Grandma grateful to Lee Kuan Yew

Grandma grateful to Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE: Among the thousands queueing up for hours under the hot sun just for a chance to bid farewell to the republic's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew was grandmother Lim Yok Hoi.

The 76-year-old, who was born in Johor, said she had taken a big chance in migrating to Singapore years ago.

"It was a struggle for us after the separation from Malaysia," she recalled. "But Lee strived for all Singaporeans and through his hard work, he helped to provide a better future for us, especially the poor.

"Through his work, he helped to get a roof over our heads," said Lim, who turned up with her two friends at Parliament House here.

Lee, she added, was one of the best leaders she knew "not only in Singapore but in the world". They joined the long line of people, most of whom turned up in black from as early as 8am and bearing flowers, to catch a final glimpse of Lee.

Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar of Johor was among the Malaysian dignitaries who paid their last respects.

The Johor Ruler was accompanied by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - Kuan Yew's son - to the casket. Also present was Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah.

Earlier, a procession bearing his casket had made the three kilometre journey from the Istana government complex to the Parliament House. The body of Lee, who passed away on Monday at 3.18am at the age of 91, will lie in state until Saturday.

Stephanie See Toh, 52, said she and her husband wanted to pay their last respects to Lee as a sign of thanks and gratitude for his contributions to Singapore.

"It is an emotional time for Singapore as we have lost an important figure in our nation's history. His dedication and hard work have helped make Singapore what it is today and we are grateful for that," she said.

Manager V. Vasutheran, 38, said it took him about an hour to enter the Parliament building.

"Although Lee has passed away, his spirit lives on in many of us Singaporeans. We must ensure that his legacy continues," he added.

Singapore Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said most Asian leaders would be attending the state funeral on Sunday.

"Many regional leaders have confirmed their attendance," he said outside the Supreme Court building nearby.

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