Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said on Sunday that former Indonesian President Suharto is not getting the recognition he deserves.
Lee, Singapore's first prime minister, visited his "old friend" at a hospital in Jakarta. Suharto is in very critical condition after suffering multiple organ failure.
Speaking to Singapore media, Lee praised the former president for bringing progress and development to Indonesia, and stability to the region.
Suharto, 86, has been widely criticized for corruption and human rights abuses during his 32-year rule.
"I feel sad to see a very old friend with whom I had worked closely over the last 30 years, not really getting the honours that he deserves," Channel NewsAsia quoted Lee as saying. "He deserves recognition for what he did."
"The younger generations, both in Indonesia and in the world, do not remember where Indonesia started," Lee said.
Suharto gave Indonesia "progress and development. He educated the population. He built roads and infrastructure," Lee noted.
He also cited Suharto's cooperation in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). "And today, we have a stable South-East Asia."
"Yes, there was corruption. Yes, he gave favours to his family and his friends. But there was real growth and real progress," Lee said.
Suharto was forced to step down from office in 1998 soon after the Asian financial crisis. ( Dpa )