PM Lee on Oxley Road: I have a duty to explain myself to MPs, and rebut allegations of abuse of power before Parliament

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks in Parliament on July 3, saying that he "intends to clear the air".

SINGAPORE - Under Singapore's Constitution, the Prime Minister is the person who commands the confidence of the majority of MPs.

This is why as PM, he has a duty to explain himself to MPs, and rebut in Parliament the serious allegations of abuse of power that have been made against him and his Government by his siblings in recent weeks, Mr Lee Hsien Loong told the House on Monday (July 3).

"Their allegations are entirely baseless. But they have already damaged Singapore's reputation," PM Lee said.

"Unrebutted, they can affect Singaporeans' confidence in the Government. I therefore have no choice but to address them promptly and publicly. I also have to do so in Parliament," he added.

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PM Lee made these points at the start of his ministerial statement on the alleged abuse of power on 38, Oxley Road before a packed chamber, three weeks after Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang released a statement that has thrust a family quarrel into the national spotlight.

Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had said they were troubled by their brother's misuse of his position and influence in Government to advance his personal agenda, and had lost confidence in him.

 
 

Their allegations centre on three matters.

One, the setting up of the Ministerial Committee on the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's home at 38, Oxley Road.

Two, the Deed of Gift for some artefacts from the house that were to be displayed in an exhibition by the National Heritage Board several months after Mr Lee Kuan Yew died on March 23, 2015.

Three, accusations of nepotism over PM Lee's wife Ho Ching and their son, Li Hongyi, and that PM Lee wanted his father's house to bolster his power.

PM Lee and various ministers have responded to some of the issues raised concerning Government matters over the past weeks, prompting responses from Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, as well as rebuttals from ministers and officials.

But his Monday speech is being closely watched as PM Lee has said he seeks to give a full account of the matter. He will also take questions from MPs on the subject.

"I know many Singaporeans are upset by this issue. They are tired of the subject, and wish it would end," PM Lee acknowledged.

"I too am upset that things have reached this state. As your Prime Minister, I deeply regret that this has happened and apologise to Singaporeans for this," he said.

"As a son, I am pained at the anguish this strife would have caused my parents to feel if they were still alive," he added.

"I intend to clear the air today, to explain the matter fully."

PM Lee also said: "I am not here to make a case against my siblings. Parliament is not the place for that. What is private, I will try to resolve privately. But what is public, I have to explain and render account."

PM Lee added that he stands by what he will say in the House, and will  be issuing his remarks in the debate as a statement outside the House, which will not be covered by Parliamentary privilege.

This aims to address an allegation by Mr Lee Hsien Yang that what his brother says would be protected by Parliamentary privilege, and therefore immune from a legal challenge.

While the account will be from his perspective, he said he would try his best to be objective and factual.

PM Lee said his speech will go into some background about family discussions on 38, Oxley Road when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was alive, what happened after Mr Lee died, and where the matter stands today.

 

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