SPLIT FROM MALAYSIA
There is nothing to be worried about it. Many things will go on just as usual. But be firm, be calm. We are going to have a multi-racial nation in Singapore... Everybody will have his place: equal; language, culture, religion.
August 9, 1965, after Malaysia voted to expel Singapore
Freedom of the press, freedom of the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.
Address to the General Assembly of the International Press Institute at Helsinki on June 9, 1971
Role of the state
I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yes, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn't be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters - who your neighbour is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right.
Speech to the National Day Rally in 1986
Let me be frank; if we did not have the good points of the West to guide us, we wouldn't have got out of our backwardness. We would have been a backward economy with a backward society. But we do not want all of the West.
Interview with Foreign Policy, 1994
Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet…
Talking about an opposition lawmaker
The Singapore model
We knew that if we were just like our neighbours, we would die. Because we've got nothing to offer against what they have to offer. So we had to produce something which is different and better than what they have. It's incorrupt. It's efficient. It's meritocratic. It works.
Interview with the New York Times, August 29, 2007
If you forget that this is a small island which we are built upon and reach a 100 storeys-high tower block and may go up to 150 if you are wise. But if you believe that it's permanent, it will come tumbling down and you will never get a second chance.
Interview with the New York Times on Sept 13, 2010
The final verdict will not be in the obituaries. The final verdict will be when the PhD students dig out the archives, read my old papers, assess what my enemies have said, sift the evidence and seek the truth. I'm not saying that everything I did was right, but everything I did was for an honourable purpose.
Interview with the New York Times in 2010
Source: BBC ONLINE