“Little did I expect… I would be unable to fulfil the role which my father had hoped I would,” says Singapore’s prime minister in reference to Mr Lee Kuan Yew telling him to take care of his younger brother and sister.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers his closing statement in Parliament on the Oxley Road dispute between him and his siblings.
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (July 4) welled up with emotion in Parliament as he expressed regret over a family spat which has gripped the nation in recent weeks.
Closing out the second day of a debate over allegations of PM Lee misusing his power while handling the Lees’ 38 Oxley Road family home, the eldest son of Singapore’s founding statesman Lee Kuan Yew teared up as he recalled events during the national week of mourning for his father’s passing in 2015.
“For me, the most difficult and emotional moment in that whole week came when I was reading the eulogy at the state funeral service,” said PM Lee.
“When I recounted how when I was about 13, my father had told me: ‘If anything happens to me, please take care of your mother, and your younger sister and brother’.”
“I thought we had a happy family… Little did I expect that after my parents died, these tensions would erupt, with such grievous consequences.”
The prime minister added: “And after so many years, I would be unable to fulfil the role which my father had hoped I would.”
He thanked members who had earlier sent well-wishes for reconciliation within the family, stating: “I, too, would like to think this is possible. It will be a difficult and a long road. But I hope that one day, some rapprochement may be possible.”
“I hope that one day, these passions will subside, and we can begin to reconcile,” said PM Lee of his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang and sister Lee Wei Ling.
“At the very least, I hope that my siblings will not visit their resentments and grievances with one generation upon the next generation. And further, that they do not transmit their enmities and feuds to our children.”
But he noted his surprise at Members questioning his decision to raise the issue in Parliament.
“I agree that we should not fight private disputes in Parliament, nor have we done so,” he said. “But grave accusations of abuse of power have been made against me as PM and the Government. Doubts have been cast on our Government and leadership.”
“How can my Ministers and I not address them in Parliament? Imagine the scandal if MPs filed questions on these accusations, and the Government replied that Parliament is not the place to discuss the matter.”
Importantly, said PM Lee, the two days of debates have showed that he and Government acted properly and with due process.
“No MPs have produced or alleged any additional facts or charges, or substantiated any of the allegations,” he stated. “People can see that there has been no abuse of power, by me or my Government.”