leekuanyew

The final journey

The procession from Parliament House to the state funeral service will pass through key landmarks and areas of special significance for Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Janice Heng and Zakir Hussain report.

WHEN TO GO

The procession starts at 12.30pm and will arrive at the UCC before 2pm. Lines are expected to be longer nearer Parliament and in town.

HOW TO GO

There are several MRT stations along or close to the route: Clarke Quay, City Hall, Esplanade, Raffles Place, Downtown, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar, Outram Park, Commonwealth, Buona Vista and Dover.

WHERE TO STAND

  • Some good spots to observe the procession are roads near the Padang, Raffles Quay, and outside the NTUC building and Singapore Conference Hall, though these are likely to be more crowded.
  • Those living along Jalan Bukit Merah, part of Queensway and Commonwealth Avenue, and Commonwealth Avenue West can also observe the procession from their blocks.
  • Members of the public are advised to stay on public footpaths for their own safety.

Go to www.mytransport.sg, www.sbstransit.com.sg and www.smrt.com.sg for details on bus service diversions.

1 & 2 Parliament House and Old Parliament House

  • In the final sitting in the old Parliament House, before the adjacent new one opened in 1999, then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew said: “The importance of this Chamber did not, and does not, depend upon its size and its grandeur, but upon the quality of the men and women who occupy it as representatives of the people.”
  • Built in 1827, the old Parliament House served for many years as the colonial government’s courthouse.

It was repurposed by the Legislative Assembly, to which Mr Lee Kuan Yew was elected as an opposition assemblyman in 1955.

After independence in 1965, it became Parliament House.

3 City Hall and the Padang

The funeral procession will travel the length of the Padang, where audiences heard many a historical speech delivered by Mr Lee from the steps of City Hall.

It was here that he spoke to Singaporeans celebrating the start of self-government on June 3, 1959, and where he read the Malaysia Proclamation on Sept 16, 1963.

The Padang was where Mr Lee saw Singapore’s first National Day Parade in 1966. It returns there this year.

4 Marina Bay

Mr Lee’s vision to build a dam and create a freshwater reservoir in the heart of the city saw the construction of Marina Barrage, which opened in 2008, and the creation of Marina Reservoir, part of his goal of making Singapore self-sufficient in water.

Both were only possible with the clean-up of the Singapore River in the late 1970s under Mr Lee’s leadership. Gardens by the Bay has also been built, and can trace its origins to Mr Lee’s tree-planting campaign.

5 NTUC Centre and Singapore Conference Hall

Mr Lee began his political life by representing trade unions. As a lawyer in 1952, he won a case for postal workers who had gone on strike. He was soon appointed adviser to more than 50 unions, which became his support base in his first election.

The Singapore Conference Hall was originally Trade Union House, completed in 1965 to fulfil the PAP’s election promise of building a headquarters for the trade union movement, and remained the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) headquarters until 2000.

The NTUC Centre is now at One Marina Boulevard.

6 Tanjong Pagar

Mr Lee was first elected assemblyman for Tanjong Pagar on April 2, 1955, and continued representing the area until his death, an unsurpassed record of 60 years.

In 1991, it became part of Tanjong Pagar GRC, which has not been contested since.

The procession will drive past part of the Port of Singapore and the Central Business District.

It will also pass by the award-winning public housing project Pinnacle@Duxton.

7 Bukit Merah and Queenstown

Bukit Merah and Queenstown are home to some of the earliest public flats in Singapore, built both by the colonial-era Singapore Improvement Trust and its successor, the Housing Board. Queenstown is where the first HDB flats were sold under the Home Ownership For The People scheme, introduced in 1964.

Mr Lee sought to turn Singapore into a nation of home-owners as a way to give citizens a stake in the country. “It is the foundation upon which nationhood was forged,” he said.

8 CPIB Headquarters

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau was set up in 1952 by the British, but it was Mr Lee who gave it greater powers and tightened laws against corruption when he took over in 1959. Known for his fierce defence of integrity in the public service, Mr Lee set up systems and processes to ensure that every dollar was properly accounted for, and any wrongdoing was swiftly addressed.

9 Schools and Singapore Poly

The funeral procession will pass educational institutions, including Gan Eng Seng Primary, Henderson Secondary, Bukit Merah Secondary and Singapore Polytechnic, before entering the National University of Singapore campus for the state funeral. Mr Lee saw an educated workforce as key to Singapore’s future. As he put it in a speech on the eve of National Day in 1967: “It is the quality of our youth that will determine our future. And we have to invest in them more than any other sector.”

10 University Cultural Centre

The University Cultural Centre was the venue for the Prime Minister’s annual National Day Rally speech from 2001 to 2012, and although the late Mr Lee did not deliver any rally speeches here, he spoke at students’ forums and other events.

The funeral service will take place from 2pm to 5.15pm.

Civil service head Peter Ong is the master of ceremony and 10 eulogies will be delivered. Among those who will be delivering the eulogies are Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.