Leong Mun Wai, a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, plans to ask the Minister of Home Affairs to explain the Singapore Government’s seemingly inconsistent approach to revealing the names of people under police investigation.
Specifically, Mr Leong’s question notes that Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and Mrs Lee Suet Fern (LSF) were publicly named and disclosed during their investigation with the Singapore Police Force for giving false evidence in judicial proceedings. In contrast, the names of six former management staff of Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited (KOM) were not made public during their investigation with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).
Mr Teo Chee Hean, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from a member of parliament from the People’s Action Party regarding an e-book, “The Battle Over Lee Kuan Yew’s Last Will,” disclosed the investigations against LHY and LSF.
We do know that MPs from the ruling party file questions for the sole purpose of generating media coverage from time to time, even when there is no need to do so. Such as Sitoh Yih Pin’s question in Parliament about late Lee Kuan Yew’s 100th birthday so that the Government can announce its plans to celebrate it.
However, this is troubling because Mr Teo, a veteran politician from the People’s Action Party, is currently appointed Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, whose portfolio has nothing to do with law enforcement.
So it is unclear why he is aware of the ongoing investigation of LHY and LSF, which ought to be handled by either the Ministry of Law or the Ministry of Home Affairs and had to disclose the information in a question posed to the Prime Minister about the content of an e-book.
Even if Mr Teo learned of the investigation via his interaction with the Ministry of Home Affairs or Law, it may not be appropriate for him to include his knowledge of the ongoing investigations against LHY and LSF in his parliamentary reply to the PAP MP.
Furthermore, if it was against parliamentary standing orders, the Leader of the House, Ms Indranee Rajah, should censure Mr Teo’s conduct.
After all, it was Ms Indranee who had reminded the Parliament that CPIB, an agency under the Prime Minister’s Office, does not have the policy to disclose the names of individuals unless they are charged in court.
She noted that this policy is to avoid prejudicing an individual’s right to due process and also to avoid any presumption of guilt in the absence of any formal findings.
Some comments on social media suggested that Ms Indranee could argue that the difference between her response and Mr Teo’s disclosure is that Mr Teo was an individual while CPIB is a government agency.
However, the information Mr Teo provided is sensitive classified information that has not been released to the public and as Ms Indranee noted, prejudices the right of others to due process and presumes guilt on the part of the named individuals.
It should also be noted that Mr Teo chairs the alleged secret Ministerial Committee which was said to challenge the demolition clause of 38 Oxley road in 2017.
Mr Teo said that the committee was not secret and he does not support the demolishing of the property at 38 Oxley Road – something which Dr Lee Weiling and LHY wanted as their late father had wished for in his last will.
He added in his speech at Parliament that the committee was studying various intermediate options such as demolishing the House but keeping the basement dining room where many important historical meetings took place, with an appropriate heritage centre attached.
If there are no consequences for Mr Teo’s actions, one can probably conclude that the information he obtained outside of his official capacity was authorized, along with the disclosure of the information of the investigations against the couple who have been in dispute with their relative over the fate of 38 Oxley, who so happens to be the Prime Minister.