At some point in 2017, brother of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (LHL), Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) had said that he was being forced to leave Singapore because he feared that state organs were being used against him and his family. Fast forward to 2019, it may well be that LHY’s statements were prophetic. Since LHY has aired his misgivings, his son, Li Shengwu (Li) has been prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) for alleged “contempt of court” over a private Facebook post that Li had made. LHY’s wife, lawyer Lee Suet Fern (LSF) has now also become the subject of a case of possible professional misconduct referred to the Law Society by the same AGC.
The current Attorney General is Mr Lucien Wong (Wong). His appointment as Attorney General was one that attracted controversy because he was the personal lawyer of LHL. Is it not a huge conflict of interest for someone so closely associated with the Prime Minister to be appointed to such a powerful public position? The Attorney General’s role is to act as legal advisor to the government of Singapore. Is Wong able to put aside his personal relationship with LHL to do what’s right for the government of Singapore?
Previous Attorney Generals have all been members of the judiciary or academics well versed in all aspects of law. Wong has had the bulk of his practice in corporate law and was the managing partner of Allen and Gledhill for many years. Is his experience relevant for the position of Attorney General? Were there more suitable candidates with more relevant experience? Not to mention that Wong, at the age of 64, took over the former AG who stepped down due to old age at 60 years old. There appear to be more questions than answers.
LHL has maintained that there is no conflict of interest in appointing his former lawyer as the AG.
While Wong has apparently recused himself from this but at what point did he recuse himself? After the complaint was drawn up or before? What about the prosecution of Li? At the end of the day it remains that both actions against LHL’s brother’s family have come from the AGC at the time when PM Lee’s former personal lawyer is at the helm of the AGC.
As Lee Weiling has said: “Lee Kuan Yew, a highly regarded lawyer, never complained about his will. No beneficiary has complained to the Law Society, not even [Lee] Hsien Loong who was advised by Lucien Wong (previously his personal lawyer [and] now [Attorney General])…..Why therefore this new attack on our father’s will? Why is this being initiated now, and by the AGC, after all this time? Our view is that this action is wholly without merit.”
Whether there is any truth in the speculation, the AGC’s latest action will further add fuel to the perception that LHY and his family are facing the repercussions for their criticism of his brother LHL and his People’s Action Party-led government. It certainly sends chills down my spine. If there is any truth to the rumours, it begs the question – to what extent is LHL prepared to go to hold on to power? And whether would there be any investigations be even held to ascertain if state powers are being abused for personal agenda, led by the walkover Singapore President who was formerly a PAP Member of Parliament.
As Singaporeans, we should be concerned. This is not just a family spat. If state organs can be used against family members, what more us mere mortals? Do we accept this potential status quo?
Correction: Age of Mr Wong was stated to be 65 but revised to 64