Singapore PM disappointed over siblings publicising family matters

SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pix) has expressed disappointment that his siblings have chosen to issue a statement publicising private family matters.

"I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate allegations that they have made. Ho Ching and I deny these allegations, especially the absurd claim that I have political ambitions for my son," he said in a statement today.

"While siblings may have differences, I believe that any such differences should stay in the family. Since my father's passing in March 2015, as the eldest son, I have tried my best to resolve the issues among us within the family, out of respect for our parents," he said.

Lee noted that his siblings' statement has hurt their father's (Lee Kuan Yew's) legacy.

"I will do my utmost to continue to do right by my parents. At the same time, I will continue serving Singaporeans honestly and to the best of my ability. In particular that means upholding meritocracy, which is a fundamental value of our society," he said.

"As my siblings know, I am presently overseas on leave with my family. I will consider this matter further after I return this weekend," he said.

The statement was issued in response to a six-page public statement issued by his siblings earlier today.

Dr Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang had said in their statement, among others, that they had lost confidence in their brother, Prime Minister Lee.

They alleged that they had observed that Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching wanted to milk Kuan Yew's legacy for their own political purposes.

"We also believe, based on our interactions, that they harbour political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi," they said in the statement which was posted on their Facebook accounts around 2am today.

The statement came with the headline "What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew's values?

Much of the statement focused on Kuan Yew's wish to see his home at 38 Oxley Road to be demolished by his three children.

According to the statement, throughout his entire life, Kuan Yew's sole focus was on Singapore and its future.

"He was a strong opponent of monuments, particularly of himself," they said.

However, the siblings believed that Hsien Loong and Ho Ching were motivated by a desire to inherit Kuan Yew's standing and reputation for themselves and their children.

"Whilst our father built this nation upon meritocracy, Hsien Loong, whilst purporting to espouse these values, has spoken of a "natural aristocracy".

They said Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching, have opposed Kuan Yew's wish to demolish his house, even when Kuan Yew was alive.

Indeed, they said, Hsien Loong and Ho Ching expressed plans to move with their family into the house as soon as possible after Kuan Yew's passing.

"This move would have strengthened Hsien Loong's inherited mandate for himself and his family.

"Moreover, even if Hsien Loong did not live at 38 Oxley Road, the preservation of the house would enhance his political capital," they said.

Ultimately, it is not difficult to see that 38 Oxley Road should be demolished, said Dr Wei Ling and Hsien Yang who are joint executors and trustees of the estate of Kuan Yew.

They said there was full alignment between Kuan Yew's final wish and the people of Singapore, since there was overwhelming support among Singaporeans for the demolition of the house.

Citing an independent YouGov survey published on Dec 22, 2015, they said that 77% of Singaporeans supported the demolition of Kuan Yew's house and only 17% opposed it.

"We are private citizens with no political ambitions. We have nothing to gain from the demolition of 38 Oxley Road other than the knowledge that we have honoured our father's last wish," said the siblings.

However, the siblings noted that the statement issued "is by no means a criticism of the Government of Singapore" as they "see many upright leaders of quality and integrity throughout the public service". — Bernama