Magazine article African Business

Lee Kuan Yew's Achievements: Testimonials

Magazine article African Business

Lee Kuan Yew's Achievements: Testimonials

Article excerpt

BY A MINORITY RACE COMMUNITY LEADER IN SINGAPORE

"Many other colonies also gained independence at about the same time that Singapore had gained its independence. Those countries had larger populations, larger land mass and more natural resources than Singapore. However, Singapore, unlike many of these countries, under Mr Lee's leadership saw outstanding development.

"Now, we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Our per capita income and GDP is larger than many other countries. The main reason for this is Mr Lee's policies. Under Mr Lee's rule, Singapore had a phenomenal growth. However when he took over, the people were poor, had low levels of education and the unemployment rate was high.

"Mr Lee's government systematically improved people's lives. His government built large numbers of flats to house the people. These flats provided modern housing with water and electricity directly to the people coming from the kampongs.

"He made education affordable (and almost free) to all Singaporeans and provided adequate schools for all. As a result, Singaporeans have joined the ranks of the best educated people in the world. More importantly, he created a dynamic environment for economic development. As a result, our people, who were well educated, had well-paying jobs.

"Mr Lee's values were clear. He believed in honest, clean government. He firmly believed that everyone should be given equal opportunities. He was also firm in ensuring that no discrimination should be shown to anyone on account of differences of race, language and religion. Indeed, this was very important for the minority races.

"Even though the Indians only form 10 per cent of the population, the Tamil language remains as one of the official languages. Mr Lee, under his multi-racial and multi-lingual policy, made a provision in the Constitution to include it as one of the official languages.

Vikram Nair, Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC

BY A EUROPEAN PERMANENT RESIDENT IN SINGAPORE

"I do not regret a single day here. I read the memoirs of Mr Lee Kuan Yew a few years ago, and when I closed the book, I was so impressed I wanted to see the city, how he transformed it from third world to first world."

Mr Anthony Pain

BY PRIME MINISTER AND SON, LEE HSIEN LOONG

"He was a very strict, good father. He left a lot of the looking-after of the family to my mother because he was always busy with politics and with his responsibilities," said PM Lee. "But you knew he was there, you knew what he thought, you knew what he expected. Very strict. And if he disapproved of something, he didn't have to say a lot, you knew it."

BY AN ECONOMIST

"Economics is all about achieving the best, subject to the constraints people have to face. Lee Kuan Yew recognised and respected the constraints of the real world. Utopia had no place in his mind."

Francis T. Lui, director of the Centre for Economic Development and professor of economics at Flong Kong University of Science and Technology

BY AN URBAN PLANNER

"For example, in building trade, there is this thing called OTTV Overall Thermal Transmission Value. It was raised by him or his Cabinet in the 70s because when the curtain wall was introduced in Singapore, a lot of sunlight was beating into the interior, raising the temperature there and so there was a need to pump in more energy to cool it down."

"Mr Lee was worried that this would consume too much energy and introduced this concept before the world talked about global warming, before the world talked about low carbon and so on. This is just another vivid example of how far ahead he thought of problems."

Mr Liu Thai Ker, Housing and Development Board BY A WOMAN MINISTER

"Mr Lee never described himself as a feminist, yet his policies made an immense difference to women.

"Mr Lee had always valued education, ensuring that a good part of the national Budget went towards education even when our country's resources were meagre. …

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