Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Political leaders share reflections on Mr Lee Kuan Yew's legacy

The day after the funeral of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, political leaders spent time reflecting on his legacy, with many sharing their thoughts online.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong changed his previously sombre profile picture to one of him gazing at the Kallang River, with a group of people kayaking on the blue waters.

"Back in the 1970s, the Singapore River and Kallang River were badly polluted. My father challenged the Ministry of Environment to clean them up in 10 years," he wrote.

"They did. Today, the Kallang Basin is not just a water catchment area, but also a beautiful area for water sports."

He also posted a photo of colourful bougainvillea in bloom at home, adding that Mr Lee was passionate about making Singapore a garden city, a legacy that would be continued.

Many ministers focused on the next step forward for Singapore.

Labour chief Lim Swee Say wrote that Mr Lee "will forever live with us in our hearts". "Let us all move forward together in unity and face the future with confidence."

Mr Lim, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said the best way to thank Mr Lee was to keep improving Singapore for future generations.

Others chose to let pictures speak for them, with a number of MPs returning colour to their profile and cover photos.

Mr S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs, posted a photograph of his residents at last year's Tree Planting Day, alluding to one of Mr Lee's enduring legacies of the greening of Singapore, which he started in 1963.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing put up a photograph of blue skies over Marina Bay. "A new dawn. A new beginning to continue writing our Singapore Story," he wrote.

The Marina Barrage was a 20-year dream of Mr Lee to turn the Marina Channel into a water catchment area and a symbol of his lifelong obsession with Singapore's water security.

Opposition politicians also looked ahead, with SingFirst party chairman Ang Yong Guan thanking Mr Lee for putting Singapore on the world map.

"Many of us Singaporeans will continue to strive for the open society which you once spoke of in 1964," he said, quoting a speech Mr Lee made in the Malaysian Parliament in which he argued for "the principle of the open society, the open debate, ideas, not intimidation, persuasion not coercion".

Former National Solidarity Party council member Ravi Philemon wrote about the next election.

"It will be interesting to watch who from PAP would lead that constituency in the next election," he said, noting that the last electoral contest in Tanjong Pagar was 27 years ago, in 1988. "He/she could very well be the next PM of Singapore."

yanliang@sph.com.sg