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LEE KUAN YEW 1923 - 2015

Remembering an extraordinary human being

As Singapore continues to mourn former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, condolences and tributes streamed in from political figures, various institutions and members of the business community.

Wee Cho Yaw, UOB chairman emeritus, attending the private family wake for Mr Lee Kuan Yew at Sri Temasek on Tuesday.

The Aranda Lee Kuan Yew orchid that was specially bred in honour of Singapore's founding prime minister.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching, with children from Hampton Pre-School at the private wake on Tuesday.

Harry Lee was an extraordinary human being. I have always considered him one of the wisest and most intelligent people I have ever known . . . I often travelled to Singapore and, with all due respect to the appeal of the city, the real reason was to see Harry Lee.

- George P Shultz, distinguished fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and former US secretary of state

Our founding PM Lee Kuan Yew loved nature and visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens whenever he could. My colleagues in NParks enjoyed taking him around in the buggy. They have a great deal of respect and affection for Mr Lee. Deep in our hearts, we know who the Chief Gardener of Singapore's Garden City was.

- Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development

By the time I served Mr Lee, he was the senior minister. Yet, he continued to devote all his time to thinking about the future of Singapore. I could only imagine what he was like as prime minister. In policy and strategy terms, he was always driving himself, me, and all our colleagues to think about what each trend and development meant for Singapore, and how we should respond to it in order to secure Singapore's well-being and success.

- Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education

Over numerous visits to Singapore, I got to know him and admire his judgement and unrivalled insight. Of course, he was also a vacuum cleaner when it came to hoovering up every piece of information from others . . . The people of Singapore have so much to thank him and bless him for.

So do we all.

- Peter Mandelson, life peer, House of Lords

Singapore largely owes its status as one of the world's most important aviation hubs to Mr Lee's vision. As an airline with close ties to Asia, the Qantas Group has benefited greatly from this vision; he welcomed investment and forged closer ties with Australia. Mr Lee has left a deep and lasting legacy, and we share Singapore's loss at the passing of a great man.

- Qantas Group

His courage in overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds especially in our early years of nation building is an example for all to follow as we tackle the challenges ahead. As the founding father of modern Singapore and a true visionary, Mr Lee's presence will be dearly missed.

- Singapore Manufacturing Federation

As the first prime minister of Singapore, he championed a constructive brand of tripartism. He was not detached from the everyday affairs concerning our workers. Instead, he forged reforms and introduced policies that improved our economy, transformed our nation and gave us hope of a better life . . . Our heavy hearts are filled with sadness, but also gratitude.

- Diana Chia, president, and Lim Swee Say, secretary-general, National Trades Union Congress

Lee Kuan Yew was one of the greatest men in the world and a real symbol of the fact that for a great leader nothing is impossible . . . He was a real friend of Russia and did much for our country.

- Herman Gref, president and chairman of the board of Sberbank of Russia

Even as all Singaporeans weigh the profound loss of Mr Lee's passing, the impact he has made on modern Singapore is enduring and will continue to inspire many . . . As we mark Singapore's 50th birthday as an independent state this year, it will be especially painful and poignant that Mr Lee will not attend this year's National Day celebrations.

- Chan Heng Chee, chairman, National Arts Council

Today, the world has lost a visionary statesman, a founding father and a friend. He was the architect of modern Singapore, and the country has flourished under his stewardship and earned its reputation on the global stage as an economic powerhouse.

- Francis Yeoh, managing director, YTL Corporation

I have always admired his unwavering conviction and his ability to make the tough decisions necessary since Singapore first obtained its independence. We needed a courageous man with sheer determination, vision and intelligence to be able to take the course he charted for his fellow Singaporeans.

- Choe Peng Sum, CEO, Frasers Hospitality

After he graduated from the University of Cambridge, he was admitted to the English Bar in 1950. Mr Lee returned home and became legal adviser to the Postal Union. Mr Lee succeeded in obtaining better pay and conditions for the postal workers. SingPost owes a special debt to Mr Lee in forging a strong labour relationship since then . . . We at SingPost honour the memory of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

- SingPost board of directors, management and staff

Mr Lee, an honorary fellow of Fitzwilliam College, was also the founding president of CUMSA . . . Post-independence, Mr Lee sought to make Singapore internationally relevant and recognised. By focusing on national defence, law, and diplomacy, he attracted global investments in strategic sectors, to which Singapore's progress and prosperity today can be attributed.

- The CUMSA (Cambridge University Malaysia and Singapore Association) Committee 15/16

Mr Lee Kuan Yew dedicated his life to creating a favourable business environment to attract sustained investments which enabled businesses to prosper and workers to have good jobs and a higher standard of living.

- Robert Yap, president, Singapore National Employers Federation


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