Singapore bids farewell to the Lee dynasty, who transformed the nation into a prominent financial hub

Lee Hsien Loong will step down as Prime Minister of Singapore this week, after leading the country for two decades. During his time in power, he managed to double the GDP per capita and average gross monthly income of residents. Lawrence Wong, an economist and current Deputy Prime Minister, will succeed him as Singapore’s fourth leader since independence.

The ruling People’s Action Party, founded by Lee Kuan Yew, has maintained control in Singapore since 1965. Despite projecting itself as a democracy, the country operates more like an authoritarian state with power concentrated among a select group of elites. Lawrence Wong represents a departure from the traditional ruling class, having studied in the United States and entered politics relatively recently. His leadership during the pandemic elevated his profile and earned him the position of Deputy Prime Minister.

Although Wong will lead the country’s policies, the influence of the Lee dynasty will still be felt as Lee Hsien Loong will remain in the cabinet as a “senior minister.” Lee’s popularity in Singapore stems from his efforts to attract investors, promote innovation, and navigate international relations, particularly between the US and China. During his tenure he also made strides in social rights such as repealing a law criminalizing homosexual relations.

However, Singapore under Lee’s leadership has faced criticism for stifling dissent and controlling the press with most media outlets either owned by state or connected to government. Despite these challenges, Lee reflects on his legacy positively emphasizing his efforts to bring progress to Singapore in his final interview.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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