Thursday, 6 July 2017

The famiLEE feud: LWL, LHY to stop presenting online evidence

Update 20 Oct 2017: Singapore prime minister on criticism from siblings: 'I'm not sure' if feud is solved
"I'm not sure that it is solved,"

Four months since the start of a public dispute between Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, the leader of the Southeast Asian island nation said he is not sure whether the matter has been solved.

Lee's two younger siblings, neurologist Lee Wei Ling and businessman Lee Hsien Yang, shocked the country with a public statement accusing the prime minister of abusing power and exploiting their father's legacy for political gains.

The three are children of the country's founding and longest-serving prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away in 2015. The rare public feud among the siblings over the fate of their late father's home led to the prime minister calling for a special sitting of parliament to defend the integrity of his government.

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Shengwu Li 4 hrs

Somewhat surprised that my last Facebook post has been enough to trigger a response from the Attorney-General's Chambers in Singapore.

This post was shared on "Friends only" privacy settings on Saturday (20 likes at the time of this writing). Apparently, that's enough to warrant three newspaper articles and a statement by the Attorney-General's Chambers that they're "looking into it".

I'm surprised that the Singapore government is so petty. Would they also like to trawl my private Facebook feed for seditious vacation photos?  😉

(By the way - the official media inaccurately reports that the post was "uploaded on Saturday and later taken down". It's never been taken down - if you're among my Facebook friends you can see it just below this one.): Singapore Attorney-Generals Chambers looking into Li Shengwu' s facebook

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Li Shengwu, Lee Wei Ling surprised that Facebook post on Singapore court system enough to trigger AGC response

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said on Monday (July 17) it is looking into a recent Facebook post put up by Mr Li Shengwu, the son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang and nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In a private post, which was uploaded on Saturday, Mr Li, 32, shared a Wall Street Journal article on the recent Oxley Road dispute, titled "Singapore, a model of orderly rule, is jolted by a bitter family feud".

He also commented on Singapore's court system.

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Li Shengwu’s latest post shows he isn’t ready for a truce

On 6th July, when Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling posted a note saying that “For now we will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that we and our father’s wish are not attacked or misrepresented”, it looked like the #FamiLEE Saga was finally going to slow down and the Lee siblings were finally to stop splashing all the dirty linen in public, which has proven to be very much awkward and embarassing for Singaporeans, many of whom are not used to talking about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew let alone share gossips about the family.

Then today (15 Jul), Li Shengwu posted this seemingly “just for your information” innocent post, which is not so innocent if you read carefully.

See that portion he wrote in brackets?

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Li Shengwu’s latest post suggests Oxley squabble is far from over

Lee Hsien Yang’s eldest son Li Shengwu’s latest Facebook post on the Oxley Road dispute seems to suggest that the family feud which gripped headlines recently may be far from over.

Shengwu added:
“Keep in mind, of course that the Singapore government is very litigious and has a pliant court system. This constrains what the international media can usually report.”
He then linked a New York Times article on censorship and the use of defamation laws by both Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong to censor the foreign press.

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Lee Hsien Yang's and Lee Wei Ling's Public Statement

Hsien Loong quarrelled with us on 12 April 2015, the day our father's will was read. He wanted to state before Parliament the next day that our father had changed his mind and that there was no need to demolish the house at 38 Oxley Road. Naturally, we could not agree, as that story was untrue. He was also angry that Wei Ling had an unfettered right to live in the house, He shouted at us and intimidated us. It was the crossing of the Rubicon. He has not spoken to us since.

Shortly thereafter, Hsien Loong wrote to tell us that he had hired a lawyer (Lucien Wong) to deal with the situation, and asked who our lawyers were. We were gobsmacked. We were siblings discussing our father's house. We had to get our own lawyers. Soon, Hsien Loong ceased to communicate with us directly. The first Chinese New Year reunion after our father's death, our brother invited all relatives except us.

We attempted to reach out over the past two years, through various intermediaries. We privately offered a ceasefire shortly after our statement of 14 June 2017. Our attempts at reconciliation were rebuffed. We therefore welcome Hsien Loong's stated desire on 4 July 2017 to manage his disagreement with us in private. We look forward to talking without the involvement of lawyers or government agencies.

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Lee Hsien Yang's and Lee Wei Ling's Summary of Evidence

Lee Hsien Loong has made many contradictory statements in public and private, including under oath – some must be lies. He seeks to play the filial son in public while acting to thwart our parents' wishes in private through improper means.

Using his position as PM, LHL misled my father into believing LKY's house was either already gazetted or would 'inevitably' be gazetted on his passing.

LKY's final will is a revision to his 2011 will on his explicit instructions. Stamford Law attended to the attestation of the Will at LKY's request.

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Lee Siblings: We have Much More Evidence to Show to an Independent Investigation
redwire-singapore-lee-heisn-yang-lee-wei-ling-evidence-1

Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling have brought their social media Leekileaks revelations to a close. But they say there’s more evidence they have to show, which they will produce if an independent investigation is launched into the conduct of their Big Bro, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The 2 younger Lee siblings said this in a statement released this morning.
“It seems that releasing further evidence on social media at this time will only muddy the facts, and put pressure on government agencies to make excuses for PM Lee. If there is ever a truly independent inquiry to examine the evidence, they are welcome to ask. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Singapore whether they hold Lee Hsien Loong to a true accounting.”
Commenting on the recent parliamentary session in which PM Lee Hsien Loong defended himself and had other PAP MPs and ministers defend him, they said that the session raised more questions than answers. One accusation hurled against the Lee siblings was they lacked concrete evidence to back their allegations
  • They say that they have much evidence to produce which is “not suited to social media” and say they will produce this evidence to a “truly open and independent investigation.”
  • “We have provided part of the evidence, and have been met with hostility and denial. The recent Parliament sitting raised more questions than answers. As we had no opportunity to present our point of view in Parliament, we have no choice but to make our responses through this letter.”
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Blurred lines again with PM Lee responding to statement by his siblings through PMO

Last night, the Prime Minister Office published statements issued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister stating their stance in response to the public statement made by Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang after the Parliamentary debate came to a close.

Question on the red line between public and private:
  • While it is perfectly alright for DPM Teo to be responding through the Prime Minister's Office to the statements made by the two siblings as he is not related to the two in private capacity and is responding as both DPM and the head of the Ministerial Committee in charge of communicating with the two over the 38 Oxley Road. But is it not again a blurred line for the Prime Minister to have responded to his siblings' call for a ceasefire through his office?
  • After all, the two siblings made the call to their brother to respect their father's wishes and not calling for the Prime Minister to respond. Also, given that PM has labelled the affair as a private dispute between his family, while he is again addressing the matter as the head of the government?
  • Workers' Party Secretary General Low Thia Khiang said in his speech for the debate, "The problem with this whole saga is that the line between the private and the public has been blurred and crossed too many times by the Prime Minister, the Lee siblings and the Government too."
  • It would have been proper for PM Lee to have made the statement on his personal Facebook page as an individual instead of speaking as the Prime Minister in the form of a public statement through the PMO. An act which seem to yet reinforce the idea of abusing of authority by the two siblings and what Mr Low said about blurring of lines between private and public.

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PMO: Reply from PM Lee Hsien Loong to the Public Statement by Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang

I note my siblings’ latest public statement. I share their wish not to carry on the dispute in public and to manage the disagreement in private. That is exactly what I have been trying to do.

My siblings’ statement also repeats their previous allegations against me. I have already refuted these and stand by what I have said.

My siblings referred to a ceasefire offer from them. They wanted me to call off my Ministerial Statement and the debate in Parliament, disband the Ministerial Committee, and not respond to their accusations.  I could not agree to do any of that. It would have been improper and irresponsible.

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PMO: Statement by DPM Teo Chee Hean in response to the Public Statement by Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang

I note that Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang have stated on 6 July 2017 that they welcome Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s desire, stated on 4 July 2017, to manage the disagreement in private. Like most Singaporeans, I regard this as a positive development.

With regard to Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s allegations against the Ministerial Committee, public agencies and public officers, the Government has already responded comprehensively to all of them in Parliament.

With this development, I hope that we can all work together and focus our energy on taking Singapore forward.

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The Lees: Is there a ceasefire?
The ceasefire comes with the sting of even more jibes at Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Meanwhile, PM Lee has already replied to his siblings’ ceasefire offer: “I note my siblings’ latest public statement. I share their wish not to carry on the dispute in public and to manage the disagreement in private. That is exactly what I have been trying to do….My siblings wanted me to call off my Ministerial Statement and the debate in Parliament, disband the  Ministerial Committee, and not respond to their accusations. I could not agree to do any of that. It would have been improper and irresponsible.”

The younger Lee siblings’ latest decision not to present any more evidence on social media, nevertheless, came with very strong words about their brother: “Government agencies intervened in the middle of the night to find excuses for the Prime Minister and Ho Ching….LHL wears two faces. In public, he presents himself as an honourable son, seeking harmony in the family. In private, he uses his official powers and his subordinates to undermine Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes and attack those who speak up.”


This does not sound like a permanent ceasefire.

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38 Oxley Road Saga: A Ceasefire, But Just To Reload Ammunition
This probably won’t be the end, but perhaps Singaporeans can finally take a much-needed break from this exhausting saga

We think Singaporeans would rather just not think about this entire saga any more, and just sweep it under the rug.

But it’s unlikely the current impasse between the PM and his siblings will go away anytime soon.

The late Mr Lee was right when he said that this is “not a game of cards”. But without a proper independent trial, we can only watch as his descendants seemingly engage in one, at the expense of Singapore’s reputation.

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PM Lee also shares siblings’ wish to manage family feud in private, but also took time to chide them

Do you hear that? Nothing? Exactly — it’s all quiet on the Facebook front regarding the (tiresome) feud within Singapore’s first family. The last shot fired by Dr. Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang rang out yesterday, when they declared a ceasefire of words against their prime minister brother over their father’s will and the fate of his house at 38 Oxley Road.

Basically, the dispute is this. Siblings want to see Lee Kuan Yew’s desire to have his house demolished (as clearly stated in his will), but PM Lee believes their dad may have had second thoughts about it, and that preserving the house for heritage value is a better option. After years of infighting, the Lee siblings went public, accusing their brother of abusing his power to get what he wants.

But lo, it was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who had the last word on things. Responding to his siblings’ public statement, PM Lee expressed sharing their wish not to carry on their dispute in public and to manage the disagreement in private.

related: Post-Parliament session, Lee siblings shoot back with public statement filled with juicy details

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Hsien Yang, Wei Ling continue to criticise panel

Declaring that they would not make further submissions to the Ministerial Committee tasked to look into the options for their family home at 38 Oxley Road, Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling on Thursday (Jul 6) continued their criticism of the committee.

They asked why it previously failed to answer their “simple questions”, such as the identity of the members & the options under consideration.

“If the committee’s purposes were as innocent as it claims, it would have answered our questions promptly and transparently,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings said in a 7-page joint statement released on their Facebook pages.

related:
Lee siblings recount how dispute spiraled into public spat
Lee siblings welcome PM’s offer to settle dispute in private
PM Lee says he shares siblings’ wish to end public spat

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Wei Ling, Hsien Yang offer truce with conditions attached

In a 7-page statement on Facebook, they said: "(We) do not wish to see Singapore embroiled in a never-ending public argument ... Ultimately, it is up to the Government, & the people of Singapore, to decide whether & how to hold Lee Hsien Loong to account."

Despite this, they also released a 10-page summary of the allegations they have made against PM Lee & the evidence they have cited to prove their case.

They warned that there is evidence they "have yet to show", some of which is "too complex" to be presented online. They are keeping the option open to show it "to a truly open & independent investigation, if there ever is one", they added.

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So Much Bad Blood Lee Hsien Loong Invited All Relatives to CNY Reunion Dinner but Us, Say Lee Siblings
redwire-singapore-lee-family-feud-x88

Despite PM Lee’s tearing up in parliament and saying expressing his disenchantment with not being able to fulfil his promise to LKY to take of his siblings, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling said he’s just being a fake:
“Lee Hsien Loong wears two faces. In public, he presents himself as an honourable son, seeking harmony in the family. In private, he uses his official powers and his subordinates to undermine Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes and attack those who speak up.”
Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling have embarked on a public crusade to obtain a commitment from the government that 38 Oxley Road will be torn down once Dr Lee is no longer staying there. They have accused PM Lee of abusing his power and using the government machinery to block the demolition of the house, for the purpose of milking LKY’s legacy and building a “family cult”.
“Of course, we acknowledge that the government has the legal power to gazette the house against Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes. However, Lee Hsien Loong has gone beyond that. He has sought to rewrite history about Lee Kuan Yew’s stance on demolition – to claim, unbelievably, that Lee Kuan Yew wavered in his unwavering wish. Hsien Loong’s ultimate aim is to preserve the house, while pretending to respect the man.”
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PM LEE RESPONDS TO SIBLINGS CEASEFIRE: CLAIMS HE WANT TO SETTLE PRIVATELY TOO

Singapore Prime Minister responded to his estranged siblings and said he shared their wish to not carry out the dispute in public and deal with this conflict in private.

Lee said that despite his siblings repeating all their allegations, he had already refuted them in Parliament and stood by what he said.

Lee Hsien Loong also referred to a ceasefire offer from his siblings and said they wanted him to call off his Ministerial statement and debate, disband the secret Ministerial committee and not to respond to their accusations.

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Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang: Cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided if LKY’s will is not further attacked

Joint statement by Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang published on 6 July 2017 on the allegations against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the Parliament debate carried out to "whitewash" the accusations and the reasons behind them speaking up in the first place.

On the recent Parliament session:
  • We have provided part of the evidence, and have been met with hostility and denial. The recent Parliament sitting raised more questions than answers. As we had no opportunity to present our point of view in Parliament, we have no choice but to make our responses through this letter. It is impossible for MPs to effectively question PM Lee, when his party controls almost all the seats in the house. No independent investigator has gathered evidence, interviewed other witnesses, or subpoenaed the government’s own records.
  • As we pointed out before, Parliament is not the right forum for investigations of this nature. In Parliament, many spoke up to parrot Lee Hsien Loong’s attacks on Lee Kuan Yew’s will and on us. This entirely proves our point that Hsien Loong’s subordinates are beholden to him, and cannot be impartial judges of their own boss. Of course, we acknowledge that the government has the legal power to gazette the house against Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes.
  • However, Lee Hsien Loong has gone beyond that. He has sought to rewrite history about Lee Kuan Yew’s stance on demolition - to claim, unbelievably, that Lee Kuan Yew wavered in his unwavering wish. Hsien Loong’s ultimate aim is to preserve the house, while pretending to respect the man. It seems that releasing further evidence on social media at this time will only muddy the facts, and put pressure on government agencies to make excuses for PM Lee.
  • If there is ever a truly independent inquiry to examine the evidence, they are welcome to ask. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Singapore whether they hold Lee Hsien Loong to a true accounting.

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PM Lee Hsien Loong: Shares siblings’ wish not to carry on dispute in public

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday (6 July) that he shared his siblings’ wish not to carry on their dispute in public and to manage it privately.

Noting the latest public statement by his sister Wei Ling and brother Hsien Yang, PM Lee said in a statement that the wish is exactly what he has been trying to do. But PM Lee also noted that his siblings’ statement repeated their previous allegations against him. He said he has already refuted them and stand by what he has said.

PM Lee also referred to a “ceasefire offer” from his siblings. “They wanted me to call off my Ministerial Statement and the debate in Parliament, disband the Ministerial Committee, and not respond to their accusations. I could not agree to do any of that. It would have been improper and irresponsible,” he said.

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Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Wei Ling say they will cease presenting further evidence on dispute

In their statement on Thursday, Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee provided detailed replies to "some claims made" in the recent parliamentary session, noting that they did not have the opportunity to present their views in Parliament.

"It is impossible for Members of Parliament to effectively question PM Lee, when his party controls almost all the seats in the house. No independent investigator has gathered evidence, interviewed other witnesses, or subpoenaed the government’s own records. As we pointed out before, Parliament is not the right forum for investigations of this nature," they said.

"In Parliament, many spoke up to parrot Lee Hsien Loong’s attacks on Lee Kuan Yew’s will & on us. This entirely proves our point that Hsien Loong’s subordinates are beholden to him, & cannot be impartial judges of their own boss."

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Singapore Premier Lee’s Siblings Offer Cease-Fire on Family Feud

In their statement Thursday, the siblings said they would not retract their allegations against their brother, claiming the parliamentary debate was stacked in his favor.

“It is impossible for members of parliament to effectively question PM Lee, when his party controls almost all the seats in the house," they said. "As we pointed out before, parliament is not the right forum for investigations of this nature." But the siblings added that "releasing further evidence on social media at this time will only muddy the facts."

"If there is ever a truly independent inquiry to examine the evidence, they are welcome to ask,” they said. “Ultimately, it is up to the people of Singapore whether they hold Lee Hsien Loong to a true accounting.”

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Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Wei Ling declare social media pause, welcome talks with Lee Hsien Loong

On Thursday morning, the siblings posted two documents online, a seven page public statement on their father Lee Kuan Yew’s will, the Parliament session and the Ministerial Committee, and a 10-page summary of all the evidence they had been posting on social media since 14 June.

They added that they would manage the disagreement “in private”, saying that a previous attempt at reconciliation was “rebuffed”. They wrote, “We privately offered a ceasefire shortly after our statement of 14 June 2017. Our attempts at reconciliation were rebuffed. We therefore welcome Hsien Loong’s stated desire on 4 July 2017 to manage his disagreement with us in private.” In the concluding paragraphs of the statement, they said, “We are not politicians, and do not wish to see Singapore embroiled in a never-ending public argument. For now, we will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that we and our father’s wish are not attacked or misrepresented. Ultimately, it is up to the government, and the people of Singapore, to decide whether and how to hold Lee Hsien Loong to account.”

The siblings added that they had “much evidence” they had yet to show, saying, “Some of this evidence is too complex to be well-suited to social media. We reserve this to show to a truly open and independent investigation, if there ever is one.”

related: Singapore PM's siblings say ready to settle dispute privately, or go to court

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Singapore PM’s siblings say they hope to resolve family feud

The siblings of Singapore’s prime minister have launched another public attack on their brother over social media — but they say from now on, they’re keeping the spat private.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s brother and sister released on Facebook a full summary of e-mails, documents and posts that they had made on social media since the dispute burst into the open on June 14.

But they say that from now on, they hope to resolve the matter in private.

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Singapore PM's siblings say they hope to resolve family feud

On Thursday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's brother and sister released on Facebook a full summary of e-mails, documents and posts that they had made on social media since the dispute burst into the open on June 14.

But they said they hope to resolve the matter in private from now on.
"For now, we will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that we and our father's wish are not attacked or misrepresented," said a joint statement from the siblings, business executive Lee Hsien Yang and Dr. Lee Wei Ling, a well-known neurosurgeon. "We are not politicians, and do not wish to see Singapore embroiled in a never-ending public argument."
The siblings said they have "much evidence" that they have not released. "If there is ever a truly independent inquiry to examine the evidence, they are welcome to ask," they said.

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Lee Wei Ling, Lee Hsien Yang to stop presenting online evidence, welcome private settlement of Oxley Road dispute

On Thursday, the 2 siblings recounted the issues that they had raised throughout, stressing that after they first posted on Facebook on Jun 14, they had offered a "ceasefire", but were rebuffed.

"We therefore welcome Hsien Loong's stated desire on Jul 4, 2017 to manage his disagreement with us in private. We look forward to talking without the involvement of lawyers or government agencies," they said.

"Ultimately, it is up to the government, & the people of Singapore, to decide whether & how to hold Lee Hsien Loong to account," they added.

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FamiLEE feud’s Parliamentary sessions in a nutshell

Human rights activist Ms Kirsten Han has shared an interesting summary of the Parliamentary sessions setup to address the famiLEE feud.

Anyone still scratching their heads after the 2-day wayang may want to refer to her summary attached below:
  • Lee Hsien Loong: I’m lifting the Whip! Actually, there is no point in doing that but ask me anything and we’ll clear up this whole mess!
  • Workers Party MPs (and some others): How meaningful can this be, if Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang are not present, and we only have your side of the story, and we don’t have any particular insight into the situation ourselves? Would it not be better to convene a Select Committee that can bring all parties together and present evidence in a systematic way?
  • Lee Hsien Loong: Why a Select Committee? Where’s the evidence? You must bring me evidence of abuse then can have committee! No evidence, no committee! There is no conflict of interest okay?
There is no abuse of power:
  • Teo Chee Hean: I also say!
  • Goh Chok Tong: I also say!
  • Lee Hsien Loong: Okay case closed.
  • Workers Party MPs: !!!!!!!!
  • Lee Hsien Loong: I was very sad when my dad died.

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An elephant in the room lurks in the Lee family feud

The two-day Parliamentary session earlier this week was extraordinary, with PM Lee standing before MPs and responding to serious charges of abuse of power, nepotism and conflict of interest from his own siblings. PM Lee walked a tightrope trying to balance between family and country, and hoped to seek closure. That was not to be as the accusers were not there to reply to or reject arguments made. It left a sour taste in every Singaporean’s mouth.

A total of 35 Ministers and Members of Parliament spent 11 hours over two days in Parliament, some making pointed remarks, some others praising PM Lee and yet others saying that the House of Singapore was more important than 38 Oxley Road. We saw opposition leader Low Thia Khiang at his vintage best, saying that he is giving the benefit of doubt to the PM but keeping an open mind. PAP MP Rahayu Mahzam raised the bar when she said the PM’s statutory declaration on how the late Lee Kuan Yew’s will was signed may come across as a back-door approach to challenging the will. And of course, how not to mention ESM Goh Chok Tong’s comment directed at the siblings that they were trying to bring the PM down?

As a tense House debated the allegations, every one ignored the lurking elephant in the room. The issue of conflict of interest loomed large yet no one talked about it.

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Parliamentary hearing raises more questions about LHL’s ability to lead country

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has released a statement on the Parliamentary debate that was held on 3 and 4 July over the Ministerial Statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, questioned PM Lee's ability to lead the country for refusing to go to court or call for a formal inquiry over the allegations against him. The party states that by declaring himself clear of all the allegations without subjecting himself to questioning in court or in an independent panel, PM Lee is unworthy of a leader who has been accused of abusing his power. And that he fails his own test that anyone who impugns the integrity of the government will be sued,  reflecting on the state of governance in Singapore where policies and legal actions are not applied uniformly and consistently to all citizens.

It further remarked that the PM's unilateral claim of victory in the Parliamentary session, pronouncing that there is no evidence of abuse of power on his part is a show of utter contempt for the rule of law.  Stating that it is a clear breakdown in the practice of accountability

The debate was brought about by PM Lee himself after apologising to the country on 19 June over the allegations by his two siblings, Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang for abusing his authority as the Prime Minister of Singapore for his personal agenda. He had asked Members of Parliament to question him on the matter and had the party whip removed, however, by the end of the parliament session, PM Lee declared in his closing statement that the matter has come to a close despite having many of the questions raised by People's Action Party MPs, Workers' Party MPs and Nominated Members of Parliament unanswered.

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Troubling speeches by MPs in Parliament on the Parliamentary debate over PM Lee’s accusations

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s speech is deeply troubling. Firstly, he made the claim that most Singaporeans are tired of this saga and wish to move on. On what basis is he saying that? From his casual observations or the random poll of his friends and constituents?

Secondly, he chided Png Eng Huat for reading out the siblings’ allegations on Facebook, which he believed is almost akin to spreading rumours.  So, highlighting claims by accusers is similar to spreading rumours? If that’s the case, I seriously don’t know what’s left for opposition MPs to say anymore. And PAP MPs better not read out or state any unsubstantiated claims by any supporters in future, even if it’s to showcase a general mistrust in the opposition by the people.

Thirdly, he asked the opposition to state their position on the matter. How on earth is that possible when the main accusers and stakeholders are not present? PM made an even more astonishing suggestion later on. He suggested the WP to reach out to the siblings and be the middle-men to help them make their arguments.

related:
PAP MP Charles Chong’s question on PSD opinion poll left half unanswered
PM Lee on his siblings’ accusations against him,“suing my own bro and sis in court would further besmirch our parents’ names”

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Highly unusual decision by Prime Minister not to clear his name in the courts, given Singapore’s political culture on suing accusers

Singapore has been a one-party dominant state since independence. The ruling party has thus single-handedly shaped the political culture in Singapore. Our political culture is one that does not condone any allegations of wrongdoing or impropriety against the Government of the day.

Accusers are expected to back to up their claims with evidence, and if they cannot, they are sued. Millions of dollars in damages have been awarded when unsubstantiated allegations amounting to defamation and slander have been made against politicians, so as to preserve their moral authority. Many families have been besmirched by this. In fact, opposition politicians have been challenged to sue PAP MPs if they feel wronged.

As recently as 2008, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, then Minister Mentor himself said, “I know the mentality of and the attitudes of the people in Singapore – and they know me by now, that if anybody impugns the integrity of the Government, of which I was the Prime Minister, I must sue….And I must demand that either the court finds that those defamatory words (are) true, in which case I am demolished, or there’s a penalty.”

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Ex-Tampines PAP MP Irene Ng also calls for demolition of 38 Oxley Road now

Former PAP Member of Parliament Irene Ng has taken to Facebook to share her views about what to do with the 38 Oxley Road conundrum.

Her statement, which appears to have been independently derived but similar to the post by former Ang Mo Kio MP Inderjit Singh also shared on Thursday, July 6, calls for the immediate demolition of the 38 Oxley Road house.

An MP from 2001 to 2015, Ng, a former reporter at The Straits Times, wrote that Lee Wei Ling has to move out of the house immediately to trigger the demolition clause.

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Irene Ng: “Demolish the house, end the saga now, and let’s all move on”

Former People's Action Party Member of Parliament, Irene Ng has posted a Facebook note calling for the demolishing of 38 Oxley Road in hope for a definitive end to the saga and in light of the statement of Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang on 6 July. The two siblings wrote that the two will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that they and Lee Kuan Yew's wish are not attacked or misrepresented.

Ms Ng believes that as long as the house stands, the saga will not end. She wrote that Singapore should be very proud that it has a founding leader who did not want or need monuments to himself. "He did not want a personality cult built around him. We should honour that. We should respect his wish to demolish his house after his death." She also suggests that the historical significance of the house for future generations can be preserved by siting the Founders’ Memorial there, marked with a plaque explaining why Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted the house demolished, a statement in itself of his style of leadership and that of his team.

Similar to Mr Inderjit Singh, Ms Ng recommends that Dr Lee to evict from 38 Oxley Road now so that the house can be demolished now. She warns that if the government were to gazette the property without the commitment to demolish it, will no doubt be the invitation for the siblings to start their accusations all over again.

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End the saga now and demolish the Oxley Road house

This has been the plaintive cry heard in many corners of Singapore, including in Parliament, on the bitter dispute between the three children of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew over the fate of his Oxley Road’s house.

Since June 14, when the younger siblings Wei Ling and Hsien Yang started their online open warfare against their elder brother Hsien Loong, also our Prime Minister, the entire nation has been dragged into the dispute, and also into some disrepute.

There seems to be a glimmer of hope that the public feud between Mr Lee’s three children might now quieten down. After PM Lee’s statement in Parliament presenting his case and expressing hopes for reconciliation, his younger siblings Wei Ling and Hsien Yang have declared a sort of online ceasefire. It comes, however, with a caveat: “For now, we will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that we and our father's wish are not attacked or misrepresented," they wrote in a joint statement on July 6. This is the dreaded sort of truce that comes with guns cocked and reloaded, and there is no telling what can set them off again.

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Ex-Ang Mo Kio MP Inderjit Singh: Lee Wei Ling moves out of 38 Oxley Road now & demolish house
Former PAP Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh has struck again

In no uncertain terms, Inderjit’s most forceful recommendation is for Lee Wei Ling to move out of the 38 Oxley Road house immediately, so that it can be demolished.

This will spare everyone the exchange of statements in public and prevent the future government of the day from having to decide what to do with 38 Oxley Road.

This is so as the house is no longer associated with Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy, but a bitter public struggle that has torn a family apart.

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Inderjit Singh 3 hrs

As expected, the Parliament session on the 3rd and 4th of July did not end the saga as we saw another statement released by Lees Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling, on 6th of July 2017. If we do not end it now, this will have to end up in the courts as I don’t think it will be appropriate to call for another Parliament sitting to answer the statements that may continue to be released by both sides.

I would like to offer a solution. The only way forward for all of us – the Lee family, the government and for Singaporeans - is for each of us to give up something for Singapore to win. We all lose some but we win the bigger picture: Singapore’s image.

The crux of the matter is the fate of the 38 Oxley house; should it be demolished or preserved as a heritage site. Accusations of abuse of power have been made over how this issue has been handled. I will not address the issue of abuse of power but I feel if we can have a conclusion on the 38 Oxley house, we all can move forward.

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Yeoh Lam Keong succinctly explains why Oxley Road should not be considered a memorial site

Yeoh Lam Keong, former chief economist of GIC, and current adjunct professor at National University of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew School of Policy, weighed in on the Oxley Road saga on Jul 6.

His focus was primarily on the notion of “Who built Singapore?”

And whether by building a memorial, or locating a heritage site at Lee Kuan Yew’s residence will undermine the contributions of the other founding members of Singapore.

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Lam Keong Yeoh 11 hrs
“Actually, the issue of a memorial in Oxley to remember the PAPs founding in its basement is not a straightforward one."

Lee Kuan Yew, for all the vital roles he played as party and government leader, was only one of an incredible multiracial team of PAP founders that current popular narrative tends to downplay : men like Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye, S Rajaratnam, Hon Sui Sen, Lim Kim San, Ong Pang Boon, EW Barker, Devan Nair, Ahmad Ibrahim, Yong Nyuk Lin, Jek Yuen Thong, Othman Wok and many others in government and on the ground.

Singapore’s foundations and the key institutions on which it rests : HDB, EDB, JTC, MAS, GIC, NWC, NTUC, MINDEF, DBS, the civil service, MFA was in fact created by an amazing team effort by a group of national heroes, all of whom contributed immensely and all of whom deserve to be remembered much more than they currently are.

Hence the important heritage idea that such a memorial should not be built centred on the Oxley basement or the Oxley Road house so as not to to over identity our founders achievements with Lee Kuan Yews residence or Lee Kuan Yew alone.

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Kuik Shiao-Yin: Singapore is a country of many people, many families, many interests
“We are no country of one man. We are no country for one man. We are a country of many people, many families, many interests

I have been serving on the Founder’s Memorial Committee since 2015. Please let me share some insights. We’ve gathered views from thousands of Singaporeans – historians, architects, regular people, youths – about what kind of memorial would best honour the legacy of our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the pioneering team of leaders that built the nation alongside him.

Incidentally, Oxley never came up as a major suggestion. Singaporeans talked of far more public spaces like Fort Canning or Singapore River. What we learnt is that many Singaporeans wanted a Memorial that could go beyond a mere recollection of the past.

They wanted a Memorial to be forward-looking and ever relevant to a new generation, a Memorial that didn’t just centre on particular personalities but powerful principles that could be passed on to endure forever. Many hoped for the Founder’s Memorial, whenever and wherever it does get built, to ultimately stand for unity across the divides.

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Parliament debate on PM’s allegations: A bad show

Here's a Facebook post that has approximately 460 shares at the time of writing. It seems many Singaporeans resonate with this point of view, or parts of.

This was the wayang we knew it'd be, but executed so poorly it never solved the eminent problem all of us Singaporeans - both for and against the ruling party - face: the weak governance and discursive population of Singapore for all to see:
  • We have a Speaker of Parliament who fails to facilitate a satisfactory and conclusive debate
  • We lack a perceived, objective distance between the main branches of state government, Judiciary, Executive and Legislative, meaning there's no proper checks and balances of the views and decisions made there
  • Our politicians lack savvy - and so do our most powerful citizens
  • Too few see the implications of weak decision making. There are Singaporeans, possibly (gasp) MPs, who still think the issue is about a house on Oxley.
How would we survive future challenges if the most fundamental resources of our republic have been left so unchallenged?

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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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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 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.

related: No fireworks on 3rd July in Parliament

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Integrity of government matters less than 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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The great irony of 38 Oxley Road

To that allegation - Preserving the house enhances PM’s personal “aura”, PM Lee said this:
“Regarding the house, and how its continued existence enhances my aura as PM, if I needed such magic properties to bolster my authority even after being your PM for 13 years, I must be in a pretty sad state. And if such magic can work, Singapore, must be in an even sadder state.”
Too true.

A case may be made that PM Lee is in a pretty sad state, that he’s a pale shade of a leader compared to his predecessors. But, as Singaporeans, we take offence to anyone thinking that Singaporeans are so weak-minded that such “magic” would work.

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Netizens troll PM Lee over “crocodile tears” in Parliament yesterday

Parliament concluded a 2-day discussion yesterday on the allegations of abuse of power leveled against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong by his siblings Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

In closing his statements on the matter, PM Lee teared up, appealing for reconciliation with his siblings, after announcing his siblings’ claims don’t hold any water without giving them an opportunity to speak for themselves.

Netizens have not held back from trolling the head of government for his “crocodile tears.”

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Public has had enough of Lee siblings’ fight

S'poreans want to put the ugly dispute involving the children of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew behind them, but the debate in Parliament on the matter has not brought it to resolution, political observers said yesterday.

At the same time, it is unlikely that the allegations made against PMr Lee Hsien Loong will hold much water in court or people's minds, unless his younger siblings can provide evidence for their accusations of abuse of power in relation to their father's house at 38, Oxley Road, the observers added.

The 2-day debate on Monday and Tuesday, in which a total of 36 ministers and MPs spoke, drew mixed reviews from the observers.

related: No attack on the Singapore system: Lee Hsien Yang

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Low Thia Khiang: Investigation needed to clear PM over Oxley Road allegations

OPPOSITION chief Low Thia Khiang said it is not possible to clear PM Lee Hsien Loong over the Oxley Road allegations without an investigation, although he is prepared to give PM Lee the benefit of the doubt.

Mr Low, the secretary-general of the Workers' Party, noted how the Oxley Road issue differed from the Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL) incident in 1996.

The HPL incident was sparked by rumours that then-SM Lee Kuan Yew & then-DPM Lee Hsien Loong had bought apartments in prime locations and offered substantial discounts by the developer.

related:
PM Lee waives Parliamentary privilege on his statements
LHY, LWL allege misrepresentations made to family on 38 Oxley Rd
WP Low questions conflicts of roles, 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
Late Lee Kuan Yew pondered all options for 38 Oxley Road with family

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Pertinent questions ignored and more doubts raised about PM Lee and his government

The parliamentary debate may be over but it has left several of the most pertinent questions ignored and instead raised more doubts about the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the government:
  • PM’s refusal to sue his siblings despite their grave accusations on his integrity and reputation. His reason, after all the tear-jerking drama, is that he doesn’t want to aggravate this family quarrel and that he wanted to fulfil his father’s wish to look after his siblings. So, it’s blatantly clear that the PM has placed his personal interests/desires over those of his nation. Because from what the political leaders have espoused over the years (including the wise statements by ESM Goh Chok Tong), not suing (regardless of the party responsible for the defamatory remarks) is akin to an admission of wrong-doing.
  • PM remarked that the issue would be further escalated and aggravated if he were to sue his siblings as the process of doing so could take years and it would lead to a full-scale Korean drama. But is this really true? When you take legal actions against the accusers, the accusers would be (reasonably expected to be) fearful or concerned enough not to post anything defamatory or potentially defamatory in the meantime (unless they have substantial evidence that their accusations are true). So, in this case, how would suing prolong the drama? And would not suing reduce the drama? No. Because even the PM did admit that he wouldn’t be able to control his siblings from posting any more allegations after the Parliamentary debate.
  • Why was the Ministerial Committee set up in the first place if it cannot make any binding recommendation? Sure, you can claim that it’s just the “normal procedure” but is it really necessary for valuable resources to be channelled to this largely impotent committee? As the issue of what must be done to the said property would probably not need to be addressed until 20-30 years later, what’s the point of setting up the committee as the recommendations would probably be deemed outdated or invalid by the government of the day 20-30 years later?
  • Minister Lawrence Wong claimed that even though public opinion was considered in considering whether the said house should be abolished or preserved, it was eventually not followed as “public opinion can change from time to time”.  He established that one poll showed that the majority of the public wanted the house preserved after the publication of “Hard Truths”, another poll showed that most wanted it to be demolished after LKY died.

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PM Lee dragged Government into personal dispute, says Lee Hsien Yang
PM Lee Hsien Loong and his brother Lee Hsien Yang are now embroiled in a very public feud. — AFP pic composites

Alleging that his elder brother Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the one who “dragged the Government into a personal dispute”, Lee Hsien Yang said today that he and his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling had not intended to criticise the Government by making public their accusations of PM Lee.

“Our private family dispute would have remained a private family dispute, if PM Lee had not used government agencies and a secret ministerial committee to force his way. Sadly, it is Lee Hsien Loong who has dragged the government into a personal dispute,” said Lee Hsien Yang via a Facebook post.

He was responding to Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s remarks in Parliament on Tuesday, where he questioned the younger Lee siblings’ motivations for making public allegations about their elder brother. Goh had said: “Are they whistleblowing in a noble effort to save Singapore, or waging a personal vendetta without any care for the damage done to Singapore?”

related:
PM Lee waives Parliamentary privilege of ministerial statements
Lee family war rumbles on as Singapore’s parliament debates

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No attack on the Singapore system: Lee Hsien Yang

Showing that PM Lee Hsien Loong has allegedly failed to meet the standards expected of him is not an attack on the Singapore system.

Rather, it is to preserve it, Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote in a Facebook post last night.

His post came a day after the end of a 2-day parliamentary debate over the accusations of misuse of power.

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Low Thia Khiang says WP keeping 'our minds open' after ESM Goh's call to clarify Oxley Road position

Low Thia Khiang said in Parliament on Tuesday (Jul 4) that the Workers' Party has not gone through “due process” to decide if the allegations made by the younger Lee siblings against PM Lee Hsien Loong over the Lee family home are baseless.

“We keep our minds open, we are prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to the Prime Minister, but we don’t know,” he said.

Mr Low was responding to Emeritus SM Goh Chok Tong’s speech on the issue in the Parliamentary debate, where he called on Mr Low and MP Png Eng Huat to “state their position clearly on the Prime Minister and Government’s integrity”.

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Remember Mr Lee’s legacy in other ways

The focus of the discussions about 38 Oxley Road has been on the options for the home, various allegations, conflicts of interest and ways to conclude the dispute.

Amid all the heat, Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s thoughtfulness was mentioned in Parliament (‘Lee Kuan Yew had mulled over preservation of Oxley Road house’; Jul 5).

Despite his objection to the idea of preserving his home, he was prepared to listen to alternatives. There are also other aspects of this debate that must not be lost on us.

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PAP MP Charles Chong's question on PSD opinion poll left half unanswered

He asked if the Ministers could answer the following questions:
  • what is the result of the poll
  • What the data of the poll will be used for
  • whether there will be any concrete action to follow the results of the poll
Mr Chong also stated that the statements and postings made by both side expose a very deep rift between the Lee family. He pointed that whether anyone care to admit or not, Lee Kuan Yew and the Lee family name is inextricably linked with Singapore. For many Singaporeans, conflict of this nature with the Lee family, extends beyond private dispute especially since many public allegations and counter allegations have been made and continued to be made about how Singapore is being governed.

He asked if there would be any possibility of reconciliation between the PM and his siblings, which the PM replied by stating: “I, too, would like to think this is possible. It will be a difficult and a long road. But I hope that one day, some rapprochement may be possible...I hope that one day, these passions will subside, and we can begin to reconcile,”

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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
The Parliament Sitting to End it All (?): 8 ‘Facts’

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PM Lee Reportedly Glad With Parliamentary Session
38 Oxley Road Parliament Debate “Cleared The Air”, Reports ST — Netizens Furiously Disagree

A lot was said during the 2-day parliamentary debate earlier this week over the allegations that were levelled at PM Lee by his two siblings, with Singaporeans commenting furiously over social media with their views.

However, regardless of their opinions, almost all Singaporeans may feel that there are still several questions to be answered.

Therefore, it came as a huge surprise when The Straits Times reported that PM Lee had actually said that he was “glad” that the session had “cleared the air” over his being accused of abuse of power by his own siblings.

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“No faith in Parliament”

Why are Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling so angry with Lee Hsien Loong (and Ho Ching)? This is fundamental to an understanding of the Lee family dispute over 38 Oxley Road. The spat will not go away after the July 3 Parliament sitting and the “debate” will not conclusively solve or clarify the issues. The battle will continue in social media.

Put in the most basic way, the younger Lee siblings are unhappy that they are unable to carry out what their father, Lee Kuan Yew, had clearly wanted  –  get rid of 38, Oxley Road. His wills say so, they say. And all the legal documents say so. No ifs, no buts.

And they are particularly upset that their older brother has been somehow allegedly manipulative in the manner in which he has been trying to “undermine” the Lee patriarch’s wish. The setting up of a ministerial committee to look at the options seemed to go against the grain of what should have been a fait accompli, since probate has already been determined and granted.

related: Did PAP MPs really contribute to “debate” on Oxley Road?

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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.

related:
FamiLEE saga: It’s gone international
FamiLEE saga: All in the family – or an old boys’ club?
FamiLEE saga: Parliament debate is good, but court ruling even better
The Oxley Road house is not an issue, it’s what the Lee siblings really want
FamiLEE saga: 10 things said in Parliament yesterday that struck us

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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.”
related: 5 takeaways from the Parliament Debate on 38 Oxley Road

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Lee Hsien Loong: Parliament MPs conclude I am innocent

PM Lee Hsien Loong declared himself victorious and delivered the closing statement yesterday (July 4) concluding that he is innocent:
“The 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. 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 two-day debate has cleared the air and will calm things down.”
PM Lee also declared that Singaporeans’ confidence in the ruling party PAP has been “restored” from the two-day long Parliament session, and that his government has “observed due process”.

A total of 29 MPs spoke and none of them accused the Prime Minister of power abuse. Only 18 out of 82 PAP MPs and 6 PAP-Nominated MPs spoke and all of them ended up defending Lee Hsien Loong instead.

related: 38 Oxley Road a conspiracy to bring Lee Hsien Loong down

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Hsien Yang and Wei Ling must be Questioned over Allegations

State media would have you believe that the air has been cleared after 2 days of parliament involving PM Lee Hsien Loong and co. I don’t know if this is an attempt to sweep everything under the rug so as to keep up the façade of normalcy in Singapore, but it looks like many PAP MPs are keen on laying the matter to rest hastily.

What we have heard over 2 days is PM Lee defending himself, and PAP MPs defending him, with a few “rigorous” questions and statements in between. At least Low Thia Khiang did us all a favour by giving us some entertainment. But his words ring true – it’s still “ownself defend ownself” if we do not hold Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling to the same standards as their Big Bro.

PM Lee Hsien Loong says Singaporeans are now in a better position to judge the facts. But he also mentioned that no concrete evidence has been found to support the allegations. He then says that no MPs have produced any additional charges against him. That’s skirting the issue.

related: “Ownselves Defend Ownselves” in Parliament, PM “Own Siblings Cannot Sue”

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Oxleygate: Hell’s bells, another PAPPy and I share the same views

Janadas Devan (see below) respond to LWL on LHY’s share: https://goo.gl/mCuyg9

I agree with his:
  • My personal view remains that Mr Lee’s wish to demolish 38 Oxley Rd should be granted the moment you are no longer living in it, which may be 20, 30 or more years in the future.
  • I am as baffled as most Singaporeans why Hsien Yang and you wish to consume all of us in your personal family matters.
My take is that she’s a spoiled brat, wanting her cake and eating it. Only a white mare will think like that. On the house book project he mentions, I wrote about the book project here after PM posted on FB in June 2015
“Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang would like to honour the wish of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew that the house at 38 Oxley Road be demolished after Dr Lee Wei Ling ceases to live in it.”
related:
FamiLEE feud’s Parliamentary sessions in a nutshell
PM Lee: Integrity of government matters less than my

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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.

related:
38 OXLEY ROAD DISPUTE SHOWS HOW NARROW MINDED SUPPORTERS ARE
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST GIVES SUMMARY OF OXLEY PARLIAMENT DEBATE

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FamiLEE saga: It’s gone international

WORKERS’ Party chief Mr Low Thia Khiang said in Parliament on Monday (Jul 3): “Singapore’s international reputation has taken a beating, some countries which have had a high regard for us are laughing at us, and the international media has amplified and maximised the bad publicity on Singapore.”

Here is a summary of key international headlines as the two-day parliamentary debate concluded yesterday (Jul 4).

Reuters went with “Lee family war rumbles on…” in their headline as The New York Times characterised the “dispute over Singapore founder’s house” as “a national crisis”. In Bloomberg’s report, the Prime Minister (PM) acknowledged that the “Lee family feud has damaged Singapore’s reputation”.

The Wall Street Journal talked about how the Prime Minister (PM) rejected his siblings’ allegations, while the BBC and CNBC led with the PM saying that he “prefers not to sue [his] siblings” and “wants to put an end to the bad blood” respectively.

The Malaysian Insight quoted the PM as saying that the “entirely baseless” allegations “can affect Singaporeans’ confidence” in the G. And Australian news.com.au reported him saying that Singaporeans “wish it would end”.

Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, which has covered the saga extensively, ran a commentary by Chirag Agarwal explaining “why Singapore will survive its latest political scandal“.

Several news outlets around the world, including the New Indian Express, ran an AFP story titled “Singapore PM accused of lying in parliament by brother”. Shanghai Daily ran the same article albeit under a different title: “Singapore’s Lee dynasty spat gets ugly“.

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Lee family war rumbles on as Singapore's parliament debates

As Singapore's parliament began the second day of a debate on Tuesday over Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's dispute with his siblings over their late father's house, his estranged brother accused the prime minister of making false claims.

During the first day of the debate there were no revelations over the accusation that Prime Minister Lee had abused his power, or why his siblings should say that they feared the "organs of the state" could be used against them.

Lee Hsien Yang has said he and his wife, lawyer Lee Suet Fern, would be leaving Singapore because they felt closely monitored and hugely unwelcome. Some lawmakers urged the prime minister to sue his siblings, and settle a matter that was distracting the government and damaging Singapore's image. Lee had told parliament that he was loathe to do so, fearing it would drag out the affair and further damage his parents' name.

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Singapore, a Model of Orderly Rule, Is Jolted by a Bitter Family Feud
The Lee family relaxes at 38 Oxley Road in 1965. From left to right, Kwa Geok Choo, Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Hsien Yang (seated), Lee Hsien Loong (standing), Lee Wei Ling.Photo: The Lee Family

In mid-2016, the government established a ministerial committee to consider options for 38 Oxley Road, including turning it into a memorial park if the house is demolished. Prime Minister Lee later said he had no role in setting up the committee, doesn’t participate in its discussions, and gives no instructions to its members, since he has recused himself from government deliberations on the house.

The four-member panel queried Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling about preparations for Lee Kuan Yew’s last will, prompting them to accuse Prime Minister Lee of using the panel to question their father’s wishes. They allege that was an abuse of power because the committee comprises the prime minister’s subordinates and inquired about a family dispute the siblings believe should be heard in court. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who chairs the committee, later said it isn’t trying to investigate the will’s validity. He said its role is to come up with options for the Oxley Road house to facilitate a future government’s decision on its fate. The will was deemed valid by a Singapore court in October 2015. Prime Minister Lee didn’t raise objections during that process, but later told the committee he had “grave concerns” about the will’s preparation.

Frustrated by the committee’s work, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang escalated matters, publishing a six-page statement on Facebook June 14. In it, they accused the prime minister of harboring “political ambitions” for one of his sons and said he was trying to “milk” their father’s legacy.

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Update 12 Jul 2017: Singapore’s ambassador to the United States says no “national crisis” in response to article by New York Times

Mr Ashok Kumar Mipuri, Singapore’s ambassador to the United States has issued a rebuttal to an article that was published by the New York Times about the Lee family saga on 4 July 2017, stating that "there is no national crisis in Singapore."

The NYT article entitled, "Dispute Over Singapore Founder’s House Becomes a National Crisis" covered the allegations that Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had made against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in June and commented that the dispute over the fate of 38 Oxley Road has "shattered Singapore’s image as an orderly authoritarian ideal and hinted at deeper divisions about its political future."

Mr Mipuri's letter criticized the article for promoting the absurd notion that Singaporeans link the legitimacy of their government with the fate of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house. The NYT time had written that "just as it was difficult to separate Mr. Lee from the country he built, it is impossible to erase the politics from the house. Preserving it would provide a physical reminder not only of Mr. Lee, analysts said, but also of the current prime minister’s connection to him." and quoted Li Shengwu, Lee Hsien Yang’s son saying that the People's Action Party viewed the house as a symbol of their legacy and a symbol uniquely associated with them which gives the party legitimacy.


No 'national crisis' over 38 Oxley Road dispute: Ambassador to US rebuts NYT story

Your article “Family Dispute Over House of Singapore’s Founder Erupts as National Crisis” (news article, July 5) promotes the absurd notion that Singaporeans link the legitimacy of their government to the fate of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s house.

In response to accusations by his siblings of abuse of power over the house, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a full statement in Parliament. He explained how he had recused himself from all government decisions concerning the house, and also sold the house to his brother, so that he no longer has any interest or influence over the house.

No member of Parliament made any allegations of impropriety or wrongdoing against the prime minister during the debate, nor has anyone else produced specific evidence to back the siblings’ vague allegations. There is no national crisis in Singapore.


Dispute Over Singapore Founder’s House Becomes a National Crisis
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s residence, center, in Singapore. He did not want it to become a museum after his death. Credit Edgar Su/Reuters

And in a place where criticizing the government can land a blogger in jail, the public airing of these grievances from within the ranks of the revered founding family is nothing short of extraordinary.

“These are allegations of abuse of power, subversion of due process, cronyism and nepotism,” Kirsten Han, an activist and journalist, wrote in a popular blog. “If true, they upend Singapore’s carefully cultivated, squeaky-clean, corruption-free image.

“And, more important for the people of Singapore,” she continued, “they reveal that the ‘A Team,’ who have for decades presented themselves as the best option for the country, are actually using the power the electorate has bestowed upon them for their own personal goals.”


Protest Organised Against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Alleged Abuse of Power
redwire-singapore-gilbert-goh-protest-abuse-power

Socio-political activist Gilbert Goh has organised a protest against the alleged abuse of power by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

This comes after the Lee Family Feud, in which the PM’s siblings accused him of abusing his position, giving his wife undue influence over the civil service, and attempting to build a “family cult”. And, not inviting them to reunion dinner during Chinese New Year.

The protest will be held on Saturday, 15 July, between 4pm and 7pm and Hong Lim Park.





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