- POSTED: 27 Sep 2013 22:45
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong offers his condolences on the death of public servant Tang I-Fang, who had made important contributions to Singapore's development.
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said Singapore is lucky to have had Mr Tang I-Fang.
This was said in a condolence letter to Mrs Dolly Tang on the death of her husband.
Mr Lee said Mr Tang had come to Singapore in 1960 as part of a United Nations Development Programme team to help develop Singapore's economy.
Mr Tang was not born a Singaporean but adopted Singapore as his home, and made important contributions to Singapore's development.
Mr Tang served as chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and later the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC).
In the EDB, Mr Tang recognised that Singapore could only succeed by upgrading its economy and developing a skilled workforce. He therefore focused the EDB's investment promotion efforts on higher value-added industries such as petrochemicals, electronics and pharmaceuticals.
As chairman of JTC, Mr Tang expanded JTC's role from an infrastructure developer to a catalyst for new industries.
He also established Singapore's first Science Park at Kent Ridge and developed the Southern Islands into a petrochemical hub.
Under his charge, JTC reclaimed 650 hectares off Tuas, which was then one of the largest reclamation projects in the world.
PM Lee recalled that in 1984, Mr Tang -- who was with JTC -- had prepared ambitious plans to build a regional centre in Jurong.
However, the government had to postpone the plans because Singapore had run into a serious recession the following year. It turned out that Mr Tang was absolutely right about the strategic direction but was ahead of his time.
Mr Lee noted that current efforts to transform Jurong into the Jurong Lake District reflect many of Mr Tang's original ideas.
Mr Lee said Mr Tang was widely respected for his leadership skills and personal values, and that his passion for Singapore was beyond doubt. He demanded high standard, trained his staff well and inspired everyone around him to give their best.
Mr Lee said Singapore will miss Mr Tang.