Singapore's Prime Minister Apologizes Regarding Public Family Feud

  • Singapore's Prime Minister Apologizes Regarding Public Family Feud

Singapore's Prime Minister Apologizes Regarding Public Family Feud

The row largely centres around a clause in Lee Kuan Yew's will that stated that the family home should be demolished after his death.

The family dispute has affected Singapore's reputation and citizens' confidence in government, the PM declared on Monday.

Lee Hsien Yang, a prominent businessman and former CEO of Singtel, and his sister Lee Wei Ling, a well known neurosurgeon, said in a joint statement they feel "threatened" by their brother's "misuse of his position and influence over the Singapore government and its agencies to drive his personal agenda".

"The Government understands that it is natural for the Malay-Muslim community to be concerned about these cases and unsure of what to do, and where to stand", PM Lee said to the media, in Malay, after breaking fast with about 200 officers from the Tanglin Police Division, the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the Central Narcotics Bureau, as well as security firms Aetos and Cisco.

In his statement on Monday, the Prime Minister said that he "had done everything possible" to avoid this state of affairs.

A cabinet committee is considering what should happen to the property, but Lee says he is not involved in any of the decisions. "I tried to deal with their unhappiness privately", he said. "I hope that this full, public airing in Parliament will dispel any doubts that have been planted and strengthen confidence in our institutions and our system of government".

PM Lee responded in a Facebook post expressing disappointment over his siblings' "publicising family matters" and said he would "consider this matter further" when he returns this weekend from a family holiday overseas. Lee said that offer failed, so then he sold the house to his brother at a "fair market value" and donated the proceeds to charity. "We will continue to lead our nation and serve you to the best of our ability".

"Much as I would like to move on, and end a most unhappy experience for Singaporeans, these baseless accusations against the Government can not be left unanswered".

In a highly unusual move, they went public with their allegations last week in a 6-page news release.

In response to this, Hsien Yang said that not only did neither him nor Wei Ling hear from DPM Teo in his capacity as chair of the committee, they also were not informed of any options by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who first alerted them to its existence.

On Tuesday, Lee Hsien Yang responded to the Prime Minister's public message with yet another post on Facebook, suggesting the issue is not going away any time soon. These include looking into the historical and heritage significance of the house, as well as to consider Mr Lee Kuan Yew's thinking and wishes in relation to it.

While the elder Lee was lauded for his economic accomplishments, he also was responsible for stringent laws and regulations that dictated most, if not all, aspects of society - including media and political freedoms, censorship, and even the selling of chewing gum.