Oxley Road: Put an end to dispute by settling the matter in court, says Low Thia Khiang

Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang said the Lee family saga is damaging the Singapore brand.
Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang speaks during Parliament on July 3, 2017.
Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang speaks during Parliament on July 3, 2017.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB

SINGAPORE - The running dispute involving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings over their late father's house should be settled in court, and not be allowed to play out over social media, said Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC) on Monday (July 3).

Speaking in Parliament during a debate on the issue, he urged the Government to take steps to resolve the issue saying: "This is not (a) Korean drama show... end this saga now."

He was responding to ministerial statements made by PM Lee and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in Parliament.

PM Lee had earlier made a statement addressing allegations of abuse of power made against him by his siblings, and had said he preferred not to take legal action. 

But Mr Low said: "The Prime Minister is faced with serious allegations, these need to be addressed in the proper manner, such matters cannot be 'you say, I say', it is a hallmark of the People's Action Party Government to get to the bottom of the matter in court."

He added that not doing so risked giving the impression that the Government was "afraid of what the Lee siblings will say or reveal".

 
 
 

Noting that PM Lee and the Government had taken people to court in the past, he said: "There is no reason why this time it should be different because it comes from the Lee family, and in fact the allegations are much more serious."

Mr Low, the first WP MP to speak on the issue, said his party was concerned about how the dispute would affect Singapore.

That it had played out on social media had hurt Singapore's reputation, and even caused countries that once had high regard for Singapore to "laugh at us", he said.

He added that the allegations of misuse of power had shaken international confidence in Singapore.

Admonishing the Government as well as the two Lee siblings - Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang - he said both sides had handled the matter badly in what he termed a "Facebook brawl".

On one hand, the siblings had waged a continuous media campaign to keep Singapore in suspense and had not substantiated their serious allegations, he said.

On the other hand, the Government should have been more dignified and not engage them on social media, he added.

Mr Low also said that the issue had caused the line between what is public and private to be blurred and "crossed too many times".

He added: "We need to make it a bright red line."

He also touched on the issue of conflict of interest, asking PM Lee to clarify the role of Law Minister K. Shanmugam in the matter, given that he was a personal friend of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Dr Lee Wei Ling, and is also part of the ministerial committee on the house.

"Is there not a conflict of interest there?" asked Mr Low.

 

Next, he asked PM Lee to clarify the role of Attorney-General (A-G) Lucien Wong in the matter of the house.

He pointed out that Mr Wong was PM Lee's personal lawyer and had represented him on issues to do with the house, before he was appointed A-G in January this year.

Being in this position meant that the Government would now be consulting him on legal issues to do with the house, Mr Low said.

 

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