Monday, 3 July 2017

The famiLEE feud: PM Lee Hsien Loong's Ministerial Statement

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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Live blog: PM Lee delivers ministerial statement on allegations of abuse of power

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is delivering a ministerial statement refuting the allegations made by his siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang, in Parliament on Mon (Jul 3).

The dispute between the siblings over the house of their late father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, at 38 Oxley Road spilled into the public sphere on Jun 14, when Dr Lee & Mr Lee Hsien Yang issued a joint statement accusing their brother of abusing his powers in Government, saying they have "lost confidence" in him.

This led to PM Lee apologising to Singaporeans for the dispute, saying it has affected Singaporeans' confidence in the Government, and that the "baseless accusations" against the Government must be dealt with openly

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LIVE BLOG: PM Lee to deliver ministerial statement on 38 Oxley Road in Parliament
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is set to deliver a ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday (3 July) over allegations made by his siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang.

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.

The session is scheduled to start at 11am, and includes parliamentary questions over the ongoing saga as well as another ministerial statement concerning the matter by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

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Channel NewsAsia‏ @ChannelNewsAsia 22 minutes ago

"We must keep public institutions neutral and not have allegations hurled at public officers": DPM Teo #Parliament http://cna.asia/Jul3liveblog

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‘An ugly media circus’: Workers' Party urges settlement of Oxley Road dispute in court

A dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong & his siblings that has been playing out on social media should be settled in court, said Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Low Thia Khiang in Parliament on Monday (Jul 3).

“This Lee family saga playing out on Facebook has become an ugly media circus. Settling this in court would enable everyone to put forward their sides of the story with evidence & with dignity,” he said.

The dispute between PM Lee & his siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, has been ongoing since Jun 14, when Mr Lee and Dr Lee published a statement saying that they "felt threatened" by PM Lee’s use of his position and influence over the Government and its agencies to "drive his personal agenda” since their father died on Mar 23, 2015.

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Allegations levelled in Oxley dispute should be dealt with in court, says Low Thia Khiang

He also asked why lawyer Lucien Wong, who previously served as PM Lee’s personal lawyer, could have been appointed the Attorney-General last year.

“Is there also a conflict of interest here? Was this consideration taken into account when he was appointed the Attorney-General? Can the Prime Minister clarify the role of the Law Minister and the Attorney-General in this matter and explain to the House whether there is any conflict of interest,” he said.

Urging the Government to “move on” from this dispute, Mr Low said: “I am personally perplexed and lost, as are many Singaporeans, on the Lee family saga. However, this is not a Korean drama show. It is a serious matter because it affects the credibility of the entire country.”

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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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WP: Lee Family Feud has Seriously Distracted Cabinet from Dealing with Singapore’s Problems

Workers Party chief Low Thia Khiang said in parliament today that the participation of Cabinet members in the Lee Family Feud has distracted them from dealing with problems facing Singapore.

He cited examples of a rising security threat, global politics, and infrastructural issues such as the persistent MRT breakdowns as problems which the government should be concentrating on. Mr Low said that the Lee Family Feud is a family matter and should be resolved within the Lee family.
“Although the Prime Minister has said this saga will not affect the work of the government, I am of the view that it is a serious distraction to the government in dealing with serious challenges when the Cabinet members, all of them are not members of the Lee family, but have been unnecessarily drawn into the dispute, that to me is essentially a family dispute.”
Mr Low also urged PM Lee Hsien Loong to solve the matter in court instead of using the government machinery.

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5 key points from Mr Low Thia Khiang’s speech on 38 Oxley Road

After PM Lee Hsien Loong’s ministerial statement in Parliament on allegations made by his siblings, Workers’ Party Secretary-General and Aljunied GRC MP Low Thia Khiang responded with some harsh but fair words.

Here are the 5 key points from Mr Low’s speech:
  • The Workers’ Party is of the view that the Prime Minister should go to court to prove his innocence
  • Both sides have crossed the line between Private and Public
  • Conflict of interest
  • The Government needs to move on
  • End the saga now!

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10 common sense quotes by Low Thia Khiang in parliament about Oxley Road saga

One of the most anticipated speeches in parliament today, after PM Lee’s statement, is probably the speech by Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang.

As the second parliamentarian to speak after Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yi Pin, the Aljunied GRC MP did not mince his words as he laid down WP’s position, his personal take on the issue, and how the government can move on from the saga. Here are 10 common sense quotes by Low in parliament about the Oxley Road saga:
  • “I would like to state from the outset that the Workers’ Party has only a simple and broad position on this unfortunate saga, that is, the Workers’ Party is concerned about how this saga would affect our nation.”
  • “We are of the view that the Prime Minister should go to court to prove his innocence for the allegations of lying and abuse of power made by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.”
  • “As an outsider to this dispute, I personally believe the acrimony between the Lee descendants has much deeper roots than just the fate of the house arising out of the will.”
  • “This saga is distracting the government, distracting Singaporeans, and distracting the international audience and damaging the Singapore brand.”
  • “Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling should not make vague allegations in the public domain against the Prime Minister based on scattered evidence centered on family displeasure.”
  • “Good government cannot be achieved in social media”.
  • “Can the Prime Minister clarify the role of the Law Minister and the Attorney General in this matter, and explain to the house whether there is any conflict of interest?
  • “I am personally perplexed and lost, as are many Singaporeans, on the Lee family saga. However, this is not (a) Korean drama show.
  • “I have a couple of personal suggestions for the Government to consider to end the matter and move on.”
  • “I urge the Prime Minister and the cabinet to do whatever is necessary to bring this dispute to quick resolution.”

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Summary of speeches on Oxley Road saga by other WP MPs whose name is not Low Thia Khiang

Yesterday afternoon in parliament was not just a Low Thia Khiang show.

Besides Low, four Workers’ Party (WP) parliamentarians also spoke up in parliament, asking some hard questions on issues related to conflict of interests and seeking reasons on why PM Lee is not adopting the court as a platform to resolve the dispute.

Perhaps they were responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s call to ask more specific questions. In PM Lee’s speech, he noted that the questions by WP MPs were “general” and urged them to raise “specific allegations or facts about any wrongdoing or impropriety” if they come across such allegations. Here are the summaries of their speeches:

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Sylvia Lim questions AGC’s integrity in Parliament

On the heels of Workers’ Party’s Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang who challenged Attorney-General (AG) Lucien Wong’s role in the Oxley Road saga, party chairman Sylvia Lim volleyed more questions about the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ (AGC) integrity, in Parliament today.

Highlighting that Wong might not be the only one who could be accused of having a conflict of interest since he was the Prime Minister’s personal lawyer until his appointment as AG, Lim pointed out that the deputy AG, Hri Kumar, was a card-carrying PAP MP before being appointed this year. She asked whether both Wong and Kumar will recuse themselves from the matter.

She said, “I am concerned about the conflict of interest. How will the AGC act in advising the Government on any decision it wishes to take on 38 Oxley Road? Has the AGC been already giving advice to the committee and who in the AGC is giving the advice? Has the AG recused himself from touching the file since he has represented PM Lee in his personal capacity as a beneficary? “My concern is … how we protect the rule of law and our institutions. Let us be most alive to the risk of a slippery slope that erodes public trust and independence of our organs of state.”

related:
NMP calls for independent inquiry as Parliament may not be best
“This is not a Korean drama show” – Low Thia Khiang

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WP NCMP LEON PERERA: CRUX IS NOT LEE FAMILY DISPUTE, BUT ABUSE OF POWER!

In a bid to refocus parliament onto proper issues of state and to move away from the Lee family drama, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera reminded those in parliament today that the crux of the debate should not center around 38 Oxley Road house or the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s last will or even on the affairs of the Lee family.

Instead, “the abuse of power and the integrity of a public institution are serious issues and they are the crux of the matter today,” he said. He made it clear to everyone that Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling had made several accusations of abuse of powers in their Facebook postings, including the attempt to use a ministerial committee to pursue a personal agenda, improper use of a document obtained in a public capacity to perform acts of a private capacity, allegations of intermeddling and appropriation of items without the permission of the estate by PM Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, and her influence over government functions, and the allegations of government surveying and harassment of Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Wei Ling and their friends and close associates.

He slammed the cabinet committee set up to deliberate on the fate of 38 Oxley Road, and pointed out that an independent commission should have been appointed instead to avoid the potential conflict of interest for ministers who have to decide on a matter which their superior has a vested interest in.

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Chen Show Mao: I’m not Lee Kuan Yew’s son

Opposition MP Chen Show Mao today faulted the 38 Oxley Road Ministerial Committee for looking beyond Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will to his intentions, thereby undermining the work of the probate court. In his speech he explained why he is not a son of Lee Kuan Yew, directly countering DPM Teo’s suggestion that all Singaporeans are.

认祖归宗。 SONS AND DAUGHTERS. In Parliament today, DPM Teo Chee Hean gave a ministerial statement on the Ministerial Committee that was set up to look into 38 Oxley Road. He extolled the legacy of LKY and how we in Singapore are all LKY’s sons and daughters.

That started me off and I rambled on to the following effect.

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ESM Goh tells Low Thia Khiang to move on, Low says sorry cannot

In otherwise long and dreary parliament session on July 4, there was an exchange between Workers’ Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong that brought some life to the debate on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s ministerial statement in parliament refuting allegatons of abuse of power by his siblings.

ESM Goh had used the example of how he handled the Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) case to illustrate how a controversy in the past involving founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was resolved conclusively, and asked Low and other Members of Parliament (MPs) to “state their position clearly on PM’s and the Government’s integrity.”

Low responded in his trademark incisive and colourful way, comparing the parliamentary session as “ownself defend ownself” and went to push the point to clarify why PM Lee is not suing his siblings.

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Highlights from the discussion of PM Lee’s family saga in Parliament

As expected, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s anticipated elucidation of his family saga in Parliament was the opposite of compelling political drama — he made a very long statement, had the verbal support of other ministers, and didn’t have the chance to answer the questions posed at him. Surprisingly though, some of his subordinates in the ruling party directed some not-so-soft queries too.

In other words, it turned out exactly the way you’d expect the whole thing to be. The parliamentary debate won’t end the public drama between him and his siblings Lee Wei Ling (LWL) and Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) though, who’ve accused the prime minister of abusing his power over the ongoings of their father (Lee Kuan Yew)’s will.

Just like you, we’re pretty worn out from all the walls of text issued from both sides of the party, so here’s a TL;DR summary of things revealed in Parliament today. Let’s just get this bloody over with. Parliament will sit again tomorrow morning.

related: Lee siblings' heartfelt justifications why they brought their family tiff public

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MINISTERS GO ALL OUT TO DEFEND BIG BROTHER LOONG

As expected, PM Lee took to the Parliamentary seating as promised and delivered his rebuttals to all the allegations made by his brother and sister. At the same time saying taking them to court would have besmirched the reputation of their parents. In case he has not noticed, this whole saga have already ruined the reputation of his parents. The reputation that they had raised good children, all of the illusions gone. As everyone can see, there are clearly issues with the siblings, and their relationship is probably gone beyond repair after today.

And as expected, while the whip was conveniently lifted for PAP MPs to question their boss in Parliament on the Oxley Road saga, no one from PAP did that so far. In fact, DPM Teo followed up PM Lee's statement with his own statement, followed by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong also addressing Parliament. Instead of questioning PM Lee on this issue, they went all guns blazing defending the Saga in PM Lee's favour.

In fact, they cast further questions on the integrity of Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling. In fact, they painted the picture that the allegations made by the siblings are all baseless, that all of the Ministers have acted in accordance to what is accepted, and they had kept the siblings in the loop on all the matter that they have decided on the matter. So, what is this Parliamentary sitting about? To elaborate more on the issue at hand about Oxley Road, or to defend PM Lee, sings his merits, and paint his siblings as the villains? The way the Ministers are defending their boss, it would seem so,.

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PM LEE: I'M NOT SURE WHY MY SIBLINGS ARE UNHAPPY EVEN WHEN OXLEY ROAD WAS SOLD TO THEM

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong began his ministerial statement on the dispute surrounding the late Lee Kuan Yew’s 38 Oxley Road home at 12.30PM today.

He began his speech by stating that he was not out to make his case against his siblings, and that he would try to resolve personal differences privately. However, he would address accusations made against the Singapore government and the charges that he had abused his position of power as Prime Minister.

PM Lee gave his background on the 38 Oxley Road dispute, and said that the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew did not have an all or nothing view on the demolition of the house. Following a “strong public pushback” against his desire to demolish the 38 Oxley Road house, which was made public in his book “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going”, PM stated that the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew had reflected on his stand and decided on a middle ground compromise – to renovate the house and remove the private spaces.

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WP MPs participate in PM Lee’s wayang, all PAP MPs refuse role

Today’s Parliament sitting may turn out to be the biggest joke of any democratic country in the universe. At stake is the integrity of the PM and government and the issue should have been settled in court. Instead, PM Lee has decided to abuse public resources by requesting his subordinates and a few WP MPs to grill him in Parliament.

Perhaps a revolt of sorts, all PAP MPs have refused to participate in this Parliamentary wayang. Unfortunately, the wayang will go on because there are 6 questions from the Wayang Party, I mean WP. As to be expected, answering the 6 questions will subsequently raise even more questions because parliament is the wrong forum.

WP MPs – half of them lawyers – should have known the issue also involves defamation at the highest level and has to be settled in court. Unless the integrity of the government matters little. Why then is WP agreeable to abusing public resources?

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No fireworks on 3rd July in Parliament

Those expecting a colorful fireworks display in Parliament on 3rd July will be very disappointed, because there won’t be one.

Although PM Lee has agreed to “lift the whip” (also dunno for what) and “encourage” his subordinates to vigorously question him on the allegations hurled against him by his sibling, NONE of his subordinates have filed any questions remotely close or related to the accusations against him.

Simply put, with the exception of the Workers Party who have filed a few mostly irrelevant questions skirting on the borders of the accusations,  not a single subordinate of PM Lee will be asking any questions. What then is left for the Parliament session will be (according to the Order Paper)?

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PM Lee: Integrity of government matters less than my dead parents’ reputation

Although PM Lee has told Parliament that he does not depend on LKY’s legacy, he somehow found it convenient to use his parents’ names to wriggle out of the mess he had created. If PM Lee was even concerned about his parents’ reputation, he would not have dragged the issue into Parliament where he would be defended by his subordinates and state resources at his disposal.

PM Lee’s reason for not taking legal action against his sibling: “It would also drag out the process for years, and cause more distraction and distress to Singaporeans. Therefore, fighting this out in court cannot be my preferred choice… But suing my own brother and sister in court would further besmirch our parents’ names.” Without state machinery backing and a PAP-controlled MSM, PM Lee’s cowardly actions will force his siblings to retaliate via social and international media. Will this not drag on the dispute – with no end in sight – and further besmirch their parents’ names? Is PM Lee not concerned about Singapore’s reputation at all?

At stake is the integrity of the government – more than 140,000 public servants – but PM Lee is only concerned about the reputation of 2 dead persons, ie his parents. Why is the leader of our country not bothered about the integrity of the government?

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5 Interesting Things We Noted From PM Lee’s Parliament Speech On The Oxley Road Saga

Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the session on Monday (July 3), proceedings commenced 2.5 hours earlier than usual — at 11am instead of 1.30pm.

The party whip was also be lifted, allowing members from PM Lee’s own party to question him and his ministers from the “secret ministerial committee” set up over the future of his family home.

While the family dispute, now affectionately known as the 38 Oxley Road saga, has been covered extensively prior to today’s Parliament session, PM Lee’s speech did reveal some new details not many had previously heard of. We list down 5 of the most interesting things we learnt:
  • Many People Don’t Want The House To Be Demolished
  • LKY’s Wife Didn’t Enjoy Visitors
  • PM & His Brother Donated 1.5x The House’s Value To Charity
  • Singapore Must Be “Sad” If PM Needs A “Magic” House
  • PM Lee Wanted To Sue His Siblings, But…

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All you need to know about PM Lee’s ministerial statement on Oxley Road saga in 2 minutes

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered the long awaited ministerial statement in Parliament on Jul 3, refuting serious allegations made by his siblings Lee Wei Ling (LWL) and Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) since June 14.

As there is no live telecast, let’s summarise the 13 key points of PM Lee’s speech:
  • Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) wrote to the cabinet three times, with Ministers (minus PM Lee) unanimous in expressing their opposition to knocking the house down.
  • LKY had earlier approved plans to demolish Oxley’s private living spaces but keep the basement dining room for historical purposes in 2012, and no family members had objected.
  • LHY objected for the first time to the renovation plans that LKY had approved during the reading of his will.
  • PM Lee took two major steps to remove himself from the discussions and decision-making related to the house.
  • PM Lee’s differences with his siblings is down to one question: what did LKY think about the house, apart from demolition?
  • PM Lee thinks there is no need for argument. Yet.
  • Ministerial Committee: To say it is not independent as Minsters are his subordinates “cannot be right”
  • Deed of Gift: “It is nonsensical to say that because I saw the Deed in my official capacity as PM, I could not raise the matter with a family member.”
  • Nepotism: Ho Ching does not report to him and his son Li Hongyi is not interested in politics.
  • Parliament may not be a court of law, but it is the highest body in the land.
  • PM Lee will separately issue whatever he says in this debate as a statement outside the House which will not be covered by Parliamentary privilege.
  • PM Lee prefers not to sue his siblings.
  • In Singapore, everyone is equal before the law.

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Everything you need to know about DPM Teo’s parliament statement on the Oxley Road saga

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean spoke on the Oxley Road saga in Parliament today (July 3), following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s opening ministerial statement on the issue.

He addressed in particular, the code of conduct for Ministers, the background and the work of the Ministerial Committee, its terms of reference and also next steps for the government.
Here is a summary of the points he made in his speech:
  • Code of conduct and upholding integrity for Ministers and the Public Service
  • Ministerial Committee
  • Terms of reference of the Committee
  • On Lee Hsien Yang’s allegations about the Committee
  • On meeting LHY six times between 2015 and 2016 before the Ministerial Committee was formed
  • Next steps for the Government on the house at 38 Oxley Road

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's statement on 38 Oxley Road
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Oxley Road: Full transcript and video of ministerial statement in Parliament by PM Lee Hsien Loong

I am making this statement today because my siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, have made serious allegations of abuse of power against me and my Government.

The allegations seem to concern primarily three matters. One, the setting up of the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road.


Two, the Deed of Gift for some artefacts from the house that were to be displayed in an exhibition by the National Heritage Board (NHB).

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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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FamiLEE saga: Parliament debate is good, but court ruling even better

The opposition MPs made quick work of the PM’s hesitance to take his siblings to court. There were barely concealed jibes made by WP chief Low Thia Kiang about why the PAP wasn’t resorting to its trademark defamation route now when lesser mortals have been taken to task for less infamous remarks. Even if at the end of today, Parliament moves a motion thanking the PM for clearing the air and declaring itself satisfied with his answers, would that draw a line under the matter? I’d wager that it won’t.

I have always maintained that the PM should sue his siblings for defamation because there must be consistency in the G’s words and actions. The G has always made it clear that it would not countenance attacks on its integrity and which would erode confidence in its institutions. In the case of blogger Roy Ngerng, he did not openly call the PM a “thief”, but the implication in his blog post was enough to set the legal wheels turning. Here, the PM is being called worse names.

There is another merit to having it dealt in the courts. It would put a stop to the Facebook “brawl’’ that Singaporeans have been subjected to in the past fortnight because the legal process forbids further discussion. Surely, even the Lee siblings would respect judicial rules? This means we can get on with our lives and the G can get back to governing because lawyers will now handle the matter. This would show that the G means business: nobody, whether family members or not, will be allowed to pull down its reputation and make it a laughing stock. You are not “privileged’’ because of family connections.

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Speaker of Parliament says lifting of whip for Oxley Road issue signals robust debate
Parliament has 'checks and balances'
Halimah: Parliament has 'checks and balances'

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob called on all MPs to examine issues surrounding the Oxley Road dispute thoroughly, saying a robust parliamentary debate today is necessary to put to rest allegations of misuse of power.

Speaking yesterday, ahead of what is arguably the most closely watched debate in recent years, she said: "I do hope that we will have a very robust debate & that we will have some finality on the issues that have been raised because I think that is in the interest of the country."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make a ministerial statement to respond to allegations of abuse of power made by his siblings Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling in a feud over the fate of their late father's Oxley Road house. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean is also slated to speak.

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Halimah Yacob says she hopes Oxley Road dispute will be 'properly debated' in Parliament

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob on Saturday (Jul 1) said that she hoped issues would be "properly debated" in Parliament on Monday, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is set to address allegations by his siblings against him.

"There will be of course a lot of speeches, but I do hope that we can see that the issues are properly debated and hopefully, if we can have some finality, that would be ideal. But I really leave it to the debate," she said when asked on the sidelines of a People's Action Party (PAP) event what she hopes to see during the debate.

"As the speaker, my task is to ensure that it's a fair, open, transparent debate that goes on on Monday."


STANDING ORDERS OF THE PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
Ministerial Statements

23. A statement may be made by a Minister in Parliament on a matter of public importance. Members may seek clarification on the statement but no debate shall be allowed thereon.


Parliament an appropriate platform for PM Lee to address 38 Oxley Road allegations: Analysts

Mr Tan said that it is unlikely the dispute will be resolved following the debate, as there will be lots of details and dates to follow, and “information overload” is a real possibility.

Also, he suggested that the debate will probably not repair the rift between the PM and his siblings, “who will respond to his and the Government’s statements and replies in Parliament”.

If it is decided that further scrutiny is needed, Parliament could decide to have a select committee look further into the matter, or the PM could convene a Committee of Inquiry, Prof Tan added

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Parliament hearing a chance to bring closure on 38 Oxley

Regardless of what transpires in parliament, there is significant public expectation not only for a reconciliatory closure to this bitter dispute but also how to move forward purposefully on the matter of 38 Oxley Road.

Notwithstanding the competing and contesting values impacting upon the options for the site, due process, transparency and accountability must be applied and seen to apply.

Ultimately, PM Lee and the government have to prevail in the court of public opinion. How they do so matters immensely to Singapore and Singaporeans.

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Singapore MPs must be tough in questioning PM Lee about family feud on 3 July

For that to happen, the MPs must:
  • IMAGINE that the 3 July sitting is happening in a court room, not a law-making chamber, and they are there as lawyers and representatives of the people, not lawmakers or party affiliates.
  • TELL yourself that you are responsible only to Singaporeans and by extension to Singapore.
  • DON’T make speeches, there is very little time for that. Instead, ask questions. Make the questions snappy and pointed.
  • REMEMBER to ask follow-up questions after the PM and his ministers have replied. The best responses come when you follow up with a question if you feel the PM or the ministers have not responded adequately or have given only half-answers. Spend some time watching how BBC and CNN journalists perform when they interview newsmakers.
Here is a sampling of the questions that can be asked:
  • Did you abuse your power? He is likely to say No. Jump in by asking pointedly: Is it true that you wanted the house preserved against Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes for your own political gain? I know you have denied this accusation, but can you be more specific?
  • Why did your wife take items from the home without seeking the executors’ permission and why did she send them to the National Heritage Board under the name of Prime Minister’s Office? Isn’t this something she should not have done?
  • Can you tell us the circumstances under which Lucien Wong, who acted for you in the property dispute, was made the AG? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?
  • You said the accusations from your siblings are “mostly inaccurate”, which means some are accurate. What are these?
It is not just PM Lee and his siblings who are on trial. Singapore is also on trial. Now that the people and the country have been put through this harrowing experience, they need answers. They need closure. The burden is on the MPs to get to the truth. That is the least they can do for the nation.

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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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PM Lee using Parliament session to 'cover-up and whitewash' himself: Hsien Yang

A parliamentary session is not the correct forum for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to answer the accusations that have been brought against him by his siblings, said his brother Hsien Yang.

In his latest Facebook post on Thursday (28 June), Hsien Yang insisted that there is “no promise of truthfulness due to parliamentary privilege” and claimed that it could be an opportunity “to continue to mislead or insinuate under this privilege”.

“We have serious concerns with Lee Hsien Loong’s attempt to cover-up and whitewash himself in Parliament on 3 July 2017. We believe that key issues such as his abuse of power will be simply swept under the carpet. The accused controls both process and outcome in this forum,” he said in the post.

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Lee Hsien Yang: Serious concerns with PM Lee’s attempt to cover and whitewash himself in Parliament on 3 July

Under the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act, no Member shall be liable to any civil or criminal proceedings, arrest, imprisonment or damages by reason of any matter or thing which he may have brought before Parliament or a committee by petition, bill, resolution, motion, or otherwise or may have said in Parliament or in committee. "We believe that key issues such as his abuse of power will be simply swept under the carpet. The accused controls both process and outcome in this forum."

So far, many politicians and journalists have voiced their opinions, stating that the Parliament is not an appropriate forum to address the allegations put forth by the two siblings as they will not be allowed to present their side of the story in Parliament and the seriousness of the matter warrants a committee of inquiry to have the matter thoroughly scrutinised. The seriousness of the matter has even warranted the Public Service Division to carry out a poll to determine the damage on the trust of public institution. Over the past few days, several Ministers have voiced out to "clarify" the matter that LHY and LWL have brought up and seemingly limiting the discussion on the will of 38 Oxley Road instead of addressing the allegations of misuse of powers.

The typical modus of operation to deflect heat such in the case of AIM, Nassim Jade saga and other hot topics, is to have the PAP MPs take up bulk of the time in their speeches, insert some redundant questions that seem harmless, have the Minister to reply to the questions along with questions from the opposition Members of Parliament, so as to make their questions seem confrontational and then have the Minister attack the rational for asking such questions and challenge them to file a court complain if they are not convinced. The Speaker will then come in at the appropriate point and say end of question time and move on to the next point of the agenda. With how things are developing, it is very unlikely the matter can be resolved with just a statement from the PM on the coming 3 July.

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Lee Hsien Yang 1 hr

We have serious concerns with Lee Hsien Loong’s attempt to cover-up and whitewash himself in Parliament on 3 July 2017. We have begun to show evidence of his misuse of his position and influence to drive his personal agenda. This is yet another example.

This Parliamentary session is a forum that again places Hsien Loong before his subordinates. They lack both sufficient background and evidence of the numerous instances of abuse and conflicts of interest, many yet to be raised. Even before the session, many of them appear to have felt obliged to give him cover. Many MPs will fear career repercussions if they speak out against their superior. Historically, few PAP MPs have dared to dissent even when the party whip was lifted.

There will be no opportunity or adequate time for evidence to be properly drawn together, placed before Parliament, and considered. Nor will there be any opportunity for an examining body to properly probe explanations or excuses. A Parliamentary session is not the correct forum for investigations of this nature.

We have no confidence that a fair, transparent or complete account of events will be told: only his side of the story will air, with no promise of truthfulness due to parliamentary privilege. Indeed, it could also be an opportunity to continue to mislead or insinuate under this privilege.

We believe that key issues such as his abuse of power will be simply swept under the carpet. The accused controls both process and outcome in this forum.

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DPM Teo’s press secretary rebuts Lee Hsien Yang

Mr Lee Hsien Yang has presented a selective & inaccurate account of his exchanges with the ministerial committee tasked to consider options for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house at 38, Oxley Road, said Ms Lee May Lin, press secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Contrary to what the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has claimed, she added, the committee had made clear the scope of its work & who it reports to. It also looked into the circumstances surrounding the late Mr Lee's will only after Mr Lee Hsien Yang asked the committee to refer to a clause in the will, she said.

Her statement followed Mr Lee Hsien Yang's Facebook post yesterday in which he hit out at the "mysterious" committee for being "neither transparent nor proper".

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Lee Hsien Yang asks if DPM Teo thinks a ministerial committee should opine on 'private dispute'

Mr Lee Hsien Yang has again questioned if Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean believes that a "Ministerial Committee of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's subordinates should be opining on a private dispute between the PM & his siblings".

In his latest Facebook post on Monday (Jul 3) on the Oxley Road dispute, PM Lee's brother also asked if DPM Teo "believes that a secret Ministerial Committee is the right forum for re-examining a court-proved will".

In the post in which he provided a link to his letter to the committee in May 2017, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said there were "five facts" that DPM Teo has not said about the "secret committee".

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Lee Hsien Yang 2 hrs

Does DPM Teo believe that a Ministerial Committee of PM's subordinates should be opining on a private dispute between the PM and his siblings? Does DPM Teo believe that a secret Ministerial Committee is the right forum for re-examining a court-proved will?

Our letter to the committee in May 2017 is at this link:

The five points are as follows:
  • "It refused to reveal the identity of its members, and its terms of reference.
  • It refused to list the options under consideration.
  • It focused primarily on LHL's attacks on Lee Kuan Yew's demolition wish.
  • These were repetitions of earlier attacks made by LHL's then-personal lawyer, Lucien Wong.
  • It involved the Attorney-General's Chambers over LHL's 'private family matter'."

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Lim Tean: PM Lee must sue for defamation to clear his name else President needs to convene an independent Commission of Inquiry
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Adding to the chorus of voices denouncing the Prime Minister for choosing Parliament to defend himself, Lim Tean, a veteran lawyer and recent politician, has called for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sue his two siblings for defamation over the allegations that they have been unleashing against him over the past two weeks. He also calls for the President to convene an independent commission of inquiry, should the PM refuse to raise the matter in the court.

Citing his experience as a practising lawyer in Singapore for 17 years, he highlights the point that in order to get at the truth, all the relevant parties, accusers and accused must be subject to cross-examination by counsel and all the evidence must be before the Commission and Parliamentary questions cannot take the place of cross-examination.

He wrote, "I see that for the Parliamentary session on 3 July , MPs have to file their questions in advance and we already know the questions which  the Worker’s Party MPs will ask. This might be alright for normal parliamentary sittings but not when the truth has to be discovered. It is like a student being given the exam papers days before the exam. There will also be limited time for follow-up questions on 3 July and none of the MPs except for maybe the Prime Minister himself will have the full facts before them to come to a proper decision."

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Tan Jee Say to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of The Republic of Singapore

As President, you have the specific duty of safeguarding the integrity of the public service, and it is incumbent on you to get to the bottom of all this, to establish the facts and if true, hold those responsible fully accountable and put into place means and measures to ensure that no one can abuse his or her public position for private gain without the most severe punishment meted out to him or her.

As this is a matter of grave public concern, it is absolutely vital that you direct this inquiry to be conducted by way of open public hearings so as to ensure public confidence that nothing will be swept under the carpet and that every relevant detail will be examined.

This issue is of extreme urgency and the inquiry should be conducted soonest possible. As this matter takes place under your watch, you cannot simply pass the buck to the next President as you still have more than two months left of your presidential term of office. A period of two months is more than sufficient for this inquiry to be conducted and completed in good order as our public service is well-known for its efficiency.


Tan Jee Say: “Dear Prime Minister, please think of Country, Family, Colleagues, and resign now”
Former civil servant and Secretary-General of SingFirst, Tan Jee Say has written an open letter to the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, asking for his resignation. Citing five reasons why PM Lee should resign, Mr Tan made a plea to PM Lee to think of his country, family and colleagues and to step down as the Prime Minister

"Dear Prime Minister, please think of Country, Family, Colleagues, and resign now" - I know, along with many Singaporeans, that you must be feeling very troubled these two and a half weeks. But we also know that you are a man with a very strong will. As you told Singaporeans at a rally during the 2015 General Election, "Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him or give it up."

But giving up does not necessarily mean weakness in a person if it is done for noble reasons that are for the greater good of society. In view of what had happened between you and your siblings in the last few years that exploded in full public view only recently, I would like to make this plea to you, "Dear Prime Minister, please think of your Country, Family and Colleagues, and resign from the premiership now!" Here are my 5 reasons :
  • You have become a liability to the nation.
  • Your priorities are misplaced.
  • You had not been in the best of health.
  • Not being PM can be positive for your children.
  • Several of your ministerial colleagues have been dragged into the dispute.

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