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Lee Kuan Yew "lived and breathed Singapore" all his life: PM Lee

SINGAPORE has lost its founding father Lee Kuan Yew, a man who "lived and breathed" Singapore all his life, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.

Delivering the first of ten eulogies at the state funeral service held at the University Cultural Centre, an emotional PM Lee reflected on how the past seven days since his father's death on Monday had been a "dark week" for the country.

"The light that has guided us all these years has been extinguished," said PM Lee, the older of Mr Lee's two sons.

Speaking in English, Malay and Chinese, he recapped his father's life story, detailing how he built Singapore into the successful nation it is today.

"He instilled discipline and order - ensuring that in Singapore, every problem gets fixed. He educated our young. He transformed labour relations from strikes and confrontation to tripartism and cooperation. He campaigned to upgrade skills and raise productivity, calling their effort a marathon with no finish line," said PM Lee.

"He enabled his economic team - Goh Keng Swee, Hon Sui Sen, Lim Kim San - to design and carry out their plans to attract investments, grow the economy, and create prosperity and jobs. As he said, 'I settled the political conditions so that tough policies could be executed'."

PM Lee said that his father's principles and ideals would continue to invigorate the government and guide the people. "His life will inspire Singaporeans and others, for generations to come," he said.

Speaking after him, President Tony Tan Keng Yam hailed the late Mr Lee for his achievement in pulling together a strong team of leaders from diverse backgrounds when he first became prime minister back in 1959.

"He ensured that positions in government were filled by the most capable people, rather than those with connections or money," said Dr Tan, noting how Mr Lee took severe measures to curb corruption here.

"By ensuring that our government and economy stayed honest, accountable and free of corruption, Mr Lee assured investors and companies that Singapore was the right place for their investments. Companies from around the world came, and continue to come to Singapore - creating opportunities for employment, learning and growth for Singaporeans," he added.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who became Singapore's second prime minister in 1990 after Mr Lee stepped down, said Mr Lee would always be his teacher in life.

"He was always scanning the future, anticipating challenges, pre-empting problems, and thinking out solutions. He shared with the Cabinet useful articles, his conversations with world leaders, and insights from overseas trips. He studied best practices and explored innovative ideas for Singapore. Where there were no precedents, he thought out creative and practical solutions," said Mr Goh.

Among the other speakers at the three-hour service were Mr Lee's second son Lee Hsien Yang, and former cabinet ministers Ong Pang Boon and S Dhanabalan.

For all our coverage on the death of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew:

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