Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

NZ public buildings to fly flags at half-mast on Sunday to mark Mr Lee Kuan Yew's funeral

SINGAPORE - All New Zealand government departments and public buildings will be flying their flags at half-mast on Sunday to mark the funeral of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

On Tuesday, the New Zealand Parliament on Tuesday expressed sorrow at Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing. Mr Lee, Singapore's founding Prime Minister, died on Monday at the age of 91.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English tabled the motion, and said: "Mr Lee was a long-time friend of New Zealand, and a supporter of New Zealand's role in South-east Asia."

Speaking after him was Labour Party leader and MP Phil Goff, who remembers as a 12-year-old seeing Mr Lee on television speaking about separation from Malaysia and how it was the first political speech that had left an impression on him. He added, in a more lighthearted vein:

"In 1977, as a student, having gone six years without a haircut, passing through Singapore, I was given my first haircut by the customs officials at the airport as a price of entry. My mother congratulated him (Lee Kuan Yew) for achieving something that nobody else had been able to do for years before that time."

He also said: "We remember him as a man who was a strong leader who gave Singapore an influence totally disproportionate to its size and created a better country for his fellow country men and women."

Other members of the parliament including Kennedy Graham, Tracey Martin, Peter Dunne, and David Seymour also expressed their sorrow, and condolences to the people of Singapore and Mr Lee's family.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg