SINGAPORE — On Monday’s upcoming parliamentary sitting, Mr Leong Mun Wai, a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, will ask the Minister of Home Affairs to explain the government’s seemingly inconsistent approach to revealing names of people under police investigation.

In his filed parliamentary question, Mr Leong is questioning why Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and Mrs Lee Suet Fern (LSF) were publicly named and disclosed during their investigation for giving false evidence in judicial proceedings, while the names of six former management staff of Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited (KOM) were not made public during their investigation.

This question comes after Mr Teo Chee Hean, in response to a question by MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) on 2 March, disclosed that the police were investigating LHY and LSF for potential offences of giving false evidence in judicial proceedings.

Mr Teo said in his reply:

“as part of the investigations, the Police requested an interview with Mrs LSF and Mr LHY. They initially agreed to attend the Police interview.

However, Mrs LSF and Mr LHY later had a change of heart and refused to attend. Their refusal is disappointing.

The Police have advised them to reconsider participating in investigations, but they have since left Singapore, and remain out of the country.

The Police have also informed them that the necessary steps would be taken to complete the investigations in their absence.

Their refusal to participate raises questions.

If they maintain their innocence, the investigation will give them the chance to vindicate themselves.

They should participate, take the full opportunity to give their side of the story, and clear their names.”

This contrasts with the position adopted by Minister Indranee Rajah when she replied to the question by Workers’ Party MP Gerald Giam about why the  Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) is not naming the six former KOM management staff who were issued with stern warnings for their involvement in the Brazil bribery scandal.

Ms Indranee, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, explained that the six former senior management staff members of KOM were not prosecuted over the multi-million dollar bribery case due to insufficient evidence to establish their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Ms Indranee replied to Mr Giam:

As a matter of policy, CPIB does not disclose the names of individuals, unless they are charged in court. This policy is not unique to the CPIB; law enforcement agencies in the US, UK and New Zealand have a similar approach. The principle underlying this policy is to avoid prejudicing that individual’s right to due process and also, avoid any presumption of guilt in the absence of any formal findings.

If Members feel that hereafter this practice should be changed and that law enforcement agencies should name all individuals who were investigated, even if in the end no charges are brought, then please say so. That would be a major change of policy.

But please note, if Members want to change, then it cannot be only for this case. It must be for all future cases. That is something to think carefully about. Members will recall that, about two years ago, a question was in fact raised in this House, asking about the protections available for those whose reputations are affected by media coverage of ongoing trials of certain offences and how such reports are regulated.

While the Singapore Government has not chosen not to name the six who were issued stern warnings over the offences. The plea agreement and media reports have already identified who these six individuals might be.

Continued persecution by Singaporean authorities, says LHY

LHY, a fellow party member of Mr Leong at the Progress Singapore Party and brother of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, accused the Singaporean authorities of continuing to persecute his family in a Facebook post on 2 March.

LHY and his family have been embroiled in a long-standing dispute over the fate of the 38 Oxley property following the passing of their father, Lee Kuan Yew, in 2015.

In a statement made in June 2017, LHY and his sister, Lee Wei Ling, said that they did not trust Hsien Loong and feared the use of “organs of the state” against them and their family. This statement led to LHL calling for a parliamentary session to clear himself of their allegations.

LHY also noted the case of his son, Li Shengwu, who was prosecuted by the authorities in July/August 2017 for “scandalising” the judiciary over a private Facebook post. After a three-year court case, Shengwu was convicted.

TOC previously reported that the grounds for the prosecution were questionable as the private Facebook post was shared with the local media and publicised as a result of the AGC’s action.

Additionally, LHY pointed to the case of his wife, Lee Suet Fern, who was suspended from legal practice for 15 months by the Court of Three Judges in 2020 after it agreed with the Disciplinary Tribunal’s finding that she had engaged in grossly improper professional conduct.

Mrs Lee denied the allegations, saying that the case was based on a private will and that there was no basis for the prosecution.

Li Shengwu also chimed into the matter with a tweet, saying, “Many families have vindictive relatives. My relatives just happen to control a small authoritarian government.”

He wrote, “Just today, LHL’s government has revealed in parliamentary questions that the police want my parents to come in for ‘questioning’. In Singapore, the authorities can hold you indefinitely, under inhumane conditions, without timely access to a lawyer.”

Li noted, “When a hostile authoritarian government says they want to ‘question’ you, it is clear what that means. For the prime minister of Singapore, it’s ‘rule of law’ for thee but not for me.”

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