The Lee Kuan Yew I remember: Former colleague Abdullah Tarmugi, 70

The Lee Kuan Yew I remember: Former colleague Abdullah Tarmugi, 70
MARCH 10, 2001:Senior Minister Lee and Minister for Community Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Abdullah Tarmugi at a closed-door meeting with Malay leaders and the Malay community in Parliament House.

LEE Kuan Yew is one who follows the rules. When I was Speaker, for example, sometimes MPs do not come to sittings, and if you do not attend, you are supposed to inform me or write in.

Lee Kuan Yew was someone who even if he didn't come for one afternoon, he would write me a note.

In fact, he was the only one who did that. To his credit, he made sure he followed the rules, you couldn't fault him.

I remember during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak, every time we went into Parliament, we had our temperatures checked.

He was coming in, and people were intimidated. I remember there was this security officer who hesitated because this was Mr Lee after all.

So he didn't take the temperature. And Mr Lee wound down his window screen and asked the guy: "Why aren't you checking me?" He was the sort of person who would follow the rules.

His contribution to Singapore is undeniable. Whatever you may disagree with him, he brought us to where we are now.

People argue that he could have done it differently, or done things a certain way, but you can't deny his significant contribution.

He was a man of his time. In that context, he did what he could as a leader, and he did well. .


This article was first published on March 23, 2015.
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