KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak lauded Singapore’s founder Lee Kuan Yew for building the island city into a “modern and dynamic nation” as he extended Malaysian condolences on his death today.
“I am saddened to hear about the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, founding Prime Minister of Singapore,” Najib said in a statement released by his office.
“I pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s determination in developing Singapore from a new nation to the modern and dynamic city we see today.
“His achievements were great, and his legacy is assured.”
Lee, one of the towering figures of post-colonial Asian politics, died early Monday after a long illness at the age of 91.
Relations between the two nations had been testy for much of their history, ever since Lee led Singapore to independence in 1965 after a brief and stormy union with Malaysia.
Despite that, steady relations have remained important to each side, especially their deep trade ties, and have improved in recent years under Lee’s son, current Singapore leader Lee Hsien Loong, and Najib.
“Malaysia is committed to the future of our relationship with Singapore; to peace, stability and shared prosperity between our nations,” Najib said.
In a separate personal message on Facebook, he said: “On behalf of all Malaysians, my deepest condolences to the people of Singapore.” — AFP