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Singapore prepares for life after Lee Kuan Yew

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Singapore’s ‘founding father’ Lee Kuan Yew is critically ill in hospital, and the island state he led for three decades is preparing for life without the domineering politician who guided it to independence and prosperity.

91-year-old Lee, Singapore’s first and longest-serving Prime Minister, has receded from public life in recent times, but he remains a revered figure in the country he led for 31 years.

Crowds have gathered outside Singapore General Hospital to pay tribute, and family members have been seen visiting.

“It will be sad when he dies. He has his flaws but (he) has achieved a lot for this country,” teaching assistant Imad Alatas, 33, told AFP at the hospital.

Civil servant Asyraf Jalil, 26, said: “He is a good man and I’ve always seen him as the father of modern Singapore.”

Current Prime Minister, and Lee’s son, Lee Hsien Loong, issued a statement saying only: “Lee Kuan Yew remains critically ill in the ICU and has deteriorated further”.

An earlier statement said the patriarch had been administered antibiotics and that doctors were “closely monitoring his condition”.

Lee was hospitalised with severe pneumonia in early February. He was placed on mechanical ventilation in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Lee served as Singapore’s first Prime Minister from 1959, when Singapore won self-rule, until 1990 when he stepped down.

He led Singapore’s six-year transition from British colonial outpost, through self-administration, merger with and then separation from Malaysia, to independent statehood, and Singapore declaration as a republic, in 1965.

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