Lee Kuan Yew – Former Prime Minister of Singapore


Lee Kuan Yew has been a good leader, he ruled with supreme authority and his fervour for law and order was very prominent. Lee deliberately attempts to do all things to prolong his life. He believes that when you retire from your job, you’ll soon die after. He is clearly afraid of death and loosing his power to his homeland. He thinks that he created a situation in Singapore where the country couldn’t stand and be able to continue upon his death. Was is fair for Singapore to keep Lee Kuan Yew or was it fair for Lee Kuan Yew to keep Singapore under his nose?

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Lee Kuan Yew made such a big leap for Singapore when he served as its prime minister from 1959 until he stepped down in 1990. He led Singapore to become independent in terms of financial and industrial status despite the lack of abundant natural resources. Singapore nurtured from becoming a developing nation to one of the major industrial countries in Asia. Lee has frequently declared that Singapore’s environmental assets are its individuals as well as their tough working ethics.

Lee stressed out that Asian nations needed unchangeable leadership to construct indispensable political and societal solidity. He discarded the concept that humans wanted free freedoms, rewarding free speech as well as votes over needs, for instance, economic improvement. He contended that the Asian societies were dissimilar, having developed independently from the Western above centuries.  Lee disputed that Asians wish for higher principles of living in a systematic civilization; Asians want to contain individual preference in way of life, liberty and freedom as is companionable with the security of society (Mauzy and Milne 2002, p24).

Lee disputed that perspectives of rights to freedom for people would now and then have to be negotiated to help preserve order as well as security. Lee was consequently enthusiastic to defer habeas corpus or a fair trial, for documented criminals or agitators on the basis that a witness was cowed to volunteer to bear witness against them (Blue, Bunton, and Croizier 2002, p88). Lee’s leadership style as well as unrestricted personality is like the republic’s designated head of management, he was unquestionably responsible.


Lee was a 4th generation Chinese Singaporean – eldest son of Chua Jim Neo and Lee Chin Koon. Lee was born in a huge Singaporean lodge in Kampong Java Road. He went to a primary institute in Telok Kurau, Raffles Institute and College. His college education was postponed by the Second World War as well as the 1940s Japanese colonialism in Singapore. Lee worked in a joint venture of Allied reports for Japanese as transliterate, over and above the an English-language editor of a Japanese from 1943-1944 (Khan and Riskin 2001, pp11-15).

Lee went back to Singapore to work as legal representative in Ong and Laycock, the lawful practice of a pioneer of multiracialism – John Laycock, who had founded Singapore’s primary multi-racial inn open for all Asians (Lee 2000, p73). Lee’s primary knowledge with political affairs was his function as election mediator in Singapore under the sign of pro-British Party during the 1951 parliamentary assembly elections.

Nevertheless, Lee ultimately comprehended the party’s upcoming desolation as it was improbable to encompass support, particularly from Chinese-speaking blue-collar masses. Lee’s break arrived when he was appointed as official advisor to Students’ unions that gave Lee the connection to blue-collar Chinese-speaking world.

On November 1954, Lee among a group of English-educated men structured the collective People’s Action Party during a convenient coalition with pro-communist business unions. This coalition was characterized by Lee as union of expediency, in view of the fact that English-educated men required pro-communists support while communists required non-communist management as concealment for the reason that Malayan Communists were against the law. Their objectives were to disconcert for independence and stop the British colonial regime. Lee turned out to be the secretary-general – a position he had until 1992, other than a concise interlude in 1957.

Lee challenged and painstakingly won Tanjong Pagar position during 1955 voting. He turned out to be the opponent-leader, pitting against David Marshall’s struggle Front-led alliance administration. Lee was one of PAP’s legislative bodies to the legitimate conference in London above the future position of Singapore and it was during this episode when Lee contended with rivals from in and out of PAP (Blue and Brook 1999, p67).


Every leader of each nation adapted systems and methods from different past leaders. They believe that these approaches can be an effective component in building their own state. Below are some of the theories pertaining to different types of power and these were among theories Lee has believed and live upon ruling out Singapore.

Expert power – based on knowledge and expertise (Dansereau, Graen, and Haga 2000, pp68).  Lee Kuan Yew has recognize the perception of leadership, thus he entailed that there is a powerful prospective for self-actualization, creativity, and craving for mastery, as well as from our need for being conscientious, having an affirmative self-image, and enjoying solidarity.

Reward power – the ability of a leader to reward subordinates with social or tangible rewards (Dansereau, Graen, and Haga 2000, pp70). Lee introduced incentive, like schooling, tax rebates, and housing precedence for graduate female parents who had more than two kids, in a turnaround of the triumphant family planning in `60s and `70s. During the late `90s, birth rates turned out to be so low that Lee’s descendant Goh Chok Tong lengthened these plans to all wedded women, and provided supplementary incentives (Hirst and Thompson 1999, p88).

Referent power – the extent that the subordinate likes and identifies with the leader or supervisor (Dansereau, Graen, and Haga 2000, pp71).  Lee deemed that ministers have to be rewarding so as to uphold an unsoiled and straightforward regime. In 1994, he projected to connect the salaries of judges, ministers, and top public workers to the earnings of professionals in private sectors, disputing that this might help employ and keep hold of talents to hand round in public sectors.

Legitimate power – the power inherent in the leader’s job title and is derived by the subordinate’s contention that the superior has legitimate authority to be in charge (Dansereau, Graen, and Haga 2000, pp66).  Lee highlighted the must to encompass an incessant rebirth of ability in the nation’s leadership, uttering that in a diverse humanity people must find a position, small corners where despite small size Singaporeans can carry out a responsibility constructive to the globe (Vasil 2000, p15). To accomplish that, Singaporeans need decision-makers who have got prudence, excellent minds, open to information, can grab opportunities.

Coercive power – the ability of leader to punish the subordinate for non-compliance through disciplinary actions, fines, salary reductions, demotions, or even dismissal (Dansereau, Graen, and Haga 2000, pp64). Lee inaugurated a regulation presenting CPIB (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau) better ability to arrests, execute search, have witnesses, and scrutinize revenue returns as well as bank accounts of held people as well as their families.


Lee Kuan Yew demonstrates among his colleagues, his people and even his opponents that being old is not a hindrance to pursue a country’s dream of success. Imagine a bamboo tree, it bends when the strong wind blows, just like Lee, he bends but never breaks. What makes Lee Kuan Yew a good leader? Perhaps his idealism and his expertise in running a nation is the key. Lee practices and exercises the following theories in building Singapore, making it as powerful and prevailing, though it’s diminutive in dimension.

Trait Model – a good leader is born as the traits are innate.  The relationships between the personal characteristics and job performance are interpreted as the effects of traits on leadership performance (Leavy 2003, p57). As a kid, he was profoundly influenced by the British mores, partly owing to his grandfather who gave his sons English teaching. He continuously denied accuses of nepotism, disputing that the Lee family honoured positions are derived from personal value.

These accuses alternatively have sustained and international newspapers such as The Economist, International Herald Tribune as well as Far Eastern Economic Review were endangered, debarred or litigated within Singapore for entailing the nepotism’s survival (Ban, Pakir, & Tong 2004, p27). Lee believed that for Singapore, freedom is the capability to act with no restraint and it is also identified as self-determination, individual autonomy, or sovereignty.  For the radical conservatives, these are not movements further than liberty but toward their description of freedom.

Fiedler’s Contingency Theory – leadership is a function of both the person and the situation; the theory focuses upon the characteristic and aspects of leader control (Spector 2000, p59). Singapore’s susceptibility on Nationwide Defence was profoundly felt with intimidation from numerous sources counting communists, UMNO and Indonesian extremists who required obliging Singapore’s return to Malaysia.

Lee speedily required intercontinental acknowledgment of Singapore’s self-government and acknowledged a plan of impartiality and objectivity.  Afterwards, Singapore established powerful military associations with other countries of the ASEAN, FPDA (Five Power Defence Arrangements) and further non-communist countries. This moderately re-established the security of Singapore following the removal of British in 1971 (Wong 2008, p19).

Lee, on Malaysian Relations, looked ahead to recuperating associations with Mahathir bin Mohamad on the endorsement to Deputy Prime Minister. Lee went to Mahathir proposing to renovate the railways from Tanjong Pagar surrounded by South Singaporean regions to the Woodlands at the preceding areas of Causeway, moderately owing to a growing drug smuggling situations to Singapore.

Leader Behaviour Model – focused upon what leaders may do instead of what their personal characteristics may be (Leavy 2003, p58). In this perspective, leadership is central to performance and other outcomes. Lee was attentive how fraud led to the collapse of Nationalist Chinese administration in China. With regards to Government policies, He knew he needed to clean the house thus fighting in opposition to the communists himself is needed.

The ‘Stop-at-Two’ campaign by in the 60’s was a powerful promotion of family planning. Worried that overpopulation might burden the Singapore’s economy, Lee initiated the campaign and couples were advocated to go through sterilization following their second child; succeeding brood were given subordinate precedence in education and families acquire less financial rebates.  Concerning gambling laws, Lee uttered that he was expressively and academically in opposition to gambling. Though, he had no resistance to his son’s application to permit casinos in Singapore, stating that having a social establishment is something new leaders must come to a decision (Cheah 2003, p97).

Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory – leaders are apt to treat individual subordinates differently, and overtime the relationships between leaders and their subordinates will evolve (Leavy 2003, p59).  Lee remained within the cabinet as non-executive arrangement of Senior Minister and portrayed a position he characterized as not compulsory. His views carry weight with the people and within the cabinet. He sustains to wield massive power in the nation and is prepared to utilize it when needed.

Path-Goal Theory – the theory proposes that a leader’s primary function is to adjust his/her behaviour to adapt to and complement the given situation contingency (Dalgleish et.al 2003, p18).  In balancing Monetary Issues, particularly the employment unions as well as Singaporean employers, a structure of tripartite construction was commenced to present steadiness and dependable economic augmentation that possibly simultaneously ended strike activity and exploitation. Up to date infrastructure like roads, port, and airport as well as communication systems improved with state contributions.

Vroom-Yetton Model – this model focuses on the leader use strategies in a given situation (Leavy 2003, p60). Singapore achieved independence with self-rule in state matters apart from resistance as well as foreign affairs; Lee turned out to be the initial prime minister of Singapore on June 1959 (previous was Minister Lim Yew Hock).

Lee Kuan Yew faced numerous problems after having autonomy for Singapore, counting housing, education, as well as unemployment. In reaction to the housing predicament, Lee instituted the HDB (Housing and Development Board), a bureau which started an enormous public housing structure curriculum to alleviate the lodging deficiency (Bose 2005, p23). In recent times, Lee expressed his distress regarding the deteriorating ability of Mandarin amid young Singaporeans. Consequently there should be this unremitting regeneration of brilliant, enthusiastic, truthful, and intelligent individuals who will complete things for their citizens as well as for the country.

Transactional Leadership – theory pertains to the decision-making control on a performance-reward transaction by elevating their subordinates’ self-image and self-confidence and emotional attachment to the leader’s espoused values and to the collective (Schermerhorn, Hunt, J& Osborn 2000, p101).

Lee preserved his antagonism to the dominant alliance throughout his early reign, frequently attacking the rival as unskilled and fraudulent. Lee’s situation in PAP was really in danger when pro-communists in 1957 conquest the leadership positions, pursuing a party discussion which the left wing heaped with counterfeit members. Subsequent to the communalist fright, Lee consequently required and acquired an unmarked and stronger authorization from his constituents in 1957.

Transformational Leadership – deals with leaders who have considerable and unusual influence over their followers; it also focuses upon leaders who are unusual in how their followers become loyal to them.  In 1961, Lee started to disseminate an amalgamation with Malaysia to finish British regulation. He made use of results of referenda, wherein 70% of votes were transmitted in provisions of his application, to express that the individuals supported his arrangement.

Throughout the Operation Coldstore, Lee compressed pro-communist factions who were powerfully contrasting the amalgamation and who purportedly concerned in revolutionary deeds. Singapore was then a component of Malaysian Federation on 1963; on the other hand, the amalgamation was ephemeral.

Riots came over near the Kallang Gasworks enforcing Lee Kuan Yew and Tunku Abdul Rahman to construct public appearances with the purpose of alleviating the circumstances. The food price rose spectacularly throughout this period, because of the disruption in transportation that caused supplementary adversity. Lee was obdurate and attempted to make compromise, but devoid of accomplishment.

Lee agreed to a division agreement on 1965 that considered Singapore’s post-division associations with Malaysia so as to maintain collaboration in components such as mutual and trade protection; the Republic of Singapore was created. Singapore’s inadequate natural sources, water supplies that were indebted principally to Malaysia as well as an extremely restricted self-protective competence were the foremost challenges Lee faced.

On 1994, Lee ceased bureaucrat connections with ASEAN regimes, as well as Malaysia, so as not to go out of sorts with his descendant, Tong. He portrayed a foremost role, nevertheless, pertaining to the international relations, such as the conformity of transfer of public-supervision software for management and development of China’s Suzhou Park with Vice-president Lanqing (Pillai 2005, pp119).


Lee never stops from modifying policies and regulation for his country. If a course of action worked, he would prolong with it; if it did not work he would reject it and attempt something else (Lam and Tan 1999, p37).  His alternative and realistic approach stood brusquely.  Lee made intermittent and all-encompassing transformations. Throughout his occupancy, Singapore consecutively pushed throughout radical directional changes – export-oriented manufacturing, labour substitution, moving the economy awake of value chain, and focusing to human capital, high technology and infrastructure. Lee’s leadership can be understood in terms of the perspective for leadership, his conviction as the leader, and the flow of trustworthiness over time and tenure (Lee 1998, p64).

Lee must therefore structure a contemporary vision that projects a set of modern beliefs and values beliefs that resonate with followers.  To be more efficient, Lee must be more sensitive to the capabilities and concerns of Singaporeans, as well as having a modern knowledge of the opportunities as well as threats in their environment.  Lee must assess the current needs of his people, as well as the presently available resources, and expand a visualization with which he can challenge others to broaden their restrictions to accomplish what they formerly may have considered to be unattainable.

Furthermore, Lee must acquire the opportunity to construct his mark through developing as well as communicating a visualization which affirms Singapore’s past history of achievement sand proceeds to characterize the contemporary strategic direction which will guide Singapore in a quest to not barely discern itself from other countries, but also accomplish triumphs which will eventually distinguish itself as a country from even its own precedent history of achievement (Barr 2000, p12).

Every beginning has an end. Lee’s tenure of being a leader of Singapore had faced its closing stages. Singapore’s calling for a new leader who would guide the nation to another chapter of success story. Lee can not keep Singapore forever as much as he wanted to but nevertheless, Singapore can keep Lee for he has been a part of it. Lee will always watch his country and he would not allow anyone to wound his dear Singaporean people.Without an old man who’s afraid to die because he thinks that he can do more for his country, there’ll be no Singapore.


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