Friday 24 February 2012

Kazakhstan presents friendship order to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

By Phua Mei Pin, The Straits Times, 23 Feb 2012

KAZAKHSTAN has conferred a friendship order on former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in recognition of his role in advancing the friendly ties between Kazakhstan and Singapore.

At a ceremony at the Istana on Tuesday, Kazakhstan Ambassador to Singapore Yerlan Baudarbek-Kozhatayev presented the Dostyk Order of the First Degree to Mr Lee. Mr Lee also received a medal commemorating Kazakhstan's 20 years of independence.

'Dostyk' means 'friendship' in the Kazakh language. The order is for senior political leaders and was awarded to Mr Lee by decree by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Other recipients included United Nations Secretary-general Ban Ki Moon and Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

In his book The Kazakhstan Way, President Nazarbayev, who visited Singapore in 1996 and 2003, singled out Mr Lee and former French president Charles de Gaulle as two 'eminent founding statesmen' whom he considers good examples.

Mr Baudarbek-Kozhatayev noted that Kazakhstan learns from Singapore's budget policy, infrastructure, public service, and education and health-care systems.

Mr Lee, who visited Kazakhstan in 1991, said both Kazakhstan and Singapore are relatively young countries that must carve out political and economic space for themselves in the international arena. He expressed optimism that bilateral ties will continue to grow.

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