Lee Kuan Yew
|1st Prime Minister of Singapore|
5 June 1959 – 27 November 1990
Wee Kim Wee
|Deputy||Toh Chin Chye|
Goh Keng Swee
Goh Chok Tong
Ong Teng Cheong
|Preceded by||Lim Yew Hock|
(as Chief Minister)
|Succeeded by||Goh Chok Tong|
|Member of Parliament|
for Tanjong Pagar
22 April 1955 – 23 March 2015
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Constituency||Tanjong Pagar SMC|
Tanjong Pagar GRC
|Secretary-General of the People's Action Party|
21 November 1954 – 14 November 1992
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Goh Chok Tong|
Harry Lee Kuan Yew
16 September 1923
Singapore, Straits Settlements
|Died||23 March 2015 (aged 91)|
|Resting place||Mandai Crematorium|
|Political party||People's Action Party|
(m. 1950; died 2010)
|Children||Lee Hsien Loong (son)|
Lee Wei Ling (daughter)
Lee Hsien Yang (son)
|Relatives||Chua Jim Neo (mother)|
|Education||Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (BA)|
|Lee Kuan Yew|
Lee Kuan Yew (16 September 1923 – 23 March 2015), born Harry Lee Kuan Yew, often referred to by his initials LKY and in his earlier years as Harry Lee, was a Singaporean statesman and barrister who served as Prime Minister of Singapore between 1959 and 1990, and Secretary-General of the People's Action Party between 1954 and 1992. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tanjong Pagar from 1955 until his death in 2015. Lee is widely recognised as the nation's founding father.
Lee was born in Singapore during British colonial rule. He gained an educational scholarship to Raffles College (now the National University of Singapore). During the Japanese occupation, Lee escaped being the victim of a purge before he worked in private enterprises and as an administration service officer for the Japanese propaganda office. After World War II ended, Lee briefly attended the London School of Economics, before transferring to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, graduating in 1947. He qualified as a barrister and was called to the Bar from the Middle Temple in 1950, before campaigning for the British to relinquish its colonial rule upon returning to Singapore.
Lee co-founded the People's Action Party (PAP) in 1954 and won his first seat at the Tanjong Pagar division in the 1955 election. He became the de facto opposition leader in the legislature to Chief Ministers David Marshall and Lim Yew Hock of the Labour Front. Lee led his party to its first electoral victory in 1959, and was appointed as the state's first prime minister. To attain complete home rule from Britain, Lee campaigned for a merger with other former British territories in a national referendum to form Malaysia in 1963. Racial strife and ideological differences led to Singapore's explusion to become a sovereign country in 1965, less than two years after the merger.
With overwhelming parliamentary control at every general election, Lee oversaw Singapore's transformation into a developed country with a high-income economy within his premiership. In the process, he forged a highly effective, anti-corrupt government and civil service. Lee eschewed populist policies in favour of long-term social and economic planning, championing civic nationalism through meritocracy and multiracialism as governing principles, making English the lingua franca to integrate its immigrant society and to facilitate trade with the world, whilst mandating bilingualism in schools to preserve the students' mother tongue and ethnic identity. Lee stepped down as prime minister in 1990, but remained in the Cabinet under his successors, holding the appointments of Senior Minister until 2004, then Minister Mentor until 2011. He died of pneumonia on 23 March 2015, at the age of 91. In a week of national mourning, about 1.7 million Singapore residents and world leaders paid tribute to him at his lying-in-state at Parliament House and community tribute sites.
An advocate for Asian values and a proponent of pragmatism, Lee's premiership especially in the West was described as being semi-authoritarian and characterised as a sort of a hybrid regime or a guided democracy. Critics had accused him of his attempts to curtail press freedoms, imposing narrow limits on public protests, restricting labour movements from industrial or strike action through anti-union legislation and co-option, and bringing defamation lawsuits against prominent political opponents. However, others argue his actions as having been necessary for the country's early development, and that he was in general a benevolent leader.
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