Chee Hong Tat: Lee Kuan Yew wouldn't have wanted baseless allegations made that hurt Singapore

Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat said he was greatly saddened to see what had been happening over the past two weeks.
Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat said he was greatly saddened to see what had been happening over the past two weeks. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Lee Kuan Yew would not have wished for a family dispute to be turned into a public quarrel that hurt Singapore's international standing.

Neither would he have wished for baseless allegations to be made against Government leaders and institutions, undermining confidence in the systems he created, Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat said last night, in a Facebook post on the ongoing feud involving Mr Lee's children.

Mr Chee, who was the late Mr Lee's Principal Private Secretary from 2008 to 2011, said he was greatly saddened to see what had been happening over the past two weeks, "especially when I think of the pain it would bring to Mr and Mrs Lee".

"The wild allegations have damaged Singapore's reputation, something Mr Lee spent his entire life building up," he wrote.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling are embroiled in a running dispute with their elder brother Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over their father's wishes for his home at 38, Oxley Road.

The younger Lee siblings want to demolish the house, saying it would be in accordance with his wishes, and have alleged that PM Lee wants to preserve the house for political gain, although PM Lee has made clear that as a son, he supports his father's wish for demolition.

The latest statement comes ahead of a Parliament debate starting Monday, during which PM Lee will address allegations of abuse of power in relation to 38, Oxley Road.

 

In his post, Mr Chee said in his three years working with the late Mr Lee, who died in March 2015, aged 91, he had got to know Dr Lee and they became friends.

"Wei Ling is someone I admire and respect. She has strong views and can be very blunt at times, but she has a good heart and genuinely cares for the people around her," he wrote.

"I do not believe Wei Ling will intentionally cause harm to her country. So I have asked myself over and over again, why is she doing this? Has she been misled and misunderstood what happened?"

Mr Chee noted that Mr Lee would always put the country's interests above personal ones, and believed in the rule of law, and that no one was above the law.

"Knowing Mr Lee, he would be the first to insist that the law must apply equally to his will and the house at 38, Oxley Road just as it does to all other Singaporeans... I have no doubt Mr Lee would want his successors in the Government to continue to uphold these systems and values. He would not have wanted his family to be given special treatment," he said.

Mr Chee also noted Mr Lee Hsien Yang had said he is "a man working to honour his father's wishes".

"Singapore was Mr Lee Kuan Yew's lifelong passion and it is his legacy. Mr Lee would not wish for a family dispute to be turned into a public quarrel that hurt Singapore's international standing. Neither would he wish for baseless allegations to be made against Government leaders and institutions, undermining confidence in the systems he created," he said.

"If my former Boss were still around, I think he would want everyone to put Singapore as the priority and stop all the quarrelling and finger-pointing, so that we can get back to running the country, solving the practical problems we are facing and improving the lives of our people," he added.

 

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