The Lee family feud has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the Government, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (19 June) as he apologised to the nation.
“And as the eldest of the siblings, it grieves me to think of the anguish that this would have caused our parents if they were still alive,” PM Lee said in a video statement posted on his Facebook page. PM Lee said Singaporeans have been “disturbed and confused by news of the private dispute between my siblings and me.”
His apology comes less than a week after his siblings Wei Ling and Hsien Yang issued a statement last Wednesday to say that they had “no confidence” in their brother, adding that they felt threatened by his pursuit of a personal agenda over their father’s home on 38 Oxley Road.
PM Lee said he had done everything possible to avoid this state of affairs. Recounting the discussions between him and his siblings about the property of their late father Lee Kuan Yew, PM Lee said, “My father left the property at 38 Oxley Road to me as part of my equal share of his estate, but my siblings were not happy about this. I tried to deal with their unhappiness privately.
“I offered to transfer 38 Oxley Rd to my sister for a nominal $1. Unfortunately that offer failed. I then sold the house to my brother at a fair market valuation, and donated all my proceeds to charity.”
PM Lee said he had hoped the offer would satisfy his siblings and that there should be no reason for any further quarrel, since he no longer owns the house and does not take part in any Government decisions on the house.
But he said that his siblings have decided to go out and make “serious allegations” publicly.
“For example, they say that I am using my position as Prime Minister to influence the Ministerial Committee chaired by DPM Teo Chee Hean. These allegations go beyond private and personal matters, and extend to the conduct of my office and the integrity of the Government.”
PM to make Ministerial Statement on 3 July
PM Lee said the “baseless accusations” against the Government cannot be left unanswered and must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted.
As such, PM Lee said he will make a Ministerial Statement to refute the charges when Parliament sits on 3 July 2017. He has instructed that the party whip be lifted for the session.
“I urge all MPs, including the non-PAP MPs, to examine the issues thoroughly and question me and my Cabinet colleagues vigorously. 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 also assured Singaporeans that the matter will not distract him and his Cabinet colleagues from their responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including pressing economic and security challenges.
“As public servants, my Ministers and I will always protect the integrity of our institutions, and uphold the strict standards separating private affairs from our public duties. We are determined to repair the damage that has been done to Singapore. We will continue to lead our nation and serve you to the best of our ability.”