Under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore has held its own in an era of globalized finance and cutting-edge tech, even as he continued his venerated father's policy of muzzling free media and snuffing out dissent.

The premier steps down Wednesday, passing the baton to his deputy Lawrence Wong, the second non-member of the Lee family to lead the wealthy Asian nation.

As the son of the country's founding leader Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Hsien Loong had to live with the perception that he could not have become prime minister without his pedigree.