SDP: Parliament not appropriate forum for matter of national importance, COI needs to be called

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has issued a statement to urge Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to convene a Commission of Inquiry on the ongoing dispute between him and his siblings, Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang instead of having the matter debated in Parliament.

The party states that the Parliament is hardly the appropriate forum to conduct an inquiry that will win public confidence in a matter of such national importance.

Highlighting the seriousness of the charges and counter-charges made by those involved – including cabinet ministers – and the grave implications the allegations hold for the future of Singapore, the party urges the PM to call for a forum that is beyond reproach in its service of truth and fairness.

Earlier today, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, a former People's Action Party Member of Parliament also wrote that the Parliament is not the right place to settle family disputes.

"It is an institution to make laws and debate national issues.Family disputes should be settled in courts.In parliament MPs have no details of the case and only hear PM telling his side of the case. Wrong platform." commented Dr Tan.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has earlier made a public statement on Monday evening (19 June) to apologise for the dispute between him and his siblings, Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

Apart from apologising for the matter, he said that he will make a ministerial statement in Parliament to refute the allegations made against him and will subject himself to questioning by the Members of Parliament on 3 July with party whip lifted for his party.

On 14 June, PM Lee's two siblings issued a public statement to express their non confidence in him and wrote that they are worried about Singapore's future in his hands. They raised several issues in their six-page statement such as the handling of the 38 Oxley Road but most importantly, the two alleged that the PM had abused his official position for personal agenda.

Below is SDP's statement in full

The matter of PM Lee Hsien Loong's dispute with his siblings should be heard by a properly convened Commission of Inquiry (COI) rather than be debated in Parliament.

The SDP stated in our media release (15 June 2017) that “PM Lee must address the specific allegations of public concern in a clear and transparent manner. The only way that this can be satisfactorily done is through public hearings.”

Given that the PM is at the centre of the controversy, Parliament is hardly the appropriate forum to conduct an inquiry that will win public confidence in a matter of such national importance.

Instead, a COI like the one held to look into the circumstances surrounding the riot in Little India in 2013 should take place. In that hearing, lapses in the security system were identified and concrete recommendations made to improve it.

If the Government saw the need for a COI over the incident in Little India, what more this matter which has generated intense public angst.

Given the seriousness of the charges and counter-charges made by those involved – including cabinet ministers – and the grave implications the allegations hold for the future of our country, it behooves the PM to call for a forum that is beyond reproach in its service of truth and fairness.

Such an inquiry must necessarily include a body with the power to subpoena all actors and relevant witnesses where they can be questioned under oath. The composition of the panel must, of course, be consistent with the spirit and objective in which the inquiry is conducted.

It must be reiterated that the saga goes well beyond a private family quarrel and crosses into the realm which involves matters at the very heart of transparent and accountable governance.

It is in this light that the SDP urges PM Lee to do the right thing and convene a genuinely impartial hearing to get to the bottom of the incident and, in so doing, reform our nation's governing process.

This entry was posted in Current Affairs.