ESM Goh pays tribute to Mandela, a "wise leader and a great human being"

ESM Goh pays tribute to Mandela, a "wise leader and a great human being"
South African President Nelson Mandela sharing a light moment with then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and his wife at a banquet dinner on Feb 25, 1997.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong paid tribute to late South African President Nelson Mandela, saying he was "saddened by the passing of a wise leader and a great human being".

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Mr Goh, who is in New Delhi, paid tribute to the respected leader.

Mr Goh wrote:

"I am now in my hotel room watching BBC news on death of Nelson Mandela and the tributes to him.

"I am privileged to have met him many times and to know him personally. I first met him in 1991 in Harare, Zimbabwe, when I was there for my first Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

"He had just been released from prison. As president of ANC, he sought Singapore's help. I visited him officially in Pretoria soon after he became President. I took the opportunity of the visit to go to Robbins Island to see his cell and understand better the conditions which played a part in shaping his character and leadership qualities.

"We met also a few more times at CHOGM and in Singapore when he visited. I am saddened by the passing of a wise leader and a great human being. He harboured no rancour, no bitterness.

"He loved people, regardless of their colours. He always had a smile, a laugh and a twinkle in his eyes. I shall be sending a formal letter of condolences to his wife and family when I return to Singapore tomorrow. Goodbye, Nelson Mandela."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also posted on his Facebook page on Friday morning, hailing the anti-apartheid icon as an inspiration to millions.

He wrote:

"Rest in peace #Mandela. You inspired millions with your humanity, courage, and lifelong fight for freedom. -LHL"

As of 11.30 am on Friday morning, his post was shared 237 times.

Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo joined former and current local politicians in paying tribute to the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Friday, describing him as "a saint who bore absolutely no rancour towards his erstwhile tormentors", The Straits Times reported.

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