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The first Prime Minister of Singapore

The first Prime Minister of Singapore

Who would have thought, a fourth-generation Chinese Singaporean who once left the country to study in England, returned to transform a small island into Asian important seaport, from a land for fishing villages into a land for commercial center, and from and underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a stable First World Asian Tiger. He is Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore who held office from 1959 to 1990.

Born 16 September 1923, Lee is a descendant of - to his father side - Guangdung resident. His mother is a Hokkien Nyonnya. He studied in Raffles Institution and Raffles College before World War II. During WWII, his education was suspended, and he worked for Japanese government propaganda department as he has taken Chinese and Japanese lessons prior to that period. After WWII, he studied Laws at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge , UK and due to his outstanding performance, he was able to attend London School of Economics. In his return to Singapore in 1949, he became a popular nationalist leader and in 1954, he formed the People's Action Party. He joined the movement to negotiate Singapore's independence from the British rule and partly succeed. and Lee became the first prime minister of Singapore on 3 June 1959, taking over from Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock. After Malayan Prime MinisterTunku Abdul Rahman proposed the formation of a federation which would include Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak in 1961, Lee began to campaign for a merger with Malaysia to end British colonial rules. On 16 September 1963, Singapore joined of the Federation of Malaysia as one nation. However, after several incidence including the clash between Chinese and Malaysian people, on 9 August 1965, the republic of Singapore was born. Lee would then face plenty of headaches, including designate solution to seek sufficient water supply, strengthen the defence department and select effective economic plan to run on a land which lack resources.

However under his rule, Singapore became UN members on 21 September 1965, one of the five father of ASEAN on 8 August 1967 and he always dedicate his energy to sought worldwide recognition to Singapore's independence. His main task, in that sense, is then the economic issues. He chose to industrialize Singapore and in 1961, he established the Economics Development Board to attract foreign investment. His best move would be to offer investors of highly-skilled, low-paid worker with undeniably tax incentives. Lee also created Singapore Tourism Promotion Board to compete in the tourism industry. He promoted Mandarin as a mother-tongue for Singaporean, and made English for commercial and administrative use.

On 28 November 1990, he handed over his prime minister post to Goh Chok Tong, thus ending his reign. He was then Singapore longest ever serving Prime Minister, and also the world's longest serving Prime Minister. He was made Senior Minister from 1990 to 2004, and Minister Mentor from 2004 to present.

His son, Lee Hsien Loong, continues his legacy by succeeding Goh Chok Tong as prime minister.

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