Singapore Lee Kuan Yew to meet Indonesian ex-dictator Suharto

Singapore 's founding father Lee Kuan Yew hopes to meet with Indonesia 's former dictator Suharto, whom he described as an old friend, media reports said Tuesday. "(Suharto) is an old friend of mine and remains a friend until now," Lee was quoted as saying by Koran Tempo after his arrival in Jakarta on Monday. "I want to know how he is."

Lee and Suharto both took power in the mid-60s and oversaw rapid economic growth at the expense of democratic freedoms in their neighboring nations. Lee stepped down in 1990. Suharto, whose security forces killed tens of thousands and brutally repressed dissent, was ousted in 1998 amid pro-democracy protests and riots.

It was not clear when or where the meeting would take place. Lee, who is in Indonesia for a three-day visit, is also scheduled to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other government leaders.

Since his ouster, Suharto has rarely appeared in public. He has so far avoided trial on corruption charges due to ill health. Only a handful of people have been punished for the human rights crimes he oversaw, reports the AP.


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