Below is the text written by Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) in a Facebook post published on Tuesday evening (7 March).
LHY is the son of the late founding Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew and younger brother to the current Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong.
I am heart-broken that I have been made a fugitive by my own country, for standing up for a promise to my father, Lee Kuan Yew.
Yet another attack has just been launched, re-litigating over again the same issues that were raised by Lee Hsien Loong after probate of Lee Kuan Yew’s will, at the ministerial committee in 2016/2017, in Parliament in 2017, and in disciplinary proceedings in 2019/2020. I have now been condemned in Parliament and in the press without due process. In these circumstances, how can there be fair and proper investigations or a fair trial, in what is clearly a politically-motivated prosecution?
It had seemed such a small request my father was making, that we should demolish his house. However, after his passing in 2015, it was our own brother who opposed our father’s directions to us. As a result, my sister Wei Ling publicly called Hsien Loong out as “the dishonourable son.”
Wei Ling, for all her quirks and eccentricities, has always been forthright, principled, and courageous. I was persuaded by her to stand up for our parents. Both of us have always accepted that the Singapore government has the power to preserve our father’s house, but we reject the continued pretence that he had changed his mind, that he was somehow ‘ok’ with it. Accepting that a government has the power to take your house, does not mean that one is not gravely upset. If Lee Hsien Loong and his government wish to preserve our father’s home, then they should do so acknowledging that they preserve it against Lee Kuan Yew’s earnest wishes.
Hsien Loong and his team seek ever to undermine my father’s last will on this issue. That will was proven in court in 2015, with the support of Hsien Loong and his lawyer, Lucien Wong. Even the court in my wife’s case described Lee Kuan Yew as “content” with his last will. Lee Kuan Yew could have changed it at any time between 2013 and 2015 if indeed he changed his mind. Moreover, Lee Kuan Yew expressed his wishes for demolition of his house over the years both in private and in public, including in speeches, in his book “Hard Truths” and in a video recorded before his death. If Lee Kuan Yew changed his mind, he would have made that abundantly clear. After all, Hsien Loong acknowledged in Parliament that Lee Kuan Yew’s wish to demolish his house was “unwavering”, though Hsien Loong has since backtracked.
Wei Ling and I originally believed, in 2017, that Singapore had checks and balances and rule of law. We questioned “What has happened to the values of Lee Kuan Yew?” thinking that there were still men and women of integrity in the PAP [People’s Action Party], people who would speak truth to power, to put a stop to abuses of power by Hsien Loong and his wife. We rapidly learned otherwise. The party’s reaction was to convene a special session of Parliament to attack us.
Yet again, Hsien Loong misused state resources to pursue his private agenda. Singapore cannot thrive under leaders who put their selfish interests ahead of the needs of the country.
Wei Ling never married and, because we are close, it fell on my shoulders to look after her after our father passed away in 2015. In 2019, she was diagnosed with a serious illness. I was so glad that just before Covid in 2020, I was able to take her to Machu Picchu, a place she had always wanted to visit. She is now extremely unwell. It pains me beyond words that I am unlikely ever to be able to see my sister face to face again.
The persecution we have experienced in just standing up for our father has also made me realise that I have lived in a cocoon. I belonged to ‘the family’ but had not been involved in any way in politics. I lived in a sheltered ignorance of the real Singapore, the lives and struggles of the man in the street or in that one room HDB rental flat, the wrongful persecutions of persons who were only trying to do good, whether they be caring persons in civil society, lawyers and others who were prepared to assist underdogs, or politicians who have lost much and sacrificed much because they stood for their principles, because they loved Singapore and our people.
I have gained much from being part of the Singapore system, and lost much by trying to honour my father’s dying wish. If my sister and I had stayed silent—if we had let Hsien Loong rewrite history—we would have continued to lead peaceful and comfortable lives as part of the Singapore establishment. We spoke up to keep a promise to our father. No mere material calculation could outweigh the risk to our reputations and to our place in society.
Even so, I did not fully foresee the costs that speaking up would impose on my wife and children. We have all paid dearly. We have been the subject of a concerted and vindictive pattern of persecution orchestrated under a system led by my own elder brother, an escalation of the very abuse of power that Wei Ling and I raised in 2017. My family and I have been subjected to a campaign of harassment and surveillance, as well as smear campaigns. These attacks intensified with the bringing of abusive and meritless legal proceedings. After what I have been through, I have no confidence whatsoever in the system.
We have lost our lives in Singapore, our home, our friends, our wider families and our society.
Perhaps the silver lining is that today I am a different man. Older, wiser, stronger, and also much more aware of the lives and challenges of my fellow Singaporeans. I owe a debt of gratitude that I could never repay to my wonderful wife and amazing sons who have stood by me, loved and supported me throughout, and who have been forced to suffer and pay for my principles and my conscience. I am also deeply grateful for the support I have received from so many of you, who have expressed grave concern at what is happening, and who continue to wish me well.