Siblings of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang have issued a public statement to express their non confidence in PM Lee Hsien Loong and wrote that they are worried about Singapore's future in his hands.
The statement that was posted online by Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang who are also the younger children of Singapore’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew issued a harsh criticism of the current Prime Minister, saying that they are disturbed by the character, conduct, motives and leadership of their brother, Lee Hsien Loong, and the role of his wife, Ho Ching.
Lee Hsieng Yang and his eldest son, Li Shengwu both carried the statement on their Facebook posts as well.
Lee Kuan Yew served as Singapore’s prime minister from 1959 to 1990. Lee Hsien Loong is Singapore’s current prime minister. Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang are also the executors and trustees of Lee Kuan Yew’s estate; PM Lee Hsien Loong was removed from the will in 2011.
Both stated that they feel extremely sad that they are pushed to this position.
It is stated in the statement:
“We have seen a completely different face to our brother Hsien Loong, one that deeply troubles us. Since the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, on 23 March 2015, we have felt threatened by Hsien Loong’s misuse of his position and influence over the Singapore government to drive his personal agenda. We are concerned that the system has few checks and balances to prevent the abuse of government. We feel big brother omnipresent. We fear the use of the organs of state against us and Hsien Yang’s wife, Suet Fern.”
The siblings said that as PM Lee is prepared to act thus against his younger sister and brother, both contributing members of Singapore’s establishment, to advance his personal agenda, they worry for Singapore.
In the statement, it is said that the situation is such that Mr Lee Hsien Yang feels compelled to leave Singapore:
“It is with a very heavy heart that I will leave Singapore for the foreseeable future. This is the country that my father, Lee Kuan Yew, loved and built. It has been home for my entire life. Singapore is and remains my country. I have no desire to leave. Hsien Loong is the only reason for my departure.”
Both siblings question whether able leaders with independent political legitimacy will be side-lined to ensure Hsien Loong’s grip on power remains unchallenged.
Both siblings were at pains to state that they are by no means criticizing the Government of Singapore.
They say that while they can see many upright leaders of quality and integrity throughout the public service who are constrained by Hsien Loong’s misuse of power at the very top, there have been changes in Singapore that do not reflect what Lee Kuan Yew stood for since his death in 2015.
Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang also state:
“Nobody ever doubted that Lee Kuan Yew always held the best interests of Singapore and Singaporeans at heart. He was authentic and spoke his mind. The same cannot be said for our brother, Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching. We believe, unfortunately, that Hsien Loong is driven by a desire for power and personal popularity. His popularity is inextricably linked to Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy. His political power is drawn from his being Lee Kuan Yew’s son. We have observed that Hsien Loong and Ho Ching want to milk Lee 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.”
One instance of PM Lee's conduct that the siblings apparently took to heart is how their father's wish to have the house at 38 Oxley Road to be demolished upon his passing.
In the statement it is said that Lee Kuan Yew made clear in public and private that he wished that his home at 38 Oxley Road be demolished upon his passing. In his last will and testament of 17 December 2013, he again reiterated his wish and directed his three children to ensure that it be fulfilled.
Indeed, he also made clear that even if the house were to be gazetted by the Singapore government as a monument against his wishes then it should only be open to his children and their descendants. Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching, have opposed Lee Kuan Yew’s wish to demolish his house, even when Lee Kuan Yew was alive. Hsien Loong’s political power is related to being Lee Kuan Yew’s son and thus he has every incentive to preserve Lee Kuan Yew’s house to inherit his credibility.
Wei Ling and Hsien Yang state with much sadness:
“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. Hsien Loong has everything to gain from preserving 38 Oxley Road – he need only ignore his father’s will and values.”
“The values of Lee Kuan Yew are being eroded by his own son. Our father placed our country and his people first, not his personal popularity or private agendas. We are very sad that we have been pushed to this. We feel hugely uncomfortable and closely monitored in our own country. We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.”
This is not the first time, PM Lee's siblings have denounced him in public. In April last year, Dr Lee Weiling accused PM Lee of abusing his power to build a dynasty. She also asserted that Singapore Press Holdings of being controlled by the interests of the 'powers that be' She even went as far as to call him 'a dishonorable son' and insisted that she would not allow her father's name to be sullied by him.
Update: Lee Hsien Loong has posted a response in relation to the statement earlier published by his two siblings, expressing his disappointment towards the choice of publicising private family matters and denies allegations made by the two against him, especially on the point that he has political ambitions for his son.
Below is the statement by the two in full