law and clean government.

Lee remained a member of the cabinet as senior minister and, later, minister mentor before stepping down in 2011.

Lee was active in recent years attending dialogue sessions and fora and writing books to "disseminate his wisdom."

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Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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