Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday he was "deeply saddened" that his sister had accused him of abusing his power by commemorating their father's death all too soon in order to establish a dynasty. "The accusations are completely untrue," he said of Dr Lee Wei Ling's remarks she made public on her Facebook page yesterday.
He said the Cabinet had discussed how to mark Mr Lee's death, and decided it should be left to ground-up efforts. He also said he had advised that "groups should keep their observances in proportion, and focused on the future".
"The idea that I should wish to establish a dynasty makes even less sense. Meritocracy is a fundamental value of our society, and neither I, the PAP, nor the Singapore public would tolerate any such attempt," he said in his Facebook post.
Dr Lee had said in a series of online posts that her father, founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, would have cringed at the activities organised to remember him. He died on March 23 last year, aged 91.
Yesterday, she revealed she was "at odds on a matter of principle" with PM Lee, in a series of e-mails she published online. The e-mails to The Straits Times associate editor Ivan Fernandez were about a column she had contributed to ST on what she deemed "hero-worshipping" of her father. In one e-mail, she said PM Lee had "no qualms abusing his power to have a commemoration just one year" after Mr Lee died.
Various groups organised more than 100 activities last month to pay tribute to the late Mr Lee.
PM Lee said yesterday that the first anniversary of a person's passing was a significant moment "to remember him and reflect on what he meant to us", and "the more so with Mr Lee Kuan Yew".
"The Cabinet recognised the strong desire of many Singaporeans to show their respect for Mr Lee, and honour what he did for us," he said. The events "expressed the sincerely felt sentiments of Singaporeans, which my Cabinet colleagues and I deeply appreciate".