Singaporean PM rejects sister's accusation of abuse of power

Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong rejects his sister's accusation that he abused power by using anniversary of father's death for political ends

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers remarks to reporters after a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama alongside the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia November 22, 2015.

Signapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has denied accusations by his sister, Dr. Lee Wee Ling, that he has abused his power by using the one-year anniversary of their father Lee Yew’s passing in order to create a dynasty.

In a Facebook post on Sunday Dr. Lee Wei Ling said the government was trying take advantage of the first anniversary of the death of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father, to "hero worship" him, according to Channel News Asia, a government-owned television news agency.

Channel News Asia reported that Lee Wei Ling had earlier posted on to Facebook copies of correspondence with editors from The Straits Times in which she said that she and her brother "are at odds on a matter of principle" concerning the commemoration of Lee Kuan Yew’s death.

She accused her brother of having "no qualms abusing his power to [hold] a commemoration just one year after Lee Kuan Yew died," but the posts were removed on Sunday afternoon.

Dr. Lee wrote an opinion peace for the Times concerning the events of March 23 anniversary which was not published.

"I am deeply saddened by my sister Dr. Lee Wei Ling's claim that I have abused my power to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing in order to establish a dynasty. The accusations are completely untrue," the prime minister said in a Facebook page on Sunday evening.

Lee Hsien Loong insisted that his sister’s claims were false and that plans for the commemorations had been discussed by his cabinet until he recommended that "we should leave it to ground-up efforts."

He said the cabinet then reviewed the plans and approved them as they "expressed the sincerely felt sentiments of Singaporeans, which my Cabinet colleagues and I deeply appreciate."

Denying claims that he wished to establish a dynasty, he defined meritocracy as "a fundamental value of our society" and emphasised that he, the long-ruling People's Action Party (PAP) and the public would not tolerate any dynastic ambitions.

Recently, Dr. Lee had posted on Facebook that she would no longer write for the Times’ publisher Singapore Press Holdings, arguing that it had restricted her "freedom of speech."

"In fact, that was the reason why I posted the article that LKY would not want to be hero-worshipped," she added.

Lee Hsien Loong's father, the late Lee Kuan Yew, was the first prime minister of Signapore and led the country during three decades of rapid development and economic growth. Recognised as the nation’s founding father, he championed policies that made it Southeast Asia's wealthiest and most competitive economy.

He co-founded the PAP in 1954, led the party to a landswide win in 1959 and struggled to bring about Singapore’s transformation from an underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources to an Asian Tiger economy.

Nevertheless, his rule also provoked criticism due to his controversial style of governance, including the detention of - and filing of defamation lawsuits against - political opponents and journalists.


TRTWorld and agencies