2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence from the Malayan Federation in 1965 and Britain two years prior. However, the poor health of Lee Kuan Yew, considered the father of modern Singapore, puts a damper on the celebrations to come.
From 1959, Lee Kuan Yew ruled for three decades as Singapore’s prime minister and to this day commands tremendous respect among Singaporeans. His authoritarian style, combined with his political acumen, transformed Singapore into one of the largest economic success stories of the 20th century. For instance, Lee Kuan Yew attracted enormous inflows of foreign investment, making Singapore into a large financial center in Asia. The effect of his policies is striking: per capita gross domestic product went from just $550 in the 1950s to $55,000, according to the World Bank.
As of now, Lee Kuan Yew, aged 91, is in intensive care. Admitted to the hospital earlier this month for severe pneumonia, he has been affected by poor health for the past years. However, his son reports that his condition has stabilized and “His doctors are continuing to monitor his condition. PMO (prime minister’s office) will keep the public informed of any significant change.”
Contributor: Elaine Chen