The Strategist

Singapore Mourns Its Father

03/23/2015 - 14:34

The first Prime Minister of Singapore, creator of the so-called economic miracle of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew has died at the age of 91. According to Reuters, the death occurred on Monday, March 23 at 03:18 local time in a hospital in Singapore.

February 5 former prime minister was taken with acute pneumonia in the central hospital in Singapore. March 19 it became known that Lee Kuan Yew is in critical condition. After another three days, the authorities have reported worsening of his condition. Residents of Singapore carried flowers, cards and gifts to the hospital.

Lee Kuan Yew led the Singapore government since 1959, in 1990 he was replaced by Goh Chok Tong. In 2004, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Hsien Loong, became the prime minister, who offered his predecessors remaining in government on honorary positions: first former minister became Prime Minister Mentor, and the second - a senior minister. In May of 2011, Lee Kuan Yew announced retirement.

Under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore has evolved from a backward country into a financial center of Southeast Asia. The minister achieved this by attracting foreign investors, economy oriented on high-tech sector, fight against corruption and mafia and investment in education of citizens.
One of the main qualities of Lie’s exceptionality is called pragmatism: he was ready to go to a deal even with the devil in order to raise the country’s wellbeing. He was not afraid of dependence on transnational corporations, which scared many leaders of developing countries. Singapore has no natural resources, which could be plundered; the industry was in its infancy. The minister needed to find something that can attract foreign money to the poor state. Lee decided that Singapore should turn to Western states, low taxes, and the most friendly to foreign companies environment.

Lee gave to corporations all conditions for work in Singapore by simplifying bureaucratic procedures. There was established Economic Development Agency, through which all initiatives passed with unprecedented speed – every investor was supervised by personal agency official. In 1971, the Singapore’s British military base was closed and Britain was expelled out of the country, and in 1972, exports to the country for the first time exceeded the re-export. Lee managed to hold the most difficult years.

The government followed the trends in the global economy, it was literally on the fly introducing the hottest ideas. Li immediately announced himself as the convinced member of meritocracy: the best pupils, graduated from Singapore schools, leadership sent off to study in the best universities in Britain and the Commonwealth, the United States, Germany, France, Japan and Italy.

The system created in Singapore can be called innovative state capitalism: the public sector developed more dynamically than private business. The government of Lee Kuan Yew carefully analyzed the industries, where a technological breakthrough was about to burst, and diversified risks. If the idea "didn’t take off" or required to focus on new challenges, state-owned companies were privatized.
- We took advantage of the expansion of world trade, attracted investment and during the lifetime of just one generation of Singaporeans jumped from the third world to the first - Lee Kuan Yew wrote contendedly

The country declared a national mourning over the death of the first Prime Minister. Current Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, son of the deceased gave the corresponding order. The text of the document is published on his Facebook page.

National mourning period will last from 23 to 29 March. During this period, national flags will be lowered on all government buildings. March 25 the body of Lee Kuan Yew will be delivered to the parliament building, where citizens will be able to say goodbye to the first prime minister of the country for three days.

The funeral will take place on March 29 at 14:00 at the Cultural Center of the National University of Singapore. After this, Lee Kuan Yew’s body will be cremated.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that he was "deeply saddened by the death of Lee Kuan Yew." US President Barack Obama called the first Prime Minister of Singapore "a giant of history", reports BBC News. Chinese authorities also expressed his condolences, calling Lee Kuan Yew a unique statesman in Asia, according to "Xinhua".