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Many Asian leaders to attend Mr Lee's funeral

PENNING THEIR THOUGHTS: Tributes to Mr Lee from visitors to the People's Association Headquarters yesterday. The leaders of India, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea are expected to attend Mr Lee's state funeral service on Sunday.


    Mar 25, 2015

    Many Asian leaders to attend Mr Lee's funeral

    A HOST of Asian leaders are expected to attend former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's state funeral service on Sunday, even as some paid their respects earlier in the week.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be at the funeral, said an External Affairs Ministry spokesman, India's The Economic Times reported yesterday.

    China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday that "the Chinese leadership will attend the mourning and funeral service upon invitation". He did not elaborate on who would be attending.

    The state funeral service on Sunday will be held at 2pm at the National University of Singapore's University Cultural Centre. It will be followed by a private cremation at Mandai Crematorium.

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and South Korean President Park Geun Hye are expected to attend the funeral as well.

    Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said he is considering attending Mr Lee's funeral, The Phnom Penh Post reported yesterday.

    Philippine Senate president Franklin Drilon will represent Philippine President Benigno Aquino at the state funeral. He will be joined by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, said the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

    Other leaders from the region also attended a private family wake at Sri Temasek in the Istana, the official residence of the Prime Minister.

    Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou flew to Singapore yesterday to pay his respects to Mr Lee. He visited the Istana shortly after 4pm, Reuters reported. "Ma wanted to express his condolences to Lee's family face-to-face," said Taiwanese Premier Mao Chi-kuo.

    On Monday, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his wife, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, also arrived to pay their respects.

    More than 18,000 condolence cards were issued outside the Istana for members of the public to pen tribute messages to Mr Lee as of 6pm yesterday. Some 3,000 were handed out outside Parliament House.

    On Monday, more than 11,000 condolence cards were issued, said The Straits Times.

    A gun carriage will carry Mr Lee's coffin from the Istana to Parliament House this morning. From today to Saturday, Mr Lee's body will lie in state at Parliament House, where the public can pay their respects between 10am and 8pm daily.