Home Central Asia Singapore leaders express condolences over death of former Indonesian president Habibie

Singapore leaders express condolences over death of former Indonesian president Habibie

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SINGAPORE: Singapore leaders on Thursday (Sep 12) extended their condolences to Mr Ilham Akbar Habibie over the death of his father, former Indonesian president B J Habibie.

The former Indonesian president died of heart failure at Jakarta's Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital on Wednesday. He was 83.

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READ: Former Indonesian president Habibie dies, aged 83

In a letter of condolence, President Halimah Yacob said Professor Habibie had been "steadfast" in his service to Indonesia.

"Indonesia has lost a leader who steered the country with purpose and direction during its transition to democracy and after the Asian financial crisis," said Mdm Halimah.

"President Habibie was steadfast in his service to his country and in his efforts to improve the lives of all Indonesians."

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In a separate letter, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote that the former leader had led his country during a difficult period of transition.

"President Habibie led Indonesia in a difficult transition during reformasi. It was a crucial turning point for Indonesia," said Mr Lee.

"He worked hard to stabilise the country in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. He also pushed for greater regional autonomy and decentralisation in Indonesia, with a view to uniting and improving the lives of all Indonesians."

The prime minister also noted Prof Habibie's "passion for engineering and technology", calling him a "scientist at heart".

Said Mr Lee: "His passion for engineering and technology was evident when I visited the Bandung factory of Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusatura, now known as Dirgantara Indonesia, in 1987.

"It was an impressive facility, and President Habibies pride and joy," he added. "He must surely be pleased with the significant strides that Indonesia has since made in growing its technology sector and the digital economy."

He also wrote about how the former president was "instrumental" in developing Batam, Bintan and Karimun as a special economic zone and how Singapore worked closely with him and other Indonesian minist