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“Lee Hsien Yang was modest and more in touch with the ground” – Ex-NTUC Income CEO recalls

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Ex-NTUC Income chief executive Tan Kin Lian has recalled that founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest child, Lee Hsien Yang, was approachable, down-to-earth and “in touch with the ground” when he headed Singtel and F&N.

Tan wrote on social media yesterday that he was prompted to share his perspective on Lee Hsien Yang when someone asked him whether Lee got his position as CEO of Singtel and Non-Executive Chairman of F&N because of “meritocracy”.

Replying to the question by sharing an anecdote from years ago, Tan said that a union leader of Singtel told him that Lee “was quite approachable. He travelled on economy class when doing business for SingTel.”

Tan added: “I felt that Lee HY was quite modest and more in touch with the ground. He was not arrogant or lived in the ivory tower. I had a positive impression of Lee HY at that time.”

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Adding that he does not know much about Lee in the later part of his career, Tan asserted that he can “understand and support his actions” as Lee takes a “different position” and has “different values” from his elder brother, current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong:

“Someone asked whether Lee HY got his position as CEO of SingTel and F&N out of “meritocracy”.
“I replied with this perspective. A few months after Lee HY was the CEO of SingTel, I asked a union leader of the workers in SingTel how was Lee HY like.
“He replied that Lee HY was quite approachable. He travelled on economy class when doing business for SingTel.
“I felt that Lee HY was quite modest and more in touch with the ground. He was not arrogant or lived in the ivory tower. I had a positive impression of Lee HY at that time.
“I did not know much about him in the later years. But I can understand and support his actions in taking a different position from Lee HL. He has different values from his older brother.”

Lee Hsien Yang came back into the news this week when he donated to blogger Leong Sze Hian’s legal fund as the latter plans to fight PM Lee in court over a defamation case PM Lee has brought on against him.

Earlier, PM Lee commenced legal proceedings against Leong for defamation after the latter shared an article on his Facebook page that alleged that the head of government helped launder 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

Leong, who initially said that he was “bewildered” by PM Lee’s actions said on Wednesday that he is fighting the claims against him in court. Besides filing a defence, Leong is also filing a counterclaim against PM Lee for “abusing the process of the court in bringing the claim against me.”

That same evening, Leong revealed to this publication that “people have started to crowdfund for my Defence Fund. Lee Hsien Yang sent me a message that he has transferred – lo and behold he is the first one to do so into my account!”

Lee Hsien Yang confirmed to the press that he gave Leong a “meaningful sum”. On why he chose to give to Leong’s legal fund, Lee quipped: “Surely it needs no explanation?”

Leong, in the meantime, is hoping to raise at least $10,000 for his defence fund. You may contribute through the following channels:

Account Name: Leong Sze Hian
POSB Savings 064064070
Paynow S0009739Z
Paypal ecuadortrade@yahoo.com.sg

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