Singapore GE2020: Lee Hsien Yang joins Progress Singapore Party

Lee Hsien Yang was officially announced to be a member of Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party during a breakfast meeting at Tiong Bahru Market on the first day after the Writ of Election was issued.
Progress Singapore Party secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock (right) presenting Mr Lee Hsien Yang with the membership card yesterday at a breakfast meeting at Tiong Bahru Market, which is located in Tanjong Pagar GRC. The constituency, which was a stron
Progress Singapore Party secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock (right) presenting Mr Lee Hsien Yang with the membership card yesterday at a breakfast meeting at Tiong Bahru Market, which is located in Tanjong Pagar GRC. The constituency, which was a stronghold of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, is one of nine that the PSP has said it will be contesting.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Mr Lee Hsien Yang, estranged brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has joined Dr Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party (PSP), the party announced yesterday.

At a breakfast meeting at Tiong Bahru Market, Dr Tan presented Mr Lee Hsien Yang with a membership card.

Dr Tan said that Mr Lee has been a member "for quite some time", but due to the Covid-19 situation, they were unable to have a proper membership card presentation ceremony.

"This morning, I have great pleasure in giving this Progress Singapore Party membership card to Lee Hsien Yang, who joined us quite some time ago."

Mr Lee turned up at 8.30am at the market with Dr Tan and a group of PSP members, all of them wearing the party's red-and-white polo T-shirt.

The Straits Times had reported earlier yesterday that Mr Lee had joined the party, but party sources said he was unlikely to be fielded as a candidate at the election.

Asked if he would be standing for election, Mr Lee replied: "When I'm ready to disclose that, you will find out."

On why he joined the party, he said: "I joined the party because I think that Dr Tan is committed to doing the right thing for Singapore and Singaporeans and he loves the country. And he has brought together a group of people who share his vision, and it is a vision which I believe will build a better Singapore."

Dr Tan was similarly coy about whether Mr Lee would contest the polls: "I'm not confirming... Don't worry. In politics, we know when to make our move. Timing is important."

He noted that there were many ways Mr Lee could contribute to the party: "He is not just an ordinary person. His father is the founder of Singapore, you know, so that's very important. And the fact (that) he has decided to join us is a clear indication that the current (Government) didn't follow what his dad wanted."

The market where Dr Tan and Mr Lee met is located within Tanjong Pagar GRC, a stronghold of his late father, Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. It is also one of nine constituencies the PSP has said it will be contesting in this election.

IT'S NOT TIME TO TELL

I'm not confirming... Don't worry. In politics, we know when to make our move. Timing is important.

DR TAN CHENG BOCK, on whether Mr Lee Hsien Yang would contest the polls.

Later in the evening, Mr Lee appeared in a brief online broadcast, appealing to Singaporeans to volunteer with the PSP and to donate generously.

He said: "The PAP has lost its way. My sister Wei Ling shares this view too. In fact, she said so in a Facebook post in August 2016 before Oxleygate...

"It's possible to be loyal Singaporeans, to be proud of what has been accomplished in the past, to recite with pride 'we the citizens of Singapore', to love Singapore and yet to not vote PAP."

He has been embroiled in a long-running feud with PM Lee over the fate of their father's house in Oxley Road.

Mr Lee's emergence comes a day after Parliament was dissolved and the Writ of Election was issued. Nomination Day is on June 30 and Polling Day on July 10.

 
 
 

Dr Tan said yesterday that he thought the timing of the election was "irresponsible" and potentially puts a lot of the elderly in a dangerous situation.

"The signs are there, it is so clear. And if they don't want to heed the signs, then the price they have to pay, as I said before, they might win this battle but they are going to lose the war."

He has said on multiple occasions that he and Mr Lee Hsien Yang are good friends and that if Mr Lee wants to join PSP, it would have to be on the terms of the party.

The duo have been spotted before on several occasions having breakfast together, once at a hawker centre in the Prime Minister's ward.

In July last year, Mr Lee said on Facebook: "I wholeheartedly support the principles and values of the Progress Singapore Party."

• Additional reporting by Kok Yufeng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2020, with the headline 'Lee Hsien Yang joins Progress Singapore Party'. Print Edition | Subscribe