BANGKOK – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid his respects to Thailand’s late Bhumibol Adulyadej at Bangkok’s Grand Palace on Friday (Oct 21).
PM Lee presented a white wreath at the palace, where the King Bhumibol’s body lies pending the completion of religious rites.
Mr Lee is the first Asean leader to have travelled personally to the Thai capital to pay his respects since the monarch died on Oct 13 at the age of 88.
In a Facebook post on Friday (Oct 21), Mr Lee said, “His Majesty had a long and benevolent reign. He was a great leader who shaped Thailand’s development and improved his people’s lives. He will also be remembered for fostering the enduring friendship between Thailand and Singapore. May he rest in peace.”
Malaysian prime minster Najib Razak, Indonesian president Joko Widodo and Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen are also expected to arrive in the coming days.
His heir apparent, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has yet to ascend the throne as he has asked for time to mourn with the people. Standing in as regent is General Prem Tinsulanonda, who used to head King Bhumibol’s privy council.
On Oct 13, PM Lee wrote a Facebook post recalling his meeting with King Bhumibol at an Asean summit in 2009 in Hua Hin district.
“He was a most gracious host and took a close interest in Asean programmes to promote economic growth and development,” wrote Mr Lee.
He added that “his wise leadership and enormous prestige held the country together”.