Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is back from his family holiday, and he’s primed and ready to fire on all cylinders against the allegations lobbed at his character — by his own siblings, no less.
The first thing he did was to apologise for all the hullaballoo and drama that’s been escalating agonizingly over Facebook in the past couple of days. “I deeply regret that this dispute has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the Government,” PM Lee says in his video.
The eldest son of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has officially placed what was once an internal family conflict over 38 Oxley Road into a national matter; a decision that’s clearly been thrusted upon him when his siblings went public with the tiff.
To put the matters to rest once and for all, he asserts that his siblings’ “baseless accusations” against the Government has to be openly dealt with and refuted — and what better way to do so than an open enquiry in Parliament? Come July 3, PM Lee will be refuting all the charges in Parliament, and even urged all the Members of Parliament (even those from the opposition) to question him.
“I hope that this full, public airing in Parliament will dispel any doubts that have been planted and strengthen confidence in our institutions and our system of government,” he says. We’re betting that he won’t be getting any hard questions at all from his subordinates in the People’s Action Party though.
“I want to assure all Singaporeans that this matter will not distract me and my Cabinet colleagues from our responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including the pressing economic and security challenges we face,” he states. About time too, considering that the silly drama has pretty much pushed aside other news and more crucial matters to the background.
Read his whole statement below.
Good evening. Over the last week, Singaporeans have been disturbed and confused by news of the private dispute between my siblings and me. I deeply regret that this dispute has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the Government.
As your Prime Minister, I apologise to you for this. And as the eldest of the siblings, it grieves me to think of the anguish that this would have caused our parents if they were still alive.
I had done everything possible to avoid this state of affairs. My father left the property at 38 Oxley Road to me as part of my equal share of his estate, but my siblings were not happy about this. I tried to deal with their unhappiness privately. I offered to transfer 38 Oxley Rd to my sister for a nominal $1. Unfortunately that offer failed. I then sold the house to my brother at a fair market valuation, and donated all my proceeds to charity.
I had hoped that this would satisfy them. There should be no reason for any further quarrel, since I no longer own the house and I do not take part in any Government decisions on the house. However, my siblings have decided to go out and make serious allegations publicly. For example, they say that I am using my position as Prime Minister to influence the Ministerial Committee chaired by DPM Teo Chee Hean. These allegations go beyond private and personal matters, and extend to the conduct of my office and the integrity of the Government.
Much as I would like to move on, and end a most unhappy experience for Singaporeans, these baseless accusations against the Government cannot be left unanswered. They must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted.
When Parliament sits on 3 July 2017, I will make a Ministerial Statement to refute the charges. All MPs will then have the opportunity to raise questions for themselves and their constituents. I have instructed that the PAP party whip be lifted. I urge all MPs, including the non-PAP MPs, to examine the issues thoroughly and question me and my Cabinet colleagues vigorously. I hope that this full, public airing in Parliament will dispel any doubts that have been planted and strengthen confidence in our institutions and our system of government.
I want to assure all Singaporeans that this matter will not distract me and my Cabinet colleagues from our responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including the pressing economic and security challenges we face.
As public servants, my Ministers and I will always protect the integrity of our institutions, and uphold the strict standards separating private affairs from our public duties. We are determined to repair the damage that has been done to Singapore. We will continue to lead our nation and serve you to the best of our ability.