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Lee Kuan Yew left nothing to chance when governing Singapore: PM Lee

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 17:03

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Three generations of younger ministers in Singapore benefited from the late Lee Kuan Yew's experience and insights, his views and concerns, and his thoughts for the country's future.

THREE generations of younger ministers in Singapore benefited from the late Lee Kuan Yew's experience and insights, his views and concerns, and his thoughts for the country's future.

"For nearly half a century, here in this room, we had a level of discussion and decision-making that would have been exceptional in any Cabinet room in the world," said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before the start of a Cabinet meeting at the Istana on Wednesday, the first anniversary of the death of Singapore's founding prime minister.

"(Mr Lee) himself made an enormous effort to ensure that his successors succeeded. Even after he stepped down as Prime Minister, he continued to attend Cabinet meetings as Senior Minister and Minister Mentor," said PM Lee.

He added that the new Cabinet - formed after last September's general election - was a new team, dealing with a changed world in new ways, but always inspired by the late Mr Lee's example and his memory.

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"These will guide us as we in our turn follow the rainbow that Mr Lee himself chased all his life - to build an exceptional nation and to improve the lives of all Singaporeans," he said.

PM Lee shared how Mr Lee, during his time as prime minister from 1959 to 1990, kept an "eagle's eye" on every aspect of Singapore, be it the health of the economy, the state of foreign relations, the trees along the expressway or the cleanliness of the Singapore River.

"He left nothing to chance. Yet, he knew that he could not control everything personally, and that even more so another Prime Minister would have to govern in a different way. He advised us that one could not use ten fingers to catch ten fleas, quoting Mao. One had to focus on the important things and build a team," said PM Lee.

The Cabinet later observed a minute's silence for the elder statesman, who died on March 23 last year at the age of 91.

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