If you are a stranger to the latest scandal to rock our little red dot, you must be living under a rock! (Pun intended). But just in case we do indeed have rock dwellers, a feud within the ruling family has spilled into the public domain with public statements and Facebook posts issued by all the major players in this dispute.
I am sure that many Singaporeans have not missed the irony of various members of the Lee clan publicly implying that they feel threatened by the use of state organs to monitor their movements. While the use of state organs to further the ruler’s personal political gain should never be condoned, do they not realise that many Singaporeans have long suspected that state organs have always been used to spy on political opponents to the ruling family?
Don’t get me wrong. I am glad that members of the ruling family have now affirmed the open secret and we can finally acknowledge that this is actually happening. But it just strikes me as a tad odd – were these members of the Lee family that are now accusing the PM not privy to the probability that this modus operandi being used on so many others before them? Is it a case of not caring about the hoi polloi until and unless they are also personally affected?
If the most elite of Singaporeans are feeling the heat, what more of the rest of us mere mortals?
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his family have the option to leave Singapore. What of people who do not have that luxury?
More importantly, is PM Lee going to sue his siblings for defamation? Many before them have been bankrupted for saying far less! I am not suggesting that they be sued. All I am saying is that it shouldn’t be different rules for different folks because that would be acknowledging that cronyism does exist! Something that is bad for stability and government reputation!
Alternatively, is PM Lee’s government going to offer ratification and a full apology to those who have faced the defamation suit before? If he doesn’t take action against his siblings, he will run the risk of tacitly acknowledging that those before them have been wrongfully penalised. Again, something that affects government standing!
Most pressingly, gossip fodder aside, these allegations have raised a very serious issue – that of the misuse of state organs. How are we to tackle this? Should we not have an open official inquiry to get to the bottom of this?
Public monies funded by all of our taxes pay for these state organs. We have a right to know how these are spent. Such public monies cannot be used as a politician’s private purse to further his or her own gains. While I am not accusing the government of anything, the only way to move forward credibly is to be transparent about how state monies are used and how state organs are mobilised.
Who has a say on what organs are utilised for what purposes? Should there not be clear procedures for such things? How many ministers need to sign off on a particular matter etc. These are just a few of the questions that need to be asked and discussed. Clearly, the possibility of having only the PM sign off on these things is not feasible if we want to avoid potential abuses.
Apology - The original headline for this article was taken from Felix Cheong. That's due to a miscommunication with the author as the intended title for the post. We apologise for the non-attribution and misuse of the text.