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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 23 Feb 2006

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Singapore's first Foreign Affairs Minister S Rajaratnam dies

Source: Straits Times Obituary 23 Feb 2006 (H19)

1915 - 2006

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Singapore's first and longest-serving foreign affairs minister, Sinnathamby Rajaratnam died of heart failure at 3.15pm yesterday. He was 90.
Mr Rajaratnam was married to Piroska Feher, a Hungarian. She passed away on 18 Aug 1989. The couple had no children.
Among many things, he is remembered as the writer of Singapore's Pledge.
Milestones1
1915 Born in Sri Lanka
1954 Convenor & founder member of People's Action Party
1954 - 1959 Straits Times journalist
1959 - 1988 MP for Kampong Glam
1959 - 1965 Minister for Culture
1965 - 1980 Minister for Foreign Affairs
1980 - 1984 2nd Deputy Prime Minister (Foreign Affairs)
1984 - 1988 Senior Minister, Prime Minister's Office
1988 Retired as MP and Senior Minister
2006 Died on 22 Feb
The following is a Press Release from the Singapore Government:

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DEMISE OF FORMER SENIOR MINISTER MR S RAJARATNAM
The Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are sad to learn of the passing of Mr S Rajaratnam, and wish to convey their condolences to Mr Rajaratnam¡¯s family. Mr Rajaratnam passed away peacefully at his home at 3:15 pm this afternoon.
As a mark of respect to Mr Rajaratnam, a founding father of independent Singapore, the State flag on all Government buildings will be flown at half-mast from Thursday 23 February to Saturday 25 February 2006
The body of the late Mr Rajaratnam will lie in state at the Parliament House from 9:30 am on Friday 24 February till 12:00 pm on Saturday 25 February 2006. The public may pay their last respects at the Parliament House from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm on Friday.
A State Funeral for the family and invited guests will be held at the Esplanade on Saturday 25 February 2006.
PRIME MINISTER¡¯S OFFICE
22 Feb 2006

Source: www.gov.sg Press Release 22 Feb 2006

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COPY OF PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG'S CONDOLENCE LETTER ON THE DEMISE OF MR S RAJARATNAM
Dr Vettivaloo Kandasamy Pillay
30 Chancery Lane Singapore 309549
Dear
My wife and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr S Rajaratnam. Please accept our deepest condolences and sympathies.
Mr Rajaratnam was one of Singapore¡¯s founding fathers. He helped to create modern Singapore, and to define who we are and what we stand for as a nation. He played vital roles at every stage of our nation building, from the 1950s until the 1980s.
Mr Rajaratnam started out as a journalist critical of colonial rule. Later, he joined Mr Lee Kuan Yew and others to form the PAP and fight for independence from the British. A gifted speaker and writer, he was highly effective in mobilising the ground and shaping public opinion. When the PAP was elected to form the government in 1959, he was a member of the core leadership team. He was at his finest in the fight against the Communists, demolishing their arguments with indomitable vigour. Later when Singa­pore was in Malaysia, he fought just as fearlessly against the communalists for the equal rights of all races, as guaranteed in the Malaysian Constitution.
Mr Rajaratnam believed deeply in the vision of one nation and one people. Shortly after Singapore became independent in 1965, he drafted the National Pledge. Having experienced first hand the divisive and destructive potential of race and religion, he was unwavering in his conviction to make Singapore a home of ¡°one united people, regardless of race, language or religion¡±. This pledge has become an abiding part of the Singapore identity and psyche.
Mr Rajaratnam was Singapore¡¯s first and longest-serving Minister for Foreign Affairs. He worked hard to establish our foreign relations from scratch, and to dispel any doubt about Singapore¡¯s legitimacy and viability. He laid down the key principles of Singapore¡¯s foreign policy, and never wavered in advancing our national interest even when this required him to go against the political fashion of the day. He helped to found ASEAN and to shape its development, especially in the long diplomatic campaign against the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia. He was much liked and respected by allies and even adversaries, not just for his competence and eloquence, but also his personal warmth and humility. Through him, Singapore gained many friends abroad.
Towards the end of his career, Mr Rajaratnam made a final important contribution: he supported leadership renewal, and the induction of a younger team of second and third generation leaders for Singa­pore. When I entered politics in 1984, it was Mr Rajaratnam who chaired the PAP Committee which interviewed me. He remained in Cabinet until 1988 as Senior Minister, giving us the benefit of his experience and insights. He had slowed down with age, but his fighting spirit was undiminished. I and the other new ministers treasured his wisdom and were deeply inspired by his integrity, dedication and passion.
A new generation of Singaporeans has grown up since Mr Rajaratnam retired. They may not have known him personally, but they are forever indebted to him and the small group of men whose determination, courage and leadership enabled Singapore to survive and prosper against all odds. Mr Rajaratnam¡¯s legacy will long endure in Singa­pore.

Source: www.gov.sg Press Release 22 Feb 2006

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1 The Straits Times 23 Feb 2006 (H2)
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