'Principled, humble & warm-hearted': Lee Hsien Loong on the late Richard Magnus

Lee said Magnus "poured heart and soul" into his many public service responsibilities.

Low Jia Ying | March 15, 2022, 07:35 PM

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Richard Magnus, a former judge and esteemed public servant, passed away aged 77 on Mar. 14.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to Facebook on Mar. 15 to pay a warm personal tribute to Magnus.

Colleague and friend for over 40 years

Lee said he was "deeply saddened" by the passing of Magnus, and shared that he was both a colleague and friend to Lee for over 40 years.

They had served together in the Ministry of Defence in the early 1980s, when Magnus was the director of Legal Services and Lee was in the General Staff.

Lee said he last met Magnus at the National Day Awards in November last year, where he received the Distinguished Service Order.

"He told me how much he enjoyed his public service, which gave him the opportunity to interact with a wide range of public officers and share his experience with a younger generation," Lee said.

Transformed judicial system, chaired Public Transport Council

Lee said Magnus started out as a legal officer, and later rose to become Senior District Judge.

He had worked closely with Chief Justice Yong Pung How to "modernise and tighten up" the Subordinate Courts.

Lee added: "They transformed our judicial system into one widely seen as among the best in the world."

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said that Magnus played a part in implementing reforms to modernise court processes, reported The Straits Times.

Lee said Magnus also "poured heart and soul" into his many public service responsibilities.

Most notable of which was his work at the Public Transport Council that he chaired.

Magnus led major reviews of the fare formula and expanded public transport concession schemes.

"He reassured the public that fare increases would be fair and justified, and that public transport would always remain affordable," said Lee.

Lee then gave his condolences to Magnus' family, and recognised his contributions to Singapore:

"In many different roles, Richard grew and stewarded our national institutions as Singapore grew and developed. He was principled, humble and warm hearted, and touched the lives and hearts of countless Singaporeans.

Richard will be deeply missed. I wish his family comfort in this time of loss and grief."

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Top photo via MCI