Opposition raises questions about Lee family dispute

38 Oxley Road, home of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
38 Oxley Road, home of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

WP voices concern about allegations of power abuse; SDP calls for Commission of Inquiry

The Workers' Party yesterday voiced its concern about allegations that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has abused his power, in its first comments about the dispute between PM Lee and his siblings over their father's Oxley Road house.

In a Facebook post, the party shared the seven parliamentary questions its MPs have filed to "clear the air" on the allegations levelled against PM Lee by Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

This comes a day after PM Lee said he would deliver a ministerial statement when Parliament sits on July 3 to refute their "baseless accusations", and urged MPs to scrutinise the matter.

The WP said it believes the family issues surrounding the house at 38, Oxley Road should be resolved privately or in court.

"We are only concerned with the allegations of abuse of power and the harm these have caused to confidence in Singapore and our political institutions," the party said.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee had released a statement last Wednesday accusing PM Lee of misusing his power in a bid to preserve their father's house, among numerous other allegations. The WP's questions cover different areas of these allegations.


Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh asked if the Government would agree to convene a Special Select Committee of Parliament, comprising MPs from all parties with public hearings that are broadcast live, to look into the allegations of abuse of power.

This is to allow PM Lee's "accusers to present all the relevant evidence to Parliament", said Mr Singh, who is the party's assistant secretary-general.

WP chairman Sylvia Lim asked what rules are in place to ensure that ministers and senior public office-holders do not influence or take part in discussions and decisions that they have a personal or financial interest in.

Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera sought more information on ministerial committees that are not publicised, while NCMP Daniel Goh asked Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu whether Deeds of Gifts executed with the National Heritage Board may be shared with third persons.

Dr Goh's question comes after PM Lee's siblings alleged he misused his position to obtain the Deed of Gift for items from 38, Oxley Road.

WP MP Chen Show Mao wanted to know if there are mechanisms to prevent and detect situations where organs of state are used by ministers to gather information for personal purposes, to advance personal interests or punish critics.

PM Lee's siblings had earlier said they feared the use of organs of state against them.

The WP MPs also asked if there are rules to prevent family members of political appointees from influencing senior civil servants on matters beyond their scope of work.

Besides Dr Goh's question, the other MPs' questions were all directed at PM Lee.

Former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock also weighed in on the matter in a separate post on Facebook yesterday, saying that Parliament is not the right place to settle family disputes.

"It is an institution to make laws and debate national issues. Family disputes should be settled in courts. In Parliament, MPs have no details of the case and only hear PM telling his side of the case. Wrong platform," he wrote.

The Singapore Democratic Party also issued a statement yesterday saying the saga goes "well beyond a private family quarrel".

It called for an official Commission of Inquiry to be convened to look into the dispute.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Opposition raises questions about Lee family dispute'. Print Edition | Subscribe