The Lee family saga: Is this really just a family matter?

by Kwan Yue Keng

The letter purportedly from “A Patriotic Singaporean” whilst appearing to be a rational objective letter assessing a particularly sensational yet sensitive issue; in my opinion it is merely trying to limit the political damage to the current Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

It keeps on harping on the fact that it is family matter and should be left to “family members” and not dragged into the public. But is this matter entirely a private family matter?

If a Ministerial Committee, comprising of members whose salary is paid out of public coffers has been set up to look into Lee Kuan Yew (LKY)’s will then this matter is definitely of public interest!

This letter blames the siblings for dragging Singaporeans into taking sides. If Singaporeans have to take sides in such an issue then it merely reflects a political consciousness and discernment amongst those thinking citizens who care to make a valued judgement – whichever side they choose to support. After all this is a matter arising from the first family of the land and thinking people could not simply have shrug it off and have no opinion on it – but most will not voice it for obvious reasons. It cannot be “it’s none of our business” as this letter tries to advocate.

A very old favourite slogan of the People’s Action Party (PAP) is also highlighted in this letter “We cannot afford to lose investor confidence or a stock market crash”. What a knee-jerk reaction from PAP diehards! Used ad-nauseum whenever things don’t go right for the PAP and touted so many times in general elections past! The PAP has lost even a GRC, not once but twice – has any MNC ran away because of that or has the stock market crashed. Foreign investors are people of much sterner stuff than to be scared off by a scuffle over a hundred year old house, even if its the First family of the land are the fighting ones.

This letter very deliberately avoids the impact of the political legacy of this house, which will have a far-reaching impact on the political awareness of generations to come. The fact that the PAP had a fortunate reversal of fortunes in the 2015 General election (regaining 9% of the popular votes lost in the 2011 GE) was in no small way due to the death of LKY and the sympathy votes his death generated, The significance of this is definitely not lost to PM’s LHL and he will do his utmost to milk this to his maximum advantage – LKY’s legacy can win him votes! So, the outcome of the existence of 38 Oxley Road should be of concern to every Singaporean!

Finally, this letter says that this family matter should only involve family members. Lee Kuan Yew once dragged Devan Nair’s family matters into the open by calling his loyal comrade “a wife beater”. How come Patriotic Singaporean did not come out to say that LKY should have kept family matters for family members only?

The overly pervasive presence of Lee Kuan Yew’s political ideas and legacy in all spheres of activities in Singapore cannot but make us sit up and think deeply any affairs related to him and especially his son who is now our Prime Minister, cultivated no less by him. His other children are in public offices of no less high positions albeit of a non-political nature.

Whether Singaporeans like it or not; support it or not, the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew is here to stay. So, how come this house is only a “private matter”?

Read: What concerns Singapore is not the wishes of LKY but the allegation of abuse of authority and powers