MM Lee attends final cabinet meeting

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The last Cabinet meeting for Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. (PMO photo)
The last Cabinet meeting for Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. (PMO photo)

It was the last Cabinet meeting for nine ministers yesterday, including Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, 87, and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, 70.

For MM Lee, it marks the end of his 52 years in government after he chaired his first meeting in June 1959 when he was prime minister.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told mainstream media, "We were all conscious that this was the end of an era."

He said, after a short agenda of routine business, he thanked SM Goh, MM Lee and the retiring ministers.

"MM spoke, recalling his first Cabinet meeting in May 1959 in City Hall, just after the PAP had won the election. He said there was a photo of that meeting too," said PM Lee.

"MM said he was happy that the new team taking over was a strong one, and that he and SM had made the right decision to step down completely," he continued.

The other retiring ministers also spoke, with SM thanking MM Lee, on the behalf of all present, for his "unwavering policy of self-renewal", which allowed ministers the opportunity to serve in Cabinet.

As the ministers applauded MM Lee, MM Lee wished the new team well and success in tackling difficult challenges ahead.

According to those present, the mood at the meeting held at the Istana was reflective, reported The Straits Times.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam told the paper, "For me, it was seeing history being made."

"For my generation, MM symbolises Singapore -- a leader not just of a party but of a whole movement."

Foreign Minister George Yeo, who will be stepping down, wrote in his Facebook page: "With MM Lee and SM Goh stepping down, a chapter closes and a new one opens in the Singapore story."

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan also penned a short note on his Facebook page on Friday. He wrote, "My last day in MOH today. This follows the last Cabinet Meeting with MM and SM yesterday."

"Yes, the end of an old era and the beginning of a new one. Reflective, but also quiet confidence that the best days are ahead of us. So long as we stay untied as one people," said Minister Khaw.

On Saturday, the new Cabinet of 15 ministers will be sworn in and new faces will occupy the emptied seats.

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