Singapore’s Founding Father Lee Kuan Yew Passes at 91

Photo Credit: Prime Minster of Singapore's Office

Photo Credit: Prime Minster of Singapore’s Office

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first elected prime minister who served starting at the age of 35, passed away at 3:18 AM Singapore time on Monday. On February 5, 2015, elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew was hospitalized for severe pneumonia. Under Lee’s watch, he oversaw the modernization of Singapore from a tiny British outpost into a wealthy trade and financial powerhouse in Asia.

The Singapore Prime Minister’s Office posted, “The Prime Minister is deeply grieved to announce the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime Minister of Singapore. Mr Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 3.18am. He was 91.”

Lee Kuan Yew was active in the formation of Singapore and its eventual separation from Malaysia in 1965 – which he saw as a “moment of anguish”. Lee’s leadership dealt with the integration of a diverse population of Chinese, Malays and Indians. Fully aware that Singapore lacked natural resources and land, Lee sought to diversify Singapore’s economy. Today, the island country boasts international brands such as Singapore Airlines and DBS. Under his administration from 1959 to 1990, the sovereign wealth funds of Temasek Holdings and GIC were formed. He was the first Chairman of GIC’s inaugural board of directors. In 1990, Lee Kuan Yew was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong as Singapore Prime Minister.

GIC: Group President Lim Siong Guan released a statement in Singapore press:

“The GIC community is saddened by the passing of our Founding Chairman, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Lee had retired after 30 years of service in May 2011 and continued as Senior Advisor and Chairman of our International Advisory Board.

“Mr Lee’s contribution to GIC had been immense. In the three decades that he was Chairman, he guided GIC through many global and regional financial crises and saw to key milestones in its corporate development.

“In particular, GIC benefitted greatly from Mr Lee’s deep understanding of the complexities that undergirded global political, social and financial systems. His insights kept GIC grounded and focussed on the fundamentals when it came to investing for the long term.

“Despite his stature and busy schedule, Mr Lee always found time beyond Board meetings to engage GIC. It was a privilege to have him in our midst.”

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