Let’s face it: this is not a private affair, but a matter of national importance

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In response to the statement released by the Lee siblings this morning, certain outlets have attempted to play down the matter as a private affair. In a recent interview, for example, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that: “There are so many issues, problems and challenges we are facing as a country. We need to focus and work on them,” thereby suggesting that the Lee siblings’ statement is not something we should be focusing on right now.

Furthermore, the mainstream media has labelled the Lee siblings’ statement as concerning the “Oxley Road dispute”, thereby reinforcing the idea that this is a mere family property dispute.

Serious allegations & a matter of grave national importance

DPM Teo was wrong; this is a matter of great national importance – and something that deserves our attention. The property dispute may have been the trigger, but the allegations that Lee siblings made are very serious.

Let us be clear: the Prime Minister has been accused of abuse of powerdishonesty as well as nepotism by his own siblings. These accusations have been conveniently ignored by the mainstream media even though they are very serious allegations that, if true, will necessarily undermine public confidence in the Prime Minister. For example, the mainstream media has ignored the accusation that the PM used his position to procure a deed of gift from Minister Lawrence Wong, who is himself an up-and-coming Minister, and a possible future Prime Minister.

If the allegations are true, then we should we worried – if the Prime Minister is capable of behaving this way towards his own siblings, through the use of threats and abuses of power, what does this show about his character and how he might treat Singaporeans as a whole?

“if PM can misuse his official power to abuse his siblings who can fight back, what else can he do to ordinary citizens.”

This follow up statement from Lee Wei Ling proves my point:

“If it were merely a family affair, we would not have taken it public. The main message is not Hsien Yang & I fearing what PM will do to us. The most important point I want to put across is if PM can misuse his official power to abuse his siblings who can fight back, what else can he do to ordinary citizens.

Furthermore, as I argued in a previous article, the Lee siblings’ concerns do not necessarily appear to be limited to the Prime Minister himself. If indeed their concerns in fact apply to how political power is wielded at the the upper echelons of our political establishment as a whole, then I must say that all of us Singaporeans have much to worry about.

Silence on the part of opposition politicians

Numerous commentators, including this website, have acknowledged the gravity of the situation, and how serious the allegations are. However, no opposition politician has spoken on the matter yet. This is problematic; the Lee siblings have given them a clear opportunity to identify what appears to be a very big systemic problem with the existing political establishment in our country. Surely it is the job of our opposition politicians to speak up on the matter and demand answers. After all, this is what the people elected them into power for. What are they now afraid of?

In any case, while opposition politicians may refuse to take a stand, we will take our own stand on the matter.

We must have an independent public inquiry on the matter

I stress the word independent. This inquiry must be carried out by non-PAP individuals whose interest is purely to determine whether the accusations against the Prime Minister are true.

If PM Lee is innocent, I am sure he has nothing to hide as well

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) ought to be involved, or at the very least, monitor the situation closely, since there is at least some potential for uncovering material that might implicate the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, it is questionable whether it would actually do so, since the CPIB falls under the Prime Minister’s Office. Nonetheless, I believe an investigation is due. I recall some Ministers noting that surveillance and detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) is an appropriate safeguard, since innocent people have nothing to hide. If PM Lee is innocent, I am sure he has nothing to hide as well – so why not start an investigation?

The Singaporean public deserves to know the truth.

The Singaporean public deserves to know the truth. Are these allegations against the Prime Minister true? This is a matter of great national importance; not a mere family dispute.

Many PAP members I know have responded with personal attacks and conspiracy theories against the Lee siblings. Others have tried to play down the matter. Hence, I want to conclude with a message to my friends in the PAP.

If you are truly committed to the values of the Party that Lee Kuan Yew believed in and fought for, and if you are sincere about ensuring good governance, and making Singapore a better place, then, instead of protecting your own interests, and being afraid to offend those in positions of authority, I urge you to speak up, as I have. It is your duty to do so, both in your capacity as a Singapore citizen, and as a person who truly cares about the future of your Party.

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Author: Rio Hoe

Rio is the chief editor and co-founder of Consensus SG. He is a recent law graduate from the University of Oxford. His interests include politics, legal theory and political philosophy.

6 thoughts

  1. It is INCORRECT that opposition politicians have not made a stance. So far, three opposition politicians including me, had made our stance clear. The following was posted last night:

    Thought of the Day – Respect LKY’s Last Wish

    As an opposition politician, I am apparently not a fan of LKY for all my adult life, for reasons I have already expounded during his death in 2015.

    However, if he truly wished not to have his old house to be made into a memorial monument for himself because he did not want to become the idol of hero worshiping in spite of all those high praises (regardless whether worthy or not) of his achievements for Singapore, then at least this formidable opponent whom I do not like, earns my respect for this last decision.
    It is shocking to me that the current PAP government under his very own son’s leadership, has seek all means and ways to go against his last wish. If what Lee Wei Ling had said in her latest combined statement with her other brother, Lee Hsien Yang, is true, then I would say this is a FEARFULLY DISHONORABLE act from our government.

    PAP and its Prime Minister had been screaming “Rule of Law” high and low in recent months over all things but I would say, to use all legislative means to DISHONOR the last wish of their very own “Hero”, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, is neither a good example of “Rule of Law” nor Rule of Morals. Do they not want LKY to Rest In Peace?
    LKY has not only stated once in his life that he did not want any monument for himself and has stated clearly in his last memoir that he wanted the old house to be demolished after his death.
    Why is that so difficult to grant the very person whom so many Singaporeans adore and respect, his very last wish?

    As far as the house is concerned, this is a Private house belonging to LKY and now, his estate and immediate family after his death. Though PM Lee has stated that this is “private family dispute” over the house, but why should his government be meddling in this private matter of the house?

    PM Lee is totally incoherent here. Once his government decided to exert power to determine the future of the Private House of the Lee family, it will no longer be a private matter but a public matter.
    Why would he set up a Ministerial Committee to determine the fate of this Private house? To determine a dead man’s will? There isn’t a need to. LKY had repeated expressed in no uncertain terms that he did not want any monument to be set up for him after his death. Isn’t that clear enough? Thus, I would say that although I am not prevail to all the insider’s details, I have to agree with Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang that the government under PM Lee is abusing its power to force or influence the outcome of a purely Private matters of the Lee family.

    This is especially so when the three siblings had just signed an agreement on how to deal with house but yet, PM Lee set up this Ministerial Committee to re-look into the matter again. Why would that be so? It is no wonder both Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang felt betrayed and anyone in their position will naturally think that their brother has abused his political power to get what he want. Most importantly, how could they ever trust him again with this political maneuver?

    This saga has sent chill deep down into my spine. Imagine:
    If PAP government could even dishonor their very own founder, LKY in such manner, who else would they respect? Definitely not small potatoes like us in the street.
    If what Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling said is true, even they felt uncomfortable by their brother’s use of national machinery to monitor them up to the level of making them feel overwhelmingly intimidated and wanting to migrate out of Singapore, what else could we expect for those of us who are powerless but brave enough to stand up as opposition members?

    If the PAP government even dare to use their administrative and legislative powers to forcefully take over a private house in such manner, with so much disrespect to the one they claimed they adored, loved and worshiped, there is no other people’s private property they would not dare to take forcefully if they fancy!
    If even the member(s) of the most powerful and influential Lee family would say openly that the Singapore’s Main Stream Media is controlled by the government and the 154th ranking given to them by international organization is somewhat justified, how else could we as a nation trust the MSM?
    If even the members of the Lee family felt that there is basically no proper separation of powers and a total lack of checks and balances of the power that be, why should we still trying to make believe that this is a meaningful democracy at all?

    The latest public statement made by both Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang is highly provocative and even up to the point of potentially defamatory if all these assertions are untrue. Apart from the accusation of abuse of power, there are other serious accusation. This is especially so on the part of indirectly accusing Ho Ching of instructing senior civil servants when she holds no political office and has no power to do so. There is also mention of PM Lee obtaining official document (Deed of Gift) from one of his ministry and passing it to his own lawyer. (The last time such thing happened was in the 1997 defamation case against Tang Liang Hong.)
    All these are serious accusations made by two prominent public figures from the distinguished family in Singapore and they cannot be ignored or brushed away lightly.

    Like

  2. Question is not just “what else can be done to ordinary citizens”, but also what have been done to ordinary citizens. Check with Teo Soh Lung, Tang Liang Hong, JBJ, Frances Seow, Devan Nair, etc etc.

    The little we get from the episodes aired so far is: two-thirds of the Lee family gets to feel what it’s like when you are not in favor with the Lee family. Do Singaporeans want to change the fundamentals or continue with the status quo?

    Like

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