Asia House deeply saddened by death of Lee Kuan Yew who opened our London headquarters

Former prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew is pictured unveiling a plaque at Asia House to mark the official opening of our New Cavendish Street building in 2005

Former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew is pictured unveiling a plaque at Asia House to mark the official opening of our New Cavendish Street building in 2005

Asia House deeply saddened by death of Lee Kuan Yew who opened our London headquarters

23/03/15

By Naomi Canton

Asia House is deeply saddened by the death of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew who died in hospital on Monday morning (March 23) aged 91.

Mr Lee officially opened Asia House’s current London headquarters in New Cavendish Street, Marylebone, in October 2005 in the presence of the founder of Asia House, the late Sir Peter Wakefield CMG KBE, former British Ambassador to Lebanon and Belgium. The creator of modern Singapore was the Guest of Honour at the Business Dinner which followed the Grand Opening.

Asia House, which was founded by Sir Peter in 1996, had formerly been located at Piccadilly.

Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore, with Asia House Founding Chairman Sir Peter Wakefield, at the opening of Asia House on New Cavendish Street, October 2005

Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore, with Asia House Founding Chairman Sir Peter Wakefield, at the opening of Asia House on New Cavendish Street, October 2005

The plaque which Mr Lee, who is considered one of Asia’s greatest statesmen, unveiled that day, still has pride of place in the Asia House Reception. It reads ‘Officially opened by Lee Kuan Yew Minister Mentor Republic of Singapore on 17 October 2005.’

Mr Lee is considered to be one of Asia’s most outstanding statesmen credited with transforming Singapore from a small colonial backwater and developing nation into a thriving Asian Tiger economy. At the time he stepped down in 1990 and Goh Chok Tong took over as prime minister, he was the world’s longest serving prime minister, having served for 31 years. He remained in the cabinet in an advisory role as Senior Minister.

Apart from playing a critical role in modernising Singapore and turning the tiny island into Asia’s 10th largest economy, Mr Lee played a crucial role in helping Asia House create its world-class programme of events to bring Asia and Europe closer. Asia House has fond memories of his involvement. He spoke at Asia House when he was a Senior Minister of Singapore on 18 May 1999 and he gave a speech at Asia House again as Senior Minister on 9 October 2000. In July 2014 the Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Law in Singapore, HE Mr K Shanmugam, visited Asia House  for a breakfast briefing exclusively for Asia House corporate members.

Asia House Chairman Sir John Boyd and Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law HE Mr K Shanmugam at Asia House by the plaque unveiled by Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 2005

Asia House Chairman Sir John Boyd and Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law HE Mr K Shanmugam pictured at Asia House in 2014 by the plaque unveiled by Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 2005

Although Mr Lee is credited with transforming Singapore into a modern industrial power, as prime minister he received criticism for his tight controls of the press, freedom of speech and public protests. However, he always claimed the success of Singapore was down to Confucian or ‘Asian values’ and that certain freedoms had to be sacrificed in a developing nation aspiring to become an Asian Tiger. He also played a key role in the development of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Mr Lee had been in hospital since February with severe pneumonia and his death was announced by the Singapore Government early Monday morning.

The Government of Singapore has announced a week of mourning and Mr Lee’s state funeral will take place on Sunday, 29 March.

In 2004 Lee took up the position of Minister Mentor and his eldest son Lee Hsien Loong became the third and current Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.

On 8 September 2006 Mr Lee Hsien Loong spoke at Asia House. His wife Ho Ching, Executive Director and CEO of Singapore investment company Temasek, was awarded the 2014 Asian Business Leaders Award at a gala event held Westminster’s Banqueting House in October. 

Temasek Executive Director and CEO Ho Ching is pictured giving a speech at a gala dinner held at London's Banqueting House where she was awarded the Asia House Asian Business Leaders Award 2014.

Temasek Executive Director and CEO Ho Ching gave a speech at a gala dinner held at London’s Banqueting House in October 2014 where she was awarded the Asia House Asian Business Leaders Award 2014

To read more about Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy and for more reactions to his death, click on the links below:-

Lee Kuan Yew obituary

Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew dies at 91

Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, ‘a true giant of history’, dies aged 91

PM on Mr Lee Kuan Yew: ‘When you needed him, he was there’ 

Teary Mourners in Singapore Remember Lee Kuan Yew

Xi Jinping pays tribute to ‘old friend of the Chinese people’, Lee Kuan Yew

‘Lee Kuan Yew didn’t dislike India, he was disappointed by India’

naomi.canton@asiahouse.co.uk

Our next Business & Policy event is the London launch of Asian Development Outlook 2015, the Asian Development Bank’s flagship economic publication. This will take place at Asia House on 27 March, when Juzhong Zhuang, Deputy Chief Economist at the Asian Development Bank, will unveil the findings of the report, which provides a comprehensive analysis of macroeconomic issues in developing Asia, with growth projections by country and region. More information.