Mr Chaudhry who held Lee Kuan Yew in high esteem as a visionary leader and statesman said Mr Lee was an astute and perceptive politician of world standing whose views were sought by very eminent leaders, and whose achievements many tried to emulate.
“As Singapore’s first Prime Minister his mission was to transform Singapore from a crowded, over-populated Third World country into a modern, progressive First World nation. And he achieved this, almost single handedly, within a short time span of 30 years – wiping out the corruption and the mess he had inherited from the British colonial administration, setting up an exemplary government apparatus and turning Singapore into a wealthy global hub.
“Today Singapore is a garden city that enjoys full employment and more than 90% of its people live in their own homes. This is an outstanding achievement for a tiny nation with limited resources. The credit for this goes largely to Lee Kuan Yew’s pragmatic leadership,” said Mr Chaudhry.
His answer to critics who accused him of suppressing media freedom and ruling with an iron fist, was to judge him by his accomplishments for his country: “I want peace and stability within the country. I am not following any prescription given to me by any theoretician on democracy.”
Fiji had the honour of hosting him to a State visit just after the 1987 coup and even in that short visit, he was perceptive enough to note that Fiji’s problem was economic inequality, and not the 1970 Constitution as was being widely claimed.
“He served as an inspiration and role model to many aspiring leaders. Even in retirement he remained a mentor and guide to his people.
His death leaves an irreplaceable void on the world political spectrum, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region,” Mr Chaudhry said.