Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew's condition worsens: Govt

  • AFP, Singapore
  • Updated: Mar 21, 2015 11:09 IST

The condition of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew "has worsened", the government said on Saturday, as the critically ill founding leader of the city-state entered his seventh week in hospital.

The 91-year-old Lee has been in the Singapore General Hospital since February 5, suffering severe pneumonia and is being helped to breathe using mechanical ventilation, a form of life support.

The government said this week that his condition had deteriorated and that he was critically ill.

In its latest statement on Saturday, the office of his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, "Mr. Lee Kuan Yew's condition has worsened."

The patriarch has been credited with transforming the tiny island-state from an economic backwater into one of the world's richest societies in just over three decades.

Prime Minister Lee posted the latest bulletin on his Facebook page and was immediately flooded with well wishes and messages of support.

Lee Kuan Yew was prime minister from 1959, when colonial ruler Britain granted Singapore self-rule, to 1990. He led Singapore to independence in 1965 after a brief and stormy union with Malaysia.

He is credited with modernising Singapore into a vibrant financial hub despite its lack of natural resources and western leaders often sought his views on China and other regional developments.

Rights groups, however, have criticised his iron-fisted rule, which has seen political opponents jailed or driven to bankruptcy through costly libel suits.

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