Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew Visits Suharto

JAKARTA ~ Former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew paid a brief visit to ex-president Suharto on Thursday.

Neither of the former leaders made any comment to waiting media after their meeting at Suharto’s residence in Jakarta.

Suharto, who has rarely made public appearances since he stepped down from power amid mounting protests in 1998, appeared weak when he escorted his visitor out after a 15-minute chat.

The 86-year-old Suharto, in a batik shirt and wearing a black peci national hat, was accompanied by his three daughters but walked unaided in and out of the house.

He did not smile or wave to the press crowding the footpath outside.

Lee, who served as Singapore’s prime minister from 1959 to 1990 and remains an influential adviser in the cabinet of his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, had been in Jakarta for a private visit since Sunday.

Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years, has been accused of being one of the 20th century’s worst kleptocrats by amassing billions of dollars for himself, his family and cronies while in power.

He has so far escaped a criminal trial over the allegations on grounds of ill health, but a civil suit against him seeking more than US$1.5 billion in damages over funds he allegedly stole is set to open next month.

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