Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew
李光耀
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore Making a Toast at a State Dinner Held in His Honor, 1975.jpg
Lee in 1975
1st Prime Minister of Singapore
In office
5 June 1959 – 27 November 1990
PresidentYusof Ishak
Benjamin Sheares
Devan Nair
Wee Kim Wee
DeputyToh Chin Chye
Goh Keng Swee
S. Rajaratnam
Goh Chok Tong
Ong Teng Cheong
Preceded byLim Yew Hock
(as Chief Minister)
Succeeded byGoh Chok Tong
Member of Parliament
for Tanjong Pagar
In office
22 April 1955 – 23 March 2015
Preceded byConstituency established
ConstituencyTanjong Pagar SMC
(1955–1991)
Tanjong Pagar GRC
(1991–2015)
Secretary-General of the People's Action Party
In office
21 November 1954 – 14 November 1992
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byGoh Chok Tong
Minister Mentor of Singapore
In office
12 August 2004 – 20 May 2011
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Senior Minister of Singapore
In office
28 November 1990 – 11 August 2004
Prime MinisterGoh Chok Tong
Preceded byS. Rajaratnam (1988)
Succeeded byGoh Chok Tong
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Singapore
In office
2 November 1963 – 9 August 1965[1]
Leader of the Opposition
In office
22 April 1955 – 31 March 1959
Chief MinisterDavid Marshall
Lim Yew Hock
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byLim Yew Hock
Personal details
Born
Harry Lee Kuan Yew

(1923-09-16)16 September 1923
Singapore, Straits Settlements
Died23 March 2015(2015-03-23) (aged 91)
Singapore
Resting placeMandai Crematorium
Political partyPeople's Action Party
Spouse
(m. 1950; died 2010)
ChildrenLee Hsien Loong (son)
Lee Wei Ling (daughter)
Lee Hsien Yang (son)
RelativesChua Jim Neo (mother)
EducationFitzwilliam College, Cambridge (BA)
Signature
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew (Chinese characters).svg
Lee's name in Chinese characters
Chinese李光耀

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.[2][3]

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[4] 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[5] and multiracialism[6][7] as governing principles, making English the lingua franca[8] 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.[8] 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,[9] 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.[10][11][12][13] 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,[14] and bringing defamation lawsuits against prominent political opponents.[15][16] However, others argue his actions as having been necessary for the country's early development, and that he was in general a benevolent leader.[17][18]

  1. ^ "PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES DEWAN RA'AYAT (HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES) OFFICIAL REPORT" (PDF). Dewan Rakyat. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference CNNgrand was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Weatherbee 2008, p. 213.
  4. ^ Chew, Cassandra (29 June 2014). "The Rickshaw puller who saved Lee Kuan Yew". The Straits Times. Singapore. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  5. ^ Meritocracy & Governance | Lee Kuan Yew: In His Own Words | Channel NewsAsia, retrieved 8 April 2021
  6. ^ Lee Hsien Loong (30 September 2017). "Race, multiracialism and Singapore's place in the world". The Straits Times. Singapore. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  7. ^ Ng, Kelly (8 August 2017). "The policies that shaped a multiracial nation". Today. Singapore. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  8. ^ a b Lee Kuan Yew (27 March 2015). "In his own words: English for trade; mother tongue to preserve identity". The Straits Times. Singapore. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  9. ^ Tan, Carlton (23 March 2015). "Lee Kuan Yew leaves a legacy of authoritarian pragmatism". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Lee Kuan Yew's hard truths". openDemocracy. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  11. ^ Case, William (August 2005). "Southeast Asia's Hybrid Regimes: When Do Voters Change Them?". Journal of East Asian Studies. 5 (2): 215–237. doi:10.1017/S1598240800005750. ISSN 1598-2408. S2CID 150731305.
  12. ^ Piper, Hal (12 August 1995). "Guided Democracy". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  13. ^ "Singapore's guide". The Irish Times. Dublin. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Modernization of the Labour Movement". MS50 Reunion - An Exhibition by NTUC. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  15. ^ "When the gloves came off". Today. Singapore. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Lee Kuan Yew is dead. Here are 7 of his most provocative quotes". The World from PRX. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  17. ^ Boo, Su-Lyn (23 March 2015). "Obituary: Lee Kuan Yew, the benevolent dictator". Malay Mail. Kuala Lumpur. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  18. ^ Grachangnetara, Songkran (25 March 2015). "Asia's last 'benevolent dictator' was a giant of a man". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 23 April 2022.

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