Mr Lee Kuan Yew has left a lasting legacy and achieved greatness through lifting a nation from poverty into prosperity, and improving countless lives, Leader of the House Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on Monday.
It would not be possible to recount all of Mr Lee's accomplishments in a few minutes, he said, adding: "But I would on behalf of all members express our profound admiration and gratitude on Mr Lee's birthday."
His short speech to mark Mr Lee's 90th birthday came at the close of parliamentary proceedings, and ended with MPs rising to applaud Mr Lee, who had entered the chamber about 10 minutes earlier. Mr Lee made a "special effort" to be in the House and it was against his doctor's advice, Dr Ng added.
Quoting English playwright William Shakespeare, Dr Ng said some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Singapore, he added, was not born into greatness but hardship and poverty. But Mr Lee, with his "singular mission and dedication" steered it to independence and laid the foundations that transformed the country into a modern and thriving metropolis.
"He led and forged a nation which today is admired worldwide for its prosperity, harmony and stability," said Dr Ng, in a speech peppered at various points by chair-thumping and applause by MPs.
The Defence Minister also noted how Mr Lee has been a member of the country's legislature for 58 years since 1955, when he was elected into the first Legislative Assembly of Singapore, Parliament's predecessor.
"On length of service alone 58 years is a remarkable record, but it is what Mr Lee has accomplished for Singapore over that lifetime of service and struggle that is astonishing and without peer," said Dr Ng.
Go to Singapolitics for more stories.