For all the years the Opposition have tried to justify their accusations of nepotism and corruption of the ruling party, none have delivered a blow like the recent allegations from PM Lee Hsien Loong’s own siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.
Singaporeans are understandably, up to this day, divided. This is uncharted territory.
With a recent statement released on June 19th, our Prime Minister concurs that “Singaporeans are disturbed and confused”. Very apt given that this case has several layers of dispute, featuring distinct credible figures making statements shrouded behind judicial wordplay.
I’m no legal eagle, but here’s a few personal observations.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT A HOUSE
When the two younger siblings did a night character assassination via this statement on June 14th, the accusation was simple – they believed that their eldest brother was guilty of nepotism and corruption.
They brought up the issue of their father’s property at 38 Oxley Road for contention, but it really was just a case example that was close to home (sorry).
Since the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, on 23 March 2015, we have felt threatened by Hsien Loong’s misuse of his position and influence over the Singapore government and its agencies to drive his personal agenda. We are concerned that the system has few checks and balances to prevent the abuse of government.
– from the statement “WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO LEE KUAN YEW’S VALUES?”
The strangest thing is the number of citizens and pundits who have decried the acts of the siblings, telling them to keep their family property dispute private.
If this were just about honoring the last will of Father Lee, I’d agree. But with two recent cases of the Presidential perimeters and Contempt Bill passed in record time in the last year alone, one has to wonder if some power shifts have grown out of line. This accusation is certainly timely.
Maybe it’s the local culture of sweeping things under the rug. But it starts to read careless and simple-minded when we justify it with blind loyalty or sentimentalism – especially when we’ve run out of rug.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT EITHER SIDE
When taken out of party, the accusation is pretty dire. The shot was fired from within the family (including one from nephew Li Sheng Wu). This makes the action either incredibly petty, or incredibly lethal. It all depends on the truth.
So shouldn’t we spare some time and effort to look into this?
Some locals are protesting for the matter to be dealt with quickly (and this is only Day 6), suggesting that there are bigger and more important matters at hand (for the nation they nobly toot). I’m not sure if they meant the Ofo bike abuse or the tissue paper culture, but snarkiness aside, I’m pretty sure, judging by the silence from almost every other minister thus far, business is pretty much as-per-usual.
Trust me, it’s worth looking into. And we’ll sleep the better for it.
SO WHY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
While many have expressed disapproval at the way this saga is playing out via a perceived trivial platform, the truth is – it couldn’t have happened any other way.
The way the process has unfolded has reached you only because it was on social media. If you felt the mainstream media should have been entrusted, then you only have to look at the papers today to see that the news on this, is about as convincing as the reports on MRT satisfaction levels.
The two younger Lee siblings knew that this was the only uncompromised, equal playing field.
WHICH BRINGS US TO
Already the pitching arms are activated on both sides. I’ve seen memes comparing the PM’s sacrifices to the sibling’s absent nation-building track record, Dr Lee’s First they came excerpt from Niemoller, and more than a few comments belittling the siblings’ victim mentality when compared to the those in Operation Cold Store.
Again, we’re losing focus. We have an accusation, let’s find out what’s going on and deal with the less necessary later.
I believe the PM has done the right thing by arranging a parliamentary hearing.
As of today June 19th, he has apologised for the recent dispute and lifted the party whip for this meeting, in the hopes 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”.
This move is as masterful as it is responsible. The full statement video is below:
One thing’s for sure, it’ll be a hell of a Cabinet meeting.
P.S. Please check on me occasionally. If I don’t pick up my phone – HELP!