Friday, 12 June 2015

New Law to Protect Lee Kuan Yew's Name & Image

Update 14 Jun 2017: What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew's values?
In the statement, Lee Hsien Yang said he felt “compelled to leave” Singapore “for the foreseeable future”.

The siblings of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have issued a statement of “no confidence” against their brother, saying that they felt threatened by his pursuit of a personal agenda in matters relating to their father’s home on 38 Oxley Road.

Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling, the second son and daughter, respectively, of Singapore’s first prime minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, made the open statement through their Facebook accounts in the early hours of Wednesday (14 June).

“This is the country that my father, Lee Kuan Yew, loved and built. It has been home for my entire life. Singapore is and remains my country. I have no desire to leave. Hsien Loong is the only reason for my departure,” the statement quoted Lee Hsien Yang.

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Lee Kuan Yew estate's appeal: Court of Appeal reserves judgement on interview transcripts
Lee Hsien Yang (left) leaving the Supreme Court building on 10 April 2017. Lee and his sister, Lee Wei Ling, are executors of the estate of their late father Lee Kuan Yew. (Photo: Safhras Khan/Yahoo Singapore)

Singapore’s Court of Appeal on Monday (10 April) reserved judgement into the appeal by the estate of Lee Kuan Yew against a ruling on the interviews that the former Prime Minister had given in the 1980s.

The estate, overseen by Lee’s younger children, Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, had appealed against the High Court’s ruling in September last year that while the estate has the copyright of the interview transcripts, it does not have the rights to the physical custody of the transcripts or use them freely.

The transcripts contain accounts of affairs of state as observed and experienced by Lee Kuan Yew, who was prime minister when he gave the interviews as part of a government oral history project in the 1980s.

related: Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Wei Ling say they have 'no confidence' in Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong

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Apex court reserves judgment in appeal on Mr Lee’s interview transcripts
Apex court reserves judgment in appeal on Mr Lee’s interview transcripts
The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted his oral history transcripts be kept under the custody of the Cabinet Secretary instead of the oral history unit and directed that they “shall not be made available to anyone without (his) express written permission” for a five-year period after his death. TODAY File Foto

The Court of Appeal on Monday (Apr 10) reserved judgment on another bid by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s 2 younger children to gain full control of his oral history transcripts, with the political sensitivity of the materials and whether Mr Lee had intended to bequeath the transcripts emerging as the main areas of contention between his estate & the Government.

Earlier, the High Court had ruled against Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, who are executors of their father’s estate. They had argued that as copyright holders of the transcripts of interviews he had given for a national oral history project in the 1980s, they should be allowed to access and use the materials.

On Monday, Senior Counsel Lee Eng Beng, who is representing the late Mr Lee’s estate, argued that there ought not be concerns about the politically sensitive portions of the interviews being divulged as a result, as these are covered by the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and would be punishable, if there were leaks.

related: Siblings of PM Lee said they felt "threatened" over fate of Oxley Road home, Hsien Yang to leave Singapore

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Lee Kuan Yew’s estate files application to appeal against High Court order
The late former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew / photo: twitter.com

The estate of Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore, has filed an application to the High Court for consent to appeal against court orders in a case involving the late Mr Lee's oral history transcripts.

On behalf of the estate, Lawyers from Rajah & Tann said in a statement that the court orders "relate to the decision of the High Court to disallow a further affidavit to be filed by the estate, and to seal or expunge certain affidavits, portions of affidavits, and other Court documents, from the Court file".

Last week, the High Court dismissed the application by Mr Lee's two children, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

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Younger children of LKY seek to appeal High Court judgement on oral history

The 2 younger children of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew have filed an application to appeal against a recent High Court judgement, which dismissed their bid to gain control of oral history transcripts of the Republic’s founding Prime Minister from more than 30 years ago.

In a statement, Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, who are executors of their father’s estate, said: “The Estate has filed an application to the High Court for permission to appeal against certain orders made by the High Court.

“These orders relate to the decision of the High Court to disallow a further affidavit to be filed by the Estate, & to seal or expunge certain affidavits, portions of affidavits, and other Court documents, from the Court file.”

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Lee Kuan Yew's estate files appeal against High Court order

The estate of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has filed an application to the High Court for permission to appeal against certain court orders in a case involving the late Mr Lee's oral history transcripts.

Lawyers from Rajah & Tann, acting on behalf of the estate, said in a statement on Fri (Oct 7), that these orders "relate to the decision of the High Court to disallow a further affidavit to be filed by the estate, & to seal or expunge certain affidavits, portions of affidavits, and other Court documents, from the Court file".

On Sep 28, the High Court had dismissed the application by Mr Lee's children, Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, for rights and access to transcripts relating to a series of interviews given by the late Mr Lee to the Government’s Oral History Department between July 1981 & July 1982.

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High Court dismisses application by Lee Kuan Yew's estate over transcripts

The High Court yesterday dismissed an application by the estate of Mr Lee Kuan Yew against the Government.

The estate's executors, Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, had claimed that it was entitled to use and have copies of the oral history transcripts of the late Mr Lee done in the early 1980s, as it held the copyright after Mr Lee's death on Mar 23 last year.

But the court agreed with the Government that Mr Lee Kuan Yew's right to grant permission for access, copies and use was personal to him, and it was not his intention for his estate to have free use or custody of the transcripts.

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Court dismisses application by Lee Kuan Yew’s estate over ‘sensitive’ oral history transcripts

The High Court has dismissed an application against the Singapore government made by Lee Kuan Yew’s estate, which claims that it is entitled to use and own copies of the late Lee’s oral history transcripts from the early 1980s.

According to a Straits Times report, the court said on Wednesday (28 September) that the right to grant permission for access, copies and use of the transcripts was personal to him and that it was not Lee’s intention “for his estate to have free use or custody of the transcripts”.

The court said the transcripts were covered by the Official Secrets Act and that government authorisation would be required in order to access, copy or use them. Lee’s emphasis on the political sensitivity of the material and the need to safeguard its confidentiality was also noted by the court.

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High Court dismisses application by Lee Kuan Yew's estate over transcript
The late Mr Lee in a 1980 foto. His estate’s executors,Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, claimed that it was entitled to use and have copies of the transcripts as it held the copyright after Mr Lee’s death. The oral history was recorded between July 8, 1981 and July 5, 1982

The High Court yesterday dismissed an application by the estate of Mr Lee Kuan Yew against the Government.

The estate's executors, Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, had claimed that it was entitled to use and have copies of the oral history transcripts of the late Mr Lee done in the early 1980s, as it held the copyright after Mr Lee's death on Mar 23 last year.

But the court agreed with the Government that Mr Lee Kuan Yew's right to grant permission for access, copies and use was personal to him, and it was not his intention for his estate to have free use or custody of the transcripts.

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Court application filed over Mr Lee Kuan Yew's oral history interviews
Mr Lee Kuan Yew during an interview on Aug 14, 2009. FOTO: ST FILE

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's 2 youngest children are taking the Government to court over interviews he gave more than 30 years ago.

Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, in their role as executors of the late Mr Lee's estate, believe control over the use of these interviews belongs with the estate.

Earlier this month, on Sep 2, they applied to the High Court to clarify the agreement that their father made in early 1983 over the use of these interviews, which were conducted by the Government's then Oral History Department.

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Intent of law is to prevent use of his name or image in commercial products
Mr Lee Kuan Yew's name and image to be protected

A new law to safeguard the name and image of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew from commercial profit is not aimed at restricting artistic or creative work, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said yesterday. 

Such work could include paintings, books, movies, photographs or performances that make use of Mr Lee's name or image, a ministry spokesman said in response to queries from The Sunday Times.

"Such works may be sold for private gain, but they are different from merchandised products for the mass market. Hence they will not be covered under the proposed law," the spokesman said.

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New law on Mr Lee 'not aimed at artists or creative work'


A new law to safeguard the name and image of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew from commercial profit is not aimed at restricting artistic or creative work, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said yesterday.

Such work could include paintings, books, movies, photographs or performances that make use of Mr Lee's name or image, a ministry spokesman said in response to queries from The Sunday Times.

"Such works may be sold for private gain, but they are different from merchandised products for the mass market. Hence they will not be covered under the proposed law," the spokesman said.
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Government looking to enact laws to protect name, image of Lee Kuan Yew

The Government is studying laws that can be put in place to prevent misleading use and commercial exploitation of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's name and image, said Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong.

The Government is looking at introducing legislation to protect the name and image of the Republic's founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, against commercial exploitation and misuse.

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong revealed this while speaking to the media at the sidelines of the National Community Engagement Programme Dialogue on Saturday (May 23). Mr Wong said the move comes as many members of the public have raised concerns over the misuse of Mr Lee's name.

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A lèse majesté law for Singapore’s king, long live Lee Kuan Yew!
With a proposed lèse majesté law, Singapore may soon become the world’s newest monarchy. The late Lee Kuan Yew will be its eternal king. Standing in a downpour, Singaporean soldiers salute as the coffin of Lee Kuan Yew passes during the funeral procession, Sunday, March 29. Pic: AP

Singapore isn’t a monarchy, but if the ruling party has its way, it may soon become one. And the king will be none other than the late Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Lee is Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, a highly controversial figure who is nonetheless widely respected by Singaporeans. With this law, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) hopes to make him less controversial and more widely respected—by fiat if not by rewriting our history. Yet if Thailand’s experience is anything to go by, the plan is more likely to backfire. It is in any case, ill-conceived and legally unsound.

Last Saturday, May 23, Culture, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong mooted the idea of introducing a law that will criminalise the commercial exploitation and misuse of Mr Lee’s name. According to Mr Wong, this law will not penalise those who seek to “pay tribute to Mr Lee without making a profit out of it”, only those who use his name or image for profit.  But while people may still use Mr Lee’s name, they must first seek the approval of the Government.

It remains unclear how commercial exploitation will be defined and who will be affected by this law. Will political cartoonists who sell books with Mr Lee’s image be banned? Will websites that use non-copyrighted images of him be banned if they display advertisements? Who must apply for approval? Is it anyone who wishes to use Mr Lee’s name or anyone who wishes to use it for commercial purposes? Must academics who write books about Mr Lee apply for approval if they earn royalties?

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Lèse-majesté Singapore style – the ultimate betrayal of the Singapore Constitution
Lawrence Wong, the Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth reminds me of a second-hand car salesman when I read about his recent remarks as to why the government is considering legislation to protect the name and images of Lee Kuan Yew.

Ostensibly this proposed initiative is to prevent the “commercial exploitation” of Lee Kuan Yew’s name and images. Various media quoted Lawrence Wong as citing an example, the Singapore bakery which marketed a new line of Lee bu kai ni  (李不开你) buns to coincide with the Lee Kuan Yew’s mourning period. The “李” (Lee) in Lee Kuan Yew, rhymes with “离” meaning leave. Hence Lee Bu Kai Ni means “can’t bear to leave you”. Touching stuff indeed. But somehow it did not go down well with the public.

When citing the “bun” incident, it is unclear whether Lawrence Wong’s objection was because the buns from the BreadTalk bakery were not tasty enough, and “feel stale 90% of the time”, according to a complaint lodged by a Jumi Tan in The Straits Times’ Facebook page on 24 March.  Or was it simply just too expensive at $2 a piece, as complained by another netizen Joseph Hiew to The Straits Times. Is this now the new politics of the post-LKY era – bun watching? Is it the Government’s duty to shoot down anything unbefitting to the memory of Lee because the dead man could no longer wield his libel law club to whack his critics? Or is there something more insidious brewing in the political cauldron that we ought to know?

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Don't commercialise Mr Lee's image

A senior grassroots leader in Tanjong Pagar has expressed concern whether it was appropriate to freely allow the late Mr Lee’s name and image to be used for profit.

He hopes there would be an authority looking into preventing such “commercialising” and “merchandising”.

Writing in The Straits Times' Forum on May 19, Mr Lim Cheng Kheng, who is Chairman of Tanjong Pagar Community Club Management Committee, said during the week of mourning over the death of Mr Lee, some people came up with artistic renditions of Mr Lee’s image and distributed them as car decals and badges.

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“Lee Kuan Yew” to be protected by law?


The government might be considering laws to protect the name and image of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, against commercial exploitation and misuse.

This was revealed by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong, when he spoke to media at the sidelines of the National Community Engagement Programme Dialogue on 23 May, Saturday.

Mr Wong said that this was in response to concerns raised by members of the public following the misuse of Mr Lee’s name following his death in March this year.

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Controversial Law To Protect LKY’s Name Doesn’t Go Down Well With The Public

Good intentions, but is this law a step too far in the wrong direction?


According to the Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth Lawrence Wong, the government has plans to introduce laws that will “protect the name and image” of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who unfortunately passed away on 23 March 2015.

This is meant to protect the revered name of LKY from “commercial exploitation and misuse”. He also mentioned that many members of the public have raised such concerns. (Got meh?)

Lawrence Wong said that this law, if enacted, will not be a complete ban on the usage of the late Mr Lee’s name. Instead, it will be a situation where prior approval is required from the relevant authorities.

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S’pore govt criticised for only coming up with law to protect Lee Kuan Yew’s name, image now


Singaporeans from all walks of life who worship Lee Kuan Yew have come out to strongly condemn the government. 

This after the Government is finally coming up with a law to protect the name and image of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew from commercial use and exploitation two months after his death in March 2015, aged 91.

One Singaporean, Mei Yew Yong, said he does not understand why the government had to take two months to come up with this proposal given that this is a government that supposedly has foresight: “This should have been implemented years ago. This is honestly the worst kind of ineptitude anyone can witness first-hand.”

“I can’t believe it took the Singapore government two whole months sitting on their laurels before coming up with this law. Shameful.”

related: Time for S’pore to recognise Lee Kuan Yew as a religion

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Lee Kuan Yew estate donates furniture, personal effects from Oxley Road home

Two of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's shirts, one of which is a CYC model with the label "Lee Kuan Yew", are among items that have been donated to Singapore (Photo: Stamford Law)
An England-made brown vinyl bag labelled "L. K. Y." which was used by Mr Lee when he travelled to London in the 1960s. (Photo: Stamford Law)

Executors and trustees of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's estate, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, have made a Deed of Gift of some furniture and personal effects from 38 Oxley Road, the home of Singapore's founding Prime Minister, to the people of the Republic. The announcement was made in a news release by Stamford Law, on behalf of the daughter and son of the late Mr Lee on Thursday (Jun 11). 

The deed was signed with the National Heritage Board (NHB) on Monday. The items include all the furniture from the dining room, the study room, and work area desks, including the desk he worked on for many years, as well as his clothing worn on a number of historic occasions.

They have already been turned over to NHB in preparation for a planned major public exhibition at the SG50 Tribute Gallery in August or September, the news release said.

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Regulating Lee Kuan Yew


The Singapore Story

My earliest and most vivid recollection is of being held by my ears over a well in the compound of a house where my family was then living, at what is now Tembeling Road in Singapore. I was about four years old.

I had been mischievous and had messed up an expensive jar of my father's 4711 pale-green scented brilliantine. My father had a violent temper, but that evening his rage went through the roof. He took me by the scruff of the neck from the house to this well and held me over it. How could my ears have been so tough that they were not ripped off, dropping me into that well? Fifty years later, in the 1970s, I read in Scientific American an article explaining how pain and shock release neuropeptides in the brain, stamping the new experience into the brain cells and thus ensuring that the experience would be remembered for a long time afterwards.

I was born in Singapore on 16 September 1923 in a large two-story bungalow at 92 Kampong Java Road. My mother, Chua Jim Neo, was then 16 years old. My father, Lee Chin Koon, was 20. Their parents had arranged the marriage a year previously. Both families must have thought it an excellent match, for they later married my father's younger sister to my mother's younger brother.


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What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew's values?
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