Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The famiLEE feud: Parliamentary Hearing on Oxley's Dispute

PM Lee cries during closing Parliament speech on July 4, 2017


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong became visibly emotional during his closing speech in Parliament on July 4, 2017.

The moment came towards the end of the final statement in the two-day Parliament hearing.

This was after members of parliament were given the chance to grill the prime minister regarding allegations raised by his two siblings over the 38 Oxley Road house. His statement is a round-up to address any outstanding queries.

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PM Lee tearfully appeals to siblings for reconciliation in Parliament

In closing the 2-day parliamentary debate on the Oxley Road feud, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong teared up as he recalled his father’s wish for him to take care of his siblings in his place.

He added that he did not expect tensions between the siblings to enfold so explosively and said that he hopes he can reconcile with them in the future:
  • “When I was about 13, my father had told me, ‘If anything happens to me, please take care of you mother, your younger sister and brother.’
  • “Singapore was then part of Malaysia and we were in a fierce fight with the central government and the communalists. My father didn’t tell me but he knew his life was in danger.
  • “Fortunately, nothing happened to my father then. He brought up the family and I thought we had a happy family and he lived a long, full life.
  • “Little did I expect that after my parents died, these tensions would erupt with such grievous consequences – and after so many years, I will be unable to fulfill the role which my father hoped I would.
  • “So I hope, one day, these passions will subside and we can begin to reconcile.”

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PM Lee’s Tears Parliament In Remind Us Of Another Iconic Moment
PM Lee Makes Us Think Of His Legendary Father As He Cries

When people see a leader cry, it may make him seem more vulnerable, but also makes people see a previously untouchable and lofty person more as a human being who has emotions just like the rest of us.

So it was during Day 2 of the parliamentary sitting on the 38 Oxley Road saga that Singaporeans might have seen Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a more human light — after he turned on the waterworks in Parliament as he recalled a childhood moment.

The shocking moment happened while PM Lee was delivering his closing speech and providing a summary of queries fielded by the chamber.

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PM Lee crying in Parliament shows he is a weak leader

As a leader of Singapore you should be strong and not cry easily this only show how weak u are in just handling a family matter…. I can understand if someone die but not because of a family issue u are crying …

You are Singapore’s Prime Minister which represents Singapore. By showing you crying it does not make people pity you but show to people how weak a leader you are …

Please step down and let someone stronger to take up your role.

related: PM Lee tearfully appeals for reconciliation in Parliament

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A Real Leader Laughs at Himself but Cries for Others, Not the Other Way Round

Parliament finds no evidence of abuse of power in family spat: PM
Parliament finds no evidence of abuse of power in family spat: PM

During a parliamentary debate that spanned almost 11 hours across 2 days, not one Member of Parliament (MP) — of the 29 who spoke —substantiated any allegations of abuse of power hurled against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong by his siblings. In contrast, the Government has been shown to have “acted properly and with due process”, as PM Lee put it.

Wrapping up the debate that he had called for to address grave allegations levelled against him by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, PM Lee said that facts and explanations have been put on the record, and Singaporeans have been given “a full account of how the Government works, and what the Government has done, in the case of 38 Oxley Road”.

He added: “The allegations have been aired, have been answered and rebutted. And people can see that there has been no abuse of power, by me or the Government. I hope that this 2-day debate has cleared the air and will calm things down.”

related: PM open to setting up inquiry panel if there's proof of alleged wrongdoing

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Debate shows no abuse of power: PM

THE lengthy debate over allegations that PM Lee Hsien Loong had misused his authority regarding the fate of his family's Oxley Road home ended on Tuesday, with PM Lee stressing that the parliamentary session had sent a clear message to Singaporeans that there was no abuse of power by either him or the government.

Not a single member of parliament produced or alleged any additional facts or charges, or substantiated any of the allegations, he told the House in a speech to wrap up the debate.

PM Lee said that he & the government have "acted properly and with due process", adding that there was "no basis" to the allegations of abuse of power levelled against him by his younger siblings Lee Wei Ling & Lee Hsien Yang.

related:
No conflict of interest in appointment of AG: PM Lee
LHY, LWL allege misrepresentations made to family on 38 Oxley Rd
WP questions conflicts of roles, says Lee family saga not Korean drama show
Parliament has to clear PM over allegations or censure him: ESM Goh
PM Lee explains why he chose not to sue his two siblings over allegations

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Singapore's PM says parliament finds no evidence of abuse of power in family row

At the end of an extraordinary two-day parliamentary debate on Tuesday, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared that it had found no evidence that he had abused his power in a dispute with his siblings over their late father's house.

"Even the opposition is not accusing the government of abuse of power," Lee said in an emotional speech, his voice quavering and eyes tearing up as he rued the breakdown in relations with his brother and sister.

Since mid-June, Singaporeans have been riveted by a public battle between the heirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's long-serving first prime minister who died in March 2015, over whether to demolish the old family home or let the government decide whether it should become a heritage site.

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No evidence to support abuse of power allegation: PM Lee

Parliament wrapped up two days of debate on allegations of abuse of power over 38, Oxley Road, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saying there was no evidence to back claims that led to the sitting.

Singaporeans have been given a full account of how the Government works and what it has done in the case of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house, and ministers have dealt with questions raised, he said.

PM Lee admitted it was unrealistic to hope the matter - which has gained international attention and affected the country's reputation - would be put to rest.

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Allegations from my siblings 'mostly inaccurate': PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Jun 27) said the allegations that his siblings continue to make about him are "mostly inaccurate".

In response to media queries on the Facebook posts from his brother & sister, PM Lee said: "My siblings continue to make allegations about what I supposedly did or did not do. They are mostly inaccurate. As I earlier said, I will be making a statement in Parliament on Jul 3, 2017. I will at that time deal with the allegations that need to be addressed."

PM Lee & his siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, have been locked in a public spat over their late father Lee Kuan Yew's home at 38 Oxley Road.

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PM Lee puts onus on MPs to provide evidence for abuse of power allegations: fair or deliberate attempt to circumvent siblings

From his remarks in Parliament today concerning the selection of the House as the forum to settle the Oxley Road feud between him and his siblings, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appears to have placed the onus of proving whether the allegations  against him have truth on the shoulders of Members of Parliament.

Stating that it is the responsibility of MPs to “get to the bottom of the issue,” PM Lee asserted that the allegations of abuse of power leveled against him have been answered in the two days of Parliamentary debate and asked, “What has been the outcome? No MPs have produced or alleged any additional facts or charges or substantiated any of the allegations.”
  • “If MPs believe that something is wrong, it is your job to pursue the facts and make those allegations in your name. And if you think something is wrong, even if you are not fully sure, then come into this House, confront the Government firmly, and ask for explanations and answers.
  • “If having heard the government, you are still not satisfied, then by all means demand a Select Committee or a Committee of Inquiry.
  • But the debate has produced no evidence of abuse of power, so why the need for a Select Committee or a COI, and “drag this out for months?”
He particularly called out Workers’ Party MPs for their statements on the matter, saying party leader Low Thia Khiang did not outrightly accuse the Government of wrongdoing or cited any concrete evidence to support the abuse of power claims, before pointing out that MP Png Eng Huat only repeated the PM’s siblings allegations but did not endorse any of them.

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PAP sues opponents 'until your pants drop': Low Thia Khiang

The People’s Action Party may be seen as exercising double standards if Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong does not sue his siblings over their allegations of abuse of power, said Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang.

“By using family, does this not also show that blood is thicker than water? Own siblings cannot sue… but political opponents and critics, sue until your pants drop,” said the Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament on Tuesday (4 July).

“I wonder whether the PM is not worrying that the PAP as a ruling party will be seen as (practising) double standards,” he added.

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To Sue or Not to Sue: Defamation & Double Standards in Singapore’s Family Feud


Singapore has a reputation as a rules-based society, where no one can be above the law. It’s a mantra that has been repeated time and time again, a crucial part of the country’s reputation as a place where everything is above board and done right.

These days, this image is getting a little harder to maintain, particularly with the recent Lee family feud. Over the past two weeks Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s younger siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, have doggedly posted accusations against their big brother on their Facebook pages. They’ve alleged abuses of power, nepotism and favoritism – all claims that Singaporeans would usually hesitate to utter, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of crippling defamation suits. That, after all, is the usual reaction of politicians like Lee Hsien Loong. Lee himself acknowledged this in Parliament on Monday, when he said in his ministerial statement.

One can sympathise with the unpleasantness of having to resort to legal action with one’s own relatives, but the hypocrisy of Lee’s statement was simply too blatant to escape attention. It was best put by Low Thia Khiang, leader of the opposition, in Parliament the next day. The situation was then exacerbated by the response of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who dismissed Low’s speech as “political sophistry," then said, “And as for Tang Liang Hong, he’s not my brother.”

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PM LEE CAN SUE HIS SIBLINGS BUT SEEK NO DAMAGES TO CLEAR HIS NAME

There is a simple way to resolve the dilemma as to whether PM Lee should sue his siblings, without getting all conflicted or writing a thesis. PM Lee can sue LHY and LWL for defamation and seek nominal damages. That way, he can preserve his reputation and that of his office, and show that he doesn’t practice double standards when his character and integrity are impugned.

He will also, in only seeking nominal damages, show that he only wishes to clear his name, and that he is not looking to punish his siblings or to further damage his relationship with them (if that’s even possible).

And most importantly, it can give the matter a proper airing before his actual accusers in a proper forum. And he will demonstrate to his critics that he has nothing to hide.

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Clear the PM Lee or censure him to conclude saga, says ESM Goh

Giving his unequivocal backing to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Tuesday (Jul 4) called for a “clear conclusion” at the end of the 2-day parliamentary debate on the Oxley Road dispute.

Members of Parliament (MPs) must either clear PM Lee of the allegations on abuse of power, or censure him, he said.

Mr Goh, who was Singapore’s Prime Minister from 1990 to 2004, also slammed PM Lee’s accusers, in particular Mr Lee Hsien Yang & his wife Mrs Lee Suet Fern, for seeking to damage PM Lee’s standing.

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No reason to convene Committee of Inquiry on Oxley Road issue: PM Le

There is “not a reason” to convene a Committee of Inquiry (COI) or a select committee as of now on the Oxley Road issue, based on what his siblings Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling have said, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Parliament on Tuesday (Jul 4).

He was responding to clarifications from MPs & Nominated MPs (NMPs) on what action he plans to take following a two-day debate in Parliament on allegations by his siblings that he has abused his power.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee released a six-page statement on Jun 14 saying that they felt "closely monitored and fear the use of organs of state against them".

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Kok Heng Leun: Necessary for Govt and Parliament to address allegations in an open, transparent and fair manner

As such, I would like for Parliament to consider setting up a Public Inquiry on this matter, so that all parties involved can have their allegations and statements articulated and scrutinised equally.

It is important for Singaporeans to have an unwavering belief in our system of government. In moments of crises, the resilience of Singapore, and of our system is, at the same, being tested and being strengthened.

This is a case where the private citizen and government disagrees. How should we sort this out? And I also ask, should the government consider setting up independent ombudsman to deal with such disputes that may happen in future.

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Singapore Democratic Party calls upon AGC for investigation on allegations against PM Lee

The Singapore Democratic Party has issued a letter to the Attorney General's Chamber asking for an investigation to be carried out in response to the allegations made against the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Siblings of PM Lee, Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had accused PM Lee of abusing his power as the Prime Minister of Singapore for his personal agenda in their statement on 14 June 2017 and subsequent postings on their Facebook pages.

The letter penned by Dr Chee Soon Juan, SDP's Secretary-General wrote that the allegations made against PM Lee warrant looking into by the AGC. He writes that even though PM Lee has addressed some of these matters in Parliament on 3 and 4 July 2017, his statements must necessarily be viewed as partisan as they were not subject to critical cross-examination. Noting that PM Lee has also refused to convene a Commission of Inquiry despite widespread calls from the public to do so.

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4 Things NMP Kuik Shiao-Yin Said In Parliament That Made Sense To Singaporeans

Singaporeans have been bombarded with a plethora of videos of various politicians giving their takes on the 38 Oxley Road saga in Parliament, but we’ve finally found the only one that really matters.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday (July 3), Nominated MP (NMP) Kuik Shiao-Yin gave her 2 cents’ worth on the Oxley Road issue.

And in a speech that lasted just close to 12 minutes, she managed to highlight many issues that were close to Singaporeans’ hearts, like how this saga is affecting all Singaporeans and how this should be resolved soon:
  • Not An Ordinary Squabble
  • Focus On Abuse Of Power, Not House
  • Sue (Until Pants Drop)
  • Independent Committee Of Inquiry

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Channel NewsAsia 2 hrs

WATCH: PM Lee Hsien Loong tears up in Parliament recounting how his father told him to take care of the family.

RECAP: https://cna.asia/2tkKGT4

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14:08  WP MPs respond to ESM Goh's statement

Workers' Party secretary-general Low Thia Khiang & Png Eng Huat questioned why asking for clarifications, based on the allegations posted by Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, appear to be out of bounds.

This is particularly after PM Lee was the one who asked for the debate session, & invited MPs to question him vigorously, Mr Low said.


He also wondered if the PAP, as the ruling party, will be seen as having a "double standard", asking why PM Lee indicated he will not sue his own siblings.

Mr Low said: "We are talking about upholding the legacy of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. By using family, does this not also show that blood is thicker than water? Own sibling cannot sue? After all we're all brother and sisters? But political opponents ... sue until your pants drop."

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Live blog: Day 2 of Parliament discussions on 38 Oxley Road dispute

Parliament will hold a 2nd day of discussions on the allegations levelled against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong by his siblings amid a public spat over their late father Lee Kuan Yew's home at 38 Oxley Road.

PM Lee & Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean delivered ministerial statements on the issue on Monday (Jul 3), with the Prime Minister stating that his father accepted a proposal for the property to be renovated and redeveloped if the house could not be demolished as he wished.

Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the People's Action Party (PAP) & the opposition Workers' Party (WP), as well as Nominated MPs, made their sentiments known during the debate session.

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LIVE BLOG: MPs continue debate on 38 Oxley Road in Parliament
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Photo: Reuters)

Members of Parliament (MPs) are set to continue on Tuesday (4 July) the debate stemming from allegations made against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong by his siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang.

Tuesday’s Parliament session is scheduled to start at 11am.

At the centre of the dispute among the children of Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, lies the fate of the late statesman’s home on 38 Oxley Road.

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Channel NewsAsia‏ @ChannelNewsAsia

MP Lim Biow Chuan questions why PM Lee did not challenge his father Lee Kuan Yew's will if he had doubts http://cna.asia/jul4liveblog  #Parliament

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FamiLEE saga: Parliament debate is good, but court ruling even better
Here’s the count: So far, 12 PAP MPs, including officeholders Indranee Rajah and Janil Puthucheary, have spoken. Of the nine Opposition MPs (including three Non-Constituency MPs), five have spoken. Of the nine NMPs, five have done so. About 30 MPs have been slated to speak so we’re left with about eight more today

NOT a single People’s Action Party MP yesterday suggested to the Prime Minister that he should sue his siblings for defamation. There were a few who wondered why he didn’t challenge his late father’s will, but no one suggested that he take his siblings to the cleaners for airing dirty laundry.

The suggestion was left to the opposition MPs and Nominated MPs to make. Instead, we heard Senior Minister of State Janil Puthucheary speaking on why Parliament is the appropriate forum to debate the FamiLEE saga.

It is appropriate for Parliament to discuss the issue – or MPs would be remiss in their duty to voters. In fact, had PM Lee Hsien Loong not volunteered to make a ministerial statement and to answer queries, it would be odd if no one raised questions on the supposed abuse of power (the Workers’ Party did good on it) or moved a motion to have it discussed.

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Lee Kuan Yew willing to change views when presented with ‘robust arguments’: Heng Swee Keat
Lee Kuan Yew willing to change views when presented with ‘robust arguments’: Heng Swee Keat

Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was not one to insist that his view should prevail, & was willing to “change his views (when) presented with robust arguments”, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Jul 4).

Weighing in on a debate in Parliament centering on Mr Lee’s family home at 38 Oxley Road, Mr Heng set out for the first time what transpired during a meeting in July 2011, when Mr Lee met the new Cabinet to express his preference for the property to be demolished after his passing.

Despite Mr Lee’s seniority & his role as the founding Prime Minister of Singapore, he “did not once use his status to advance his case”, said Mr Heng, who served as Mr Lee’s Principal Private Secretary from mid-1997 to early 2000, when Mr Lee was Senior Minister.

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No abuse of power on considerations for Oxley Road: Heng Swee Keat
Mr Heng said that the allegations levelled against the Prime Minister & the Government are “general”, & in his view, there has been no abuse of power

There have been no specific allegations of acts of abuse against the Prime Minister & the Government that demand a deeper inquiry, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Jul 4).

He was speaking in Parliament on the ongoing dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.

In his speech, Mr Heng noted that the issue before Parliament is not about the preservation or demolition of 38 Oxley Road, but the allegations directed at PM Lee and the Government by PM Lee’s siblings of an abuse of power.

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GOH CHOK TONG: PNG ENG HUAT IS SPREADING RUMOURS BY READING LEE SIBLINGS' FB POSTS

ESM Goh Chok Tong lashed out at Workers’ Party’s Png Eng Huat in Parliament today for merely reading out quotes from Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling’s Facebook instead of stating his position on the issue. “Anyone can simply read. That is akin to spreading rumour. As an honourable Member of Parliament, he should state his position on what he has read. That is what we are elected as MPs for – to have a clear view on issues”.

He invited Low Thia Kiang and other opposition MPs to state their stance clearly regarding PM Lee and the Government’s integrity.

Nevertheless, he also agreed with them that allegations against the PM are baseless, calculated, and should be stopped.

related:

GCT: S'PORE SLIP INTO A 3RD WORLD IF ATTACKS ON INTEGRITY ALLOWED
GOH: SIBLINGS JEALOUSY CRUX OF THE ISSUE SG REPUTATION BE DAMNED

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Ministers facing baseless accusations should sue: Goh Chok Tong

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said that while he understands the “dilemma” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong faces amid the Oxley Road saga, he maintained that ministers should pursue legal action if baseless accusations are made against them.

“My view remains that when a Minister thinks an allegation made against him is without basis, he should sue,” he said in Parliament on Tuesday (4 July).

Goh made his speech during the second day of a Parliament session centred on PM Lee’s response to accusations made by his younger siblings – sister Lee Wei Ling and brother Lee Hsien Yang – of abuse of power in dealing with their late father’s Oxley Road home. In his ministerial statement delivered on Monday, PM Lee stated that he would prefer not to sue his siblings as it would only “drag out the process for years” and “further besmirch” their parents’ names.

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ESM Goh calls for ‘clear conclusion’ to Oxley Road dispute: Either MPs clear PM of allegations, or censure him

Giving his full backing to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Tuesday (Jul 4) called for a “clear conclusion” at the end of the debate on the Oxley Road dispute: Members of Parliament (MPs) must either clear PM Lee of the allegations on abuse of power, or censure him.

As for himself, his stance was clear. “I reaffirm my full confidence in the integrity of the Prime Minister. I have known and worked closely with him for more than 30 years. I brought him into politics in 1984, & I should add, it was not at Lee Kuan Yew’s behest. He was my Deputy Prime Minister for 14 years. He has been Prime Minister for some 13 years,” he said.

In fact, Mr Goh pointed out that the episode revealed PM Lee’s “political sensitivity & integrity”, having given the proceeds from the sale of the house away to counter any accusations of profit.  The former Prime Minister also gave his full backing to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, & was convinced that he “acted independently” as chairman of the Ministerial Committee tasked to look into the options for 38 Oxley Road.

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Siblings clearly aiming to bring PM Lee down, says ESM Goh

It is clear that Lee Hsien Yang & Lee Wei Ling’s goal is to bring their eldest brother Lee Hsien Loong down as Prime Minister, said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Tuesday (Jul 4).

The former prime minister was speaking on the 2nd day of parliamentary discussion over a public dispute between the children of Singapore’s late founding leader Lee Kuan Yew, centred on allegations made in mid-June of PM Lee abusing his powers to block the demolition of their 38 Oxley Road family home.

“Are they whistleblowing in a noble effort to save Singapore, or waging a personal vendetta without any care for the damage done to Singapore?” ESM Goh asked of PM Lee’s siblings.

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DID GOH CHOK TONG ACCUSE LEE HSIEN YANG AND WIFE OF SEDITION?

It is a stunning accusation, coming as it does from a former Prime Minister and current Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM).

ESM Goh Chok Tong, who was Singapore’s second Prime Minister from 1990 to 2004, spoke on Tuesday in Parliament on the second day of debate on the Lee sibling dispute.

In a hardhitting speech, Mr Goh focused his criticism on the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

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Mothership.sg 4 July at 21:57

During Day 2 of the Oxley Rd Parliament debate, The Workers' Party Low Thia Khiang and MParader ESM Goh Chok Tong crossed swords. Mics were dropped.

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PAP MP volleys “tough questions” on Oxley spat to PM and Parliament
Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Mr Christopher De Souza, asked 10 questions in Parliament yesterday, aimed to uncover whether there is truth to the allegations Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang have recently thrown against their brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Saying that he believes that it is the aspersions that have been cast upon organs of state that have catapulted this issue from the private domain to the public sphere, De Souza – a lawyer who has served in state courts, the Supreme Court and the Attorney-General’s Chambers – indicated that it is important to investigate whether the mission of the organs of state are subservient to the agenda of any personality, as it has been alleged by Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest children.

He then volleyed the ten following questions to the Prime Minister and to Parliament:
  • Is it true or false that organs of state are being used to target Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling?
  • Is it true that ensuring the Prime Minister’s power remains unchallenged trumps independent political legitimacy?
  • Is it true or false that the Government uses Singapore press to target Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang?
  • Is it true that public service is constrained by the Prime Minister’s misuse of power at the top?
  • Is it true or false that the leadership and direction of the government is directed for personal purposes or any other improper purpose?
  • Is it true or false that organs of the state may be used for personal agendas?
  • Is it true or false that the ministerial committee is merely a facade that the Prime Minister is able to influence in one way or the other?
  • Is it true or false that the ministerial committee never told Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling about options they were exploring?
  • Is it true or false that the Prime Minister lied to Parliament?
  • Is it true or false that the Prime Minister has misguided a ministerial committee to fulfill his own personal purposes?

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PAP MPs’ dismal show in Parliament

We previously said that we shouldn’t prejudge the MPs’ performance prior to parliament. But now that the debate is over, it’s fair game for the public to comment.

The PAP MPs’ performance in Parliament over the past two days was bad. How bad? Like, really bad. This parliamentary sitting was supposed to be about Lee Hsien Loong, and whether he abused his power in the Oxley Road saga. It was supposed to be an opportunity for MPs, including PAP MPs, to ask tough questions, and grill their Prime Minister, so that he can clear his name and move on.

Instead, many the PAP MPs and Ministers turned these two days of Parliament sitting into a de facto “Remembering Lee Kuan Yew” session – going on and on about Mr LKY, and he would have wanted, what he would have not wanted. Citing quote after quote from Mr LKY.

related: The Workers’ Party call for PM Lee to sue his siblings

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38 OXLEY ROAD DISPUTE SHOWS HOW NARROW MINDED

Well, one can argue that the AG’s appointment is different from refereeing a match but can one safely say that one can recuse himself/herself from a case completely when one already has a form of vested interest in it upon taking up the appointment? And why was it only made this year just when tensions are simmering as it happened during Lee Kuan Yew’s death anniversary last year (especially so where there are many other lawyers not aligned with the PAP or in close association with PM Lee with similar experience and credentials to Lucien Wong or Hri Kumar Nair). Yet, Indranee Rajah could defend Lucien Wong’s appointment with a straight face.

Similarly, Janil Puthucheary also argued with a straight face that parliament is the best place to resolve the matter when the whole process left more questions than answers and parliament, unlike the US Congress has no power to investigate the executive, subpoena witnesses and evidence as well as the power to cut off funds to the government agencies in question. ESM Goh defended PM Lee and attacked (to the point of besmirching) the Lee siblings and the WP without due attention to their cases. Heng Swee Keat and DPM Tharman got involved although their purview weren’t the ones in question.

And their supporters dutifully shared their attacks or reports and op-eds that tried to paint a benevolent image of them whilst ignoring the red flags even PAP backbenchers raised about the case or the questionable nature and implications of the arguments raised by the cabinet.

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A CITIZEN'S EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE IN PARLIAMENT
It was an eye-opening experience for me on 3rd July in the Parliament, as a voting citizen. I could personally notice the involvement of the MPs, the people’s representatives

The 3rd July session started at 11am when the Speaker of Parliament entered the Parliament, with her staff. This parliamentary sitting was scheduled weeks in advance and all our well-paid MPs have been informed of the date and time, with reminders by both PM and Speaker of Parliament to participate.

Guess how many MPs were present at 11:05am?
A) 1/3 of MPs were present
B) ½ of MPs were present
C) 2/3 of MPs were present
D) ¾ of MPs were present

The answer is none of the above. Less than 1/3 of the MPs were present when the parliamentary session started at 11am. Some started streaming in after 11:30. Maybe they needed to get their lunch first. Many, including our “full-time” MP in white heels, arrived by 12:20 as PM was scheduled to speak at 12:30. PM arrived at about 12:25.

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Singapore PM says in Parliament his family feud is baseless

Singapore’s prime minister has addressed his escalating family feud in a speech in Parliament, saying his siblings’ accusations that he had misused government power were “entirely baseless.”

But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Monday he would not sue his siblings.

The family dispute has been a rare political dustup in the Asian city-state led by Lee and his father since its independence in 1965. Public accusations against Singaporean leaders are extremely rare and both Lee and his father have won defamation lawsuits against their political opponents.

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Singapore PM Says Wants to Avoid Taking Family Feud to Court
Reuters
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday he wanted to avoid suing his brother and sister for defamation over allegations that he had abused his power in a dispute with them over what to do with their late father's house

The bad blood between the heirs of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister, has gripped the city-state since mid-June, when the younger siblings launched a series of attacks on their elder brother in social media postings.

"In normal circumstances, in fact, in any other imaginable circumstance than this, I would've sued immediately," Lee said in a statement to a rare special sitting of parliament, before taking questions from members.

He said any such action would "further besmirch my parents' names", while drawn-out legal proceedings would distract and distress Singaporeans. "Therefore, fighting this out in court cannot be my preferred choice," the prime minister said.

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Suing my siblings would 'further besmirch my parents' names': PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would prefer not to sue his siblings for defamation over their accusations of abuse of power, although he would have done so “in any other imaginable circumstance”

PM Lee said so while delivering his ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday (3 July) in response to allegations from his siblings Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling that he had abused his office to prevent the demolition of their family home at 38 Oxley Road.

He explained that he had considered his options “very carefully” and believed he had “a strong case”. He said, however, that he did not wish to take legal action – such as suing or challenging the late Lee Kuan Yew’s will in court – so as to protect his parents’ names and avoid dragging out the process for years.

“In normal circumstances, in fact, in any other imaginable circumstance but this, I would have sued immediately,” PM Lee said.

related: PM Lee: Allegations of abuse of power by my siblings are 'entirely baseless'

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SINGAPORE’S PM: I AM FULFILLING MY FATHER’S DYING WISHES FOR 38 OXLEY ROAD
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong makes a statement at the Istana presidential palace in Singapore. The leader addressed Parliament today about the feud between him and his siblings over the estate of their deceased father. Photo: AFP

The late Lee Kuan Yew endorsed plans to refurbish his century-old house in preparation for its possible preservation as a national monument, his eldest son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Parliament on Monday in a revelation that sharply contradicted accusations made by his younger siblings in their ongoing public feud over the patriarch’s legacy.

Premier Lee said his father, Singapore’s revered independence leader, told the family in 2011 it was “best to redevelop” the bungalow at 38 Oxley Road “right away” after his death – following a proposal by him and his wife Ho Ching. Lee Kuan Yew died at age 91 in 2015 after a six-decade political career including 31 years as Singapore’s first Prime Minister.

In the highly anticipated speech to lawmakers, Lee also said he will not sue his younger siblings Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling for the abuse of power accusations they made against him over the last three weeks. Lee had lifted the parliamentary whip for his ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) in the special debate on the feud, to allow its lawmakers to grill him without fear of overstepping party lines. The party has been in power since 1959 and controls 83 out of 89 elected seats.

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Will a parliamentary hearing make Singapore PM's problems go away?

The parliamentary meeting on July 3 will be an opportunity for Lee to clear his name, but in doing so he will have no choice to throw light on a number of issues that have unsettled many Singaporeans, including:
  • Was there a conspiracy to get Lee Kuan Yew to reinstate the clause to demolish the house?
  • Why was a ministerial committee appointed to look into options for the property with Lee's siblings and the public being kept out of the loop?
  • Was there any conflict of interest in the appointing of Lee's lawyer in the property, 63-year-old Lucien Wong, to replace 60-year-old V K Rajah as attorney general?
The edifice Lee Kuan Yew built and nurtured is crumbling. It is the responsibility of the prime minister to make sure it remains intact.

It remains to be seen whether MPs will ask the tough questions necessary to elicit hard truths from the prime minister, and what his siblings' next moves will be.

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Family feud sullies Singapore’s clean image
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at a special sitting of parliament in Singapore July 3, 2017.   Parliament House of Singapore/Handout via Reuters
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at a special sitting of parliament in Singapore July 3, 2017. Parliament House of Singapore/Handout via Reuters

The two-day debate saw Lee Hsien Loong supported by his long ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), with senior members expressing their confidence in his leadership in no uncertain terms.

Lee also dismissed calls from both opposition MPs and some of his own backbenchers to convene a Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate the close-to-home allegations.

“What is the basis for this? There are no specifics to the headline charge of abuse of power,” Lee Hsien Loong said. “After two days of debate, nobody has stood behind these allegations or offered any evidence, not even opposition MPs.”

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Full Coverage:
PM: Now that air is cleared on abuse of power, let's move on
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5 takeaways from the Parliament Debate on 38 Oxley Road
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DPM: Misconception that Gov is seeking to make a decision on 38 Oxley
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No basis for select committee now, says PM Lee
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ESM Goh: Oxley house issue a ruse to bring PM Lee down
PM Lee's siblings say he 'misled' their father
Debate shows no abuse of power: PM
Deal made to sell house for S$1 to appease siblings
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WHEN A DEAD LEADER'S HOUSE BECOMES A NATIONAL CRISIS
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I wanted to resolve issue privately, not in court: PM Lee
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Oxley Road: What MPs want to know
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