Lee siblings welcome PM’s offer to settle dispute in private

Dr Lee Wei Ling, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang are seen in these file photos. — TODAY pic
Dr Lee Wei Ling, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang are seen in these file photos. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, July 6 — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings said this morning they welcome his offer to manage their disagreement away from the public eye, and they would stop posting on social media “provided that we and our father’s wish are not attacked or misrepresented”.

Two days after the parliamentary debates earlier this week over their allegations that saw 29 Members of Parliament speak about the issues, Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling released a seven-page public statement on Facebook putting forth the background to the dispute and their reasons for going public.

They also revealed that soon after their first joint statement on June 14, which set off the public spat over the past weeks, they had privately offered a “ceasefire” but their “attempts at reconciliation” were rebuffed.

They added: “We attempted to reach out over the past two years, through various intermediaries We look forward to talking without the involvement of lawyers or government agencies.”

PM first to invoke lawyers, rebuffed attempts at relocation

They claimed that PM Lee quarrelled with them on April 12, 2015, the day their father founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s will was read. And he had allegedly not spoken to them since.

They also added that PM Lee was the first to invoke lawyers, a move that “gobsmacked” them since they were “were siblings discussing (their) fathers’ house”.

Shortly after he wrote to them that he had hired Lucien Wong to deal with the situation and asked them for their lawyers, all direct communication ceased. They added that the first Chinese New Year reunion dinner following Lee Kuan Yew’s death, all relatives were invited except them.

They said they attempted to reach out over the past two years through various intermediaries and even privately offered a ceasefire shortly after their first public statement on June 14, but their “attempts at reconciliation were rebuffed”.

“We therefore welcome Hsien Loong’s stated desire on July 4, 2017 to manage his disagreement with us in private. We look forward to talking without the involvement of lawyers or government agencies,” their statement read.

Independent in quiry needed, not Parliamentary sitting

In their latest seven-page public statement, they reiterated allegations that PM Lee misused his power as prime minister and had hijacked the organs of state to pursue his personal goals.

In a separate 10-page document, also released on Facebook on Thursday, they summarised the proof of their accusations shared to date. The eight-point summary included accusing PM Lee of misleading their father into believing that 38 Oxley Road was either already gazetted or would “inevitably” be gazetted on his passing, and using a “secret ministerial committee” to challenge Lee Kuan Yew’s Final Will.

Saying that they “love Singapore” and “want only that it prospers, under a government that has integrity and respects the rule of law”, they again said they would not have brought this dispute into the public eye if there was “a neutral and unbiased venue to resolve (their) differences in private”.

They also insisted that the recently-concluded two-day parliamentary sitting raised more questions and answers, and without an opportunity to present their point of view in Parliament, they had “no choice” but to make their response through this public statement.

Parliament, they insisted, was no place to investigate their accusations of abuse of power, given that PM Lee’s party controls almost all the seats in the House, so MPs cannot effectively question him.

They also said it seems releasing “further evidence on social media” at this time will “only muddy the facts, and put pressure on government agencies to make excuses for PM Lee”.

“If there is ever a truly independent inquiry to examine the evidence, they are welcome to ask. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Singapore whether they hold Lee Hsien Loong to a true accounting,” they said.

Concluding their statement by saying that they are not politicians and have no wish to see Singapore “embroiled in a never-ending public argument”, they will “cease presenting further evidence on social media” on the condition that their fathers’ wishes are “not attacked or misrepresented”.

They also thanked the numerous Singaporeans who had reached out to give them their support and gave their views.

They said: “Ultimately, it is up to the government, and the people of Singapore, to decide whether and how to hold Lee Hsien Loong to account.”

PM waives Parliamentary privilege

Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling had been embroiled in a public dispute with their eldest brother PM Lee Hsien Loong over the fate of their father’s house on 38 Oxley Road which blew up in the public sphere after a six-page statement released on June 14, accusing PM Lee of abuses of power for personal gain.

But during the parliamentary debate which spanned almost 11 hours across two days, none of the MPs who spoke substantiated any allegations of abuse of power hurled against PM Lee by his siblings.

In contrast, the government has been shown to have “acted properly and with due process”, PM Lee said as he wrapped up the debate on Tuesday.

He added that facts and explanations have been put on the record, and Singaporeans have been given “a full account of how the government works, and what the government has done, in the case of 38 Oxley Road”.

Yesterday, PM Lee also waived his Parliamentary privilege and released to the media his ministerial statements and the accompanying materials, including email exchanges between family members.

By doing so, it means if any part of his statement is disputed, further legal action can be pursued. — TODAY

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