Sin­ga­pore PM ac­cused of ly­ing in par­lia­ment The lat­est in­stall­ment of an ex­plo­sive fam­ily feud

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The brother of Sin­ga­pore’s prime min­is­ter yes­ter­day ac­cused him of ly­ing in par­lia­ment about the fi­nal wishes of their fa­ther, revered found­ing leader Lee Kuan Yew, the lat­est in­stall­ment of an ex­plo­sive fam­ily feud. Lee Hsien Yang ac­cused Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong, 65, of falsely telling par­lia­ment Mon­day that their fa­ther had been open to re­con­sid­er­ing plans to de­mol­ish a cen­tury-old fam­ily bun­ga­low.

The house is at the cen­tre of a po­lit­i­cal drama that has sim­mered since the 2015 death of the el­der Lee, and which has played out in pub­lic with the PM and his sib­lings ex­chang­ing barbs on so­cial me­dia, shock­ing a tightly con­trolled na­tion un­used to di­vi­sions among the elite. The pa­tri­arch had wanted the bun­ga­low de­stroyed af­ter he passed away to pre­vent the cre­ation of a per­son­al­ity cult. But the prime min­is­ter’s sib­lings say their brother is at­tempt­ing to block the house’s de­mo­li­tion to cap­i­tal­ize on their fa­ther’s legacy for his own po­lit­i­cal agenda, in­clud­ing groom­ing his own son as a fu­ture leader.

“(Lee Hsien Loong) has made con­vo­luted, but ul­ti­mately false, claims about Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes,” the 60-year-old said in a Face­book post Tues­day, which was shared by his sis­ter Wei Ling, 62. The dis­pute burst into the open last month when the PM’s brother and sis­ter launched at­tacks on Face­book, which quickly went vi­ral. In Mon­day’s speech, the PM said that de­spite a “de­mo­li­tion clause” gov­ern­ing the house in his fi­nal will, his fa­ther was “pre­pared to con­sider al­ter­na­tives”, and had even ap­proved ren­o­va­tion plans should the gov­ern­ment de­cide against tear­ing down the build­ing.

How­ever Hsien Yang said that his fa­ther had been mis­led by the prime min­is­ter into agree­ing to the ren­o­va­tion, with the el­der Lee made to be­lieve the house had been listed as a na­tional mon­u­ment so could not be torn down-a claim of which the found­ing leader’s lawyer had found no ev­i­dence. Lee Kuan Yew, the coun­try’s au­thor­i­tar­ian first prime min­is­ter, ruled Sin­ga­pore from 1959 to 1990. His death at age 91 sparked a mas­sive out­pour­ing of grief among Sin­ga­pore­ans, many of whom credit the fam­ily pa­tri­arch with turn­ing Sin­ga­pore from a poor for­mer Bri­tish colony into one of the world’s wealth­i­est and most sta­ble so­ci­eties. The de­bate in par­lia­ment con­tin­ued for a sec­ond day yes­ter­day. —AFP

SIN­GA­PORE: Sin­ga­pore’s Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong de­liv­ers a speech in Par­lia­ment in Sin­ga­pore. — AP

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