World leaders send birthday wishes to Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew file pic — Reuters
Lee Kuan Yew file pic — Reuters

SINGAPORE, Sept 16 — Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese former Vice-Premier Li Lanqing have sent congratulatory messages to former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who celebrates his 90th birthday today.

In her birthday greetings, Queen Elizabeth II wrote: “Yours has been a most eventful life, inextricably interwoven with the history and development of your nation. It is notable that this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence from the UK and I am delighted that the links between our countries remain so strong.”

Ms Merkel also lauded Mr Lee’s achievements, noting that, for over 50 years, he has been “a decisive figure helping to shape Singapore’s destiny” and leading the country to peace and prosperity.

She said his “prudent policymaking” helped the Association of South-east Asian Nations become a “force for reconciliation and stability in Asia”, adding that Singapore will remain a “key partner for Germany in Asia”.

China’s Mr Li, who with then-Senior Minister Lee signed the landmark agreement on the Suzhou Industrial Park, also paid tribute to Singapore’s founding father, recognising his efforts in cementing bilateral relations between the two countries.

Separately, two conferences will be held this week in conjunction with Mr Lee’s birthday.

Today, the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy is holding a conference at the Shangri-La Hotel to generate new insight into his ideas and “how they changed the course of history for Singapore, South-east Asia and the world”. Speakers at the conference include Ambassador Chan Heng Chee, former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and former Senior Minister S Jayakumar.

On Wednesday, the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design will be hosting a conference entitled Lee Kuan Yew and the Physical Transformation of Singapore.

Jointly organised with the Centre for Liveable Cities, the conference will focus on Mr Lee’s role in the “spatial transformation of Singapore, from city planning, housing, greening and water management to the challenges for the future”. Speakers at the event include Dr Aline Wong, Academic Advisor for UniSIM, and Dr Liu Thai Ker, Chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities. —Today Online