Words of sympathy for Lee Kuan Yew pour in at consulate in Malaysia

JOHOR BARU - Locals and foreigners alike took the chance to pen their thoughts and offer words of sympathy to Lee Kuan Yew's family at the island republic's consulate-general here.

Singaporean Derrick Tan, 39, who works at a private hospital here, was one of those who signed the condolence book.

He said the passing of Singapore's first prime minister should be a celebration of his life and legacy, as many looked up to him for his firmness and ability to make difficult decisions that turned out to be beneficial for the city-state.

"He was a rare politician who was not afraid to speak his mind compared to politicians who just try to be diplomatic these days," he added.

Johor Baru Tiong Hua Federation president Datuk Seri Tey Kim Chai hailed the founding father of Singapore as a visionary who transformed an island without natural resources into a first world nation.

"We are saddened by Lee's passing and thankful for his contributions to the economy and education, which have benefited Malaysians too, especially Johoreans," he said.

Singapore's Consul-General here, Ian Mak, who often dealt with Lee, said the statesman was a sharp and strict taskmaster.

He also thanked the Johor palace, state government and public for their condolences.

The public can sign the condolence book all through this week at Level 35 of the Johor Baru City Square Office Tower between 9am and 6pm on weekdays and between 1pm and 6pm on Saturday.