AGC cannot just pick and choose which conflicts of interests to investigate

In the minds of the average Joe, Lee and Lee is one of the most prominent law firms in Singapore. The average Singaporean would not be au fait with developments in the legal world. Yet, the Lee name holds prestige and many Singaporeans (especially the older ones) would look upon the Lee name with awe.

It would therefore be safe to say that its history and affiliation with the preeminent Lee family has contributed (at least in part) to its growth such as its widely-known monopoly on HDB flats in the old days. The Lee story is certainly considered important by the firm. Why else would they include it on their website alongside pictures of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, his wife Madam Kwa Geok Choo and his brother, Mr Dennis Lee. 

There is nothing wrong with mentioning the affiliation. It is certainly something the firm is proud of and understandably so. It is also no secret that Lee and Lee has worked on some high profile government affiliated matters. I am sure that there is no conflict of interest and they were handled on an arm’s length basis.

But if the Attorney General’s office has taken issue with Lee Suet Fern’s involvement with the will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) despite LKY himself not having raised any issue, why has the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) not similarly taken issue with matters that Lee and Lee as a law firm has acted on  where government or government related contracts are involved? Isn’t there also a potential conflict of interest?

If the AGC wants to pursue this line of logic, then all potential conflicts have to be investigated. It cannot just pick and choose and investigate only Lee Suet Fern. This is especially because this issue should already be time barred! There appears to be a time limit for making a complaint stated on the Law Society’s website as not after the expiration of 3 years from the date of the conduct complained of. Lee Suet Fern’s alleged participation in the will took place in 2013 – more than 5 years ago!

Mr Lee Hsien Yang has in a Facebook post questioned the timing of the AGC’s decision and the public interest being served. He said: “What public interest is being served by AGC here? Why waste public resources on a private matter, and after all this time?…..”Why is AGC rushing this case in 2019 when the facts were known by all parties for years?”

Good question.