Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew a true son of the soil, says Tan Cheng Bock

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was "a true son of the soil" who was driven by his love for Singapore, former MP and presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock wrote in a Facebook post yesterday, after paying his last respects to Mr Lee at Tanjong Pagar Community Club.

In his post, Dr Tan recalled his encounters with Mr Lee, who had interviewed him to be a candidate for the 1980 General Election.

"I was only a village doctor with a rebellious streak," he said. "But one striking thing he said was, 'We are not looking for yes men.'"

In his Facebook post, he also disclosed how Mr Lee "wasn't happy" that people misunderstood his intentions in creating the post of an elected president, who would have custodial powers over the nation's reserves and key appointments, in 1991.

It was one of the issues that Mr Lee raised during his lunch meetings with MPs, said Dr Tan, who narrowly lost during his own bid to become president in 2011.

"At that time, many thought that he was doing this for himself. He was visibly disturbed (and said) 'I am doing this for Singapore, I don't want to be president,'" Dr Tan said.

Another controversial issue raised by Mr Lee during the lunch meetings was the hubbub over property bought by the Lee family at a discounted price in 1995.

"The first question he shot at me was, 'Cheng Bock, am I a crook?' I told him if he was a crook, I would not have served him in the first place. Mr Lee embodied the virtues of integrity and incorruptibility, without which Singapore could never have succeeded."

Lim Yan Liang