SINGAPORE - A parliamentary debate on the dispute over the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road house has drawn interest from members of the public, with the public gallery of Parliament House packed on Monday (July 3).
Some 30 people had entered Parliament House by 11am, with more in the queue. Parliament House's public gallery can sit about 150 people.
Once that filled up, visitors were directed to the auditorium. By 12.40pm, there were about 70 visitors in the auditorium viewing a live telecast of the debate.
At about 1pm, chairs were put out for visitors waiting to enter the public gallery. Visitors could enter the packed gallery only if others left. About 10 people were seen queuing to enter the gallery, with some saying they preferred to enter the Parliament chamber to view the debate.
Parliament proceedings are open to the public.
Full-time national serviceman Chew Hui Jun, 20, who was in the queue, said it was his first time attending a sitting.
"I want to hear how (Prime Minister) Lee Hsien Loong addresses his siblings' claims, especially the allegations about using his political power for personal gain and Ms Ho Ching's influence over government decisions," he said, noting that the allegations against PM Lee are "quite serious". Ms Ho is PM Lee's wife.
"I hope he puts up a robust defence; that will be good for his political legitimacy and the legitimacy of the Government."
Flexi-adjunct educator Joseph Tan, 65, said the issue "affects all of us".
"PM Lee is the prime minister. There are some tensions as he has a role in the Lee family as the eldest sibling, and he has a role as prime minister of the country," said Mr Tan, who was queuing to enter the House.
"He must be seen to act in the interest of the country. In my view, he's been doing that very well so far."
PM Lee was seen arriving at Parliament at about 12.15pm. Ms Ho arrived slightly earlier in a separate car.
PM Lee and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will deliver ministerial statements on the Oxley Road dispute on Monday.
PM Lee will address the allegations of abuse of power that his siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, have made against him in their dispute over the fate of the Oxley Road home of founding prime minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, according to the Order Paper released by Parliament last Friday.
DPM Teo's statement will be on the ministerial committee formed to consider options for the house at 38, Oxley Road, a move the two younger Lees have attacked.
Monday's sitting is unusual as it will be a rare occasion when Parliament devotes a considerable amount of time discussing a matter with serious implications for the integrity of the Government.
It was sparked by a feud among the siblings that erupted into the public sphere on June 14, when PM Lee's siblings issued a statement accusing him of abusing his powers to prevent the demolition of the house for political gain.