No political ambitions for my son, says PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching with their son Li Hongyi at his commissioning parade at Safti Military Institute in 2006. PM Lee has said in the past that his children are not keen on entering politics.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching with their son Li Hongyi at his commissioning parade at Safti Military Institute in 2006. PM Lee has said in the past that his children are not keen on entering politics.ST FILE PHOTO

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday refuted allegations by his younger siblings that he harbours political ambitions for his son Li Hongyi.

Such a claim is "absurd", he said in a statement responding to Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.

"I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate allegations that they have made. Ho Ching and I deny these allegations, especially the absurd claim that I have political ambitions for my son," said PM Lee.

He did not name his son in the statement, but his younger siblings had publicly accused him and his wife Ho Ching of using Mr Lee Kuan Yew's legacy for their own political purposes - and that included harbouring political ambitions for Mr Li.

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PM Lee has a daughter Li Xiuqi and a son Li Yipeng from his first marriage. He married Ms Ho in 1985 and they have two sons, Mr Li Hongyi and Mr Li Haoyi.

He had previously said in interviews that his children are not keen on entering politics.

 
 
 

In an interview with a Chinese television station in Beijing in November 2014, PM Lee said none of his children was interested in politics.

"They have to find their own path in life," he said when asked whether he was steering them towards politics. "They have to choose, because a child's personality and aptitude have to be taken into consideration."

In a 2012 interview at the World Economic Forum, CNN's Fareed Zakaria asked PM Lee if his children would enter politics.

PM Lee replied: "They have to decide for themselves. At this point in time, the odds are not on it. They have so many opportunities - internships, job offers, the world is their oyster."

Mr Li Hongyi is in the public service. The 30-year-old is deputy director of the Government Digital Services Data Science Division of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore, a statutory board under the Prime Minister's Office.

He studied at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Raffles Junior College.

In 2006, he won the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science and received a Public Service Commission Overseas Merit Scholarship, a top government scholarship, to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.

After graduating from MIT, he worked in Google for two years from 2011 to 2013, before returning to serve a six-year bond, according to his LinkedIn profile.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'No political ambitions for my son, says PM Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe