Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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SINGAPORE: Lee Hsien Yang has again denounced faith in his estranged elder brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s regime, pointing to a spate of recent scandals that have gripped headlines.

Mr. Lee Hsien Yang said on Facebook this evening (23 July) that trust in his brother and his late father’s party, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), “has been shattered”.

Pointing to his brother’s recent remarks that the people trust the PAP because of the party’s high standards of propriety and personal conduct and its commitment to stay clean and incorrupt, Mr. Lee Hsien Yang said: “Trust has to be earned. It cannot simply be inherited.”

The younger Lee pointed to a series of controversies such as the Ridout Road rentals, the corruption cases involving two Temasek companies, the exaggerated circulation numbers scandal involving SPH Media, the arrest of Transport Minister S Iswaran as part of an ongoing corruption probe and the recent resignations of two PAP MPs due to an extramarital affair that the PM had known about for two years.

He asserted: “Wei Ling and I stated in June 2017 that “We do not trust Lee Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader.” These latest facts speak volumes. Hsien Loong’s regime does not deserve Singaporeans’ trust.”

The Lee family feud has gripped Singapore for over five years after it became public in 2017, following the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The late elder statesman’s younger children, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, accused their elder brother Lee Hsien Loong of abusing his power as prime minister to advance his political interests.

They also accused their elder brother of trying to undermine their father’s legacy by seeking to preserve the house against their father’s wishes and use it to bolster his political credentials. PM Lee denied the allegations, and Parliament absolved him.

Meanwhile, his siblings continued to publicly criticize him. The dispute was eventually resolved through a private family settlement in 2019, which saw PM Lee agreeing to respect his father’s wishes and allow the house to be demolished after his death.

In 2018, a year after the dispute became public, PM Lee described the family feud as “abeyance.” He said, “I’m not sure if it’s solved,” before adding that he was still saddened by the dispute over the siblings’ family home. He expressed hope that relations with his siblings will improve in future when “emotions have subsided.”

Taking issue with his brother’s words, Mr Lee Hsien Yang hit back: “Our brother says he is unsure that the feud is solved. Notwithstanding his public statements, Hsien Loong has made no attempt to reach out to us to resolve matters in private.”

Mr. Lee’s son, Li Shengwu, was subsequently found guilty of contempt of court and fined S$15,000 plus being ordered to pay S$8,500 for costs of proceedings and another S$8,070 for disbursements after being found guilty of contempt of court for a private friends-only Facebook post he made referring to the feud.

Mr. Li, a renowned assistant economics professor at Harvard University who was awarded the prestigious Sloan Fellowship, paid the fine but did not attend the hearing.

Mr. Lee Hsien Yang’s wife, Lee Suet Fern, was also suspended from her legal practice for 15 months for misconduct in November 2020 relating to Mr.Lee Kuan Yew’s last will.

In March, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean revealed that Mr. Lee Hsien Yang and his wife are under a police probe for possibly lying in judicial proceedings about Lee Kuan Yew’s will. Dubbing this latest action “continued persecution,” Mr Lee and his wife have moved to an undisclosed location in Europe.

The couple were not able to be back in Singapore during Mrs. Lee’s father’s passing and funeral, as well.

Lee Suet Fern’s eulogy for her dearly departed father Lim Chong Yah touches hearts.

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