SINGAPORE - Singapore leaders offered their condolences to the family of former Indonesian president B. J. Habibie, who died at the age of 83 on Wednesday (Sept 11) in Jakarta.
Leaders including President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent their condolences to his son, Mr Ilham Akbar Habibie, and his family.
In a letter on Thursday, Madam Halimah said that Indonesia has lost a leader who steered the country "with purpose and direction" during its transition to democracy and after the Asian Financial Crisis.
"President Habibie was steadfast in his service to his country and in his efforts to improve the lives of all Indonesians," said Madam Halimah.
In his letter to Mr Ilham Habibie, PM Lee recounted the late Dr Habibie's presidential term during Reformasi, which was a difficult period of transition in Indonesia.
"He worked hard to stabilise the country in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. He also pushed for greater regional autonomy and decentralisation in Indonesia, with a view to uniting and improving the lives of all Indonesians," PM Lee said.
He added that he met the former Indonesian president many times to discuss how Singapore and Indonesia could cooperate and complement each other "to bring enduring benefit to our peoples".
"We are permanent neighbours and friends, and our futures are intertwined," said PM Lee.
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean recounted in a letter that he called on the former president during the Asian Financial Crisis, which he said was a challenging political and economic period for Indonesia.
"He will be remembered for his love for his country, passion for aircraft engineering, and firm belief in public service," said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said that the late president, whose full name is Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, led Indonesia with fortitude during a time of daunting political and economic challenges.
Mr Goh said that in his interactions with him , "his love for Indonesia and dedication to his country left an indelible impression on me".
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan addressed his letter to his counterpart, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
Dr Balakrishnan said that it was Dr Habibie's efforts which had laid the ground for Indonesia's current democracy and vibrant economy.
"President Habibie was also instrumental in bringing about regional autonomy and decentralisation for the good of all Indonesians. His contributions to Indonesia will not be forgotten," he said.