<Statement by Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang>
Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, the younger children of Singapore’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, are disturbed by the character, conduct, motives and leadership of their brother, Lee Hsien Loong, and the role of his wife, Ho Ching. Wei Ling and Hsien Yang have stated that they feel extremely sad that they are pushed to this position. Lee Kuan Yew served as Singapore’s prime minister from 1959 to 1990. Lee Hsien Loong is Singapore’s current prime minister. Wei Ling and Hsien Yang are also the executors and trustees of Lee Kuan Yew’s estate; Hsien Loong was removed in 2011.
Wei Ling and Hsien Yang state:
“We have seen a completely different face to our brother Hsien Loong, one that deeply troubles us. 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 to drive his personal agenda. We are concerned that the system has few checks and balances to prevent the abuse of government. We feel big brother omnipresent. We fear the use of the organs of state against us and Hsien Yang’s wife, Suet Fern.”
If Hsien Loong is prepared to act thus against his younger sister and brother, both contributing members of Singapore’s establishment, to advance his personal agenda, Wei Ling and Hsien Yang worry for Singapore. The situation is such that Hsien Yang feels compelled to leave Singapore:
“It is with a very heavy heart that I will leave Singapore for the foreseeable future. This is the country that my father, Lee Kuan Yew, loved and built. It has been home for my entire life. Singapore is and remains my country. I have no desire to leave. Hsien Loong is the only reason for my departure.”
Wei Ling and Hsien Yang question whether able leaders with independent political legitimacy will be side-lined to ensure Hsien Loong’s grip on power remains unchallenged.
Wei Ling and Hsien Yang were at pains to state that they are by no means criticizing the Government of Singapore. They see many upright leaders of quality and integrity throughout the public service who are constrained by Hsien Loong’s misuse of power at the very top.
Since Lee Kuan Yew’s death in March 2015, there have 2 been changes in Singapore that do not reflect what Lee Kuan Yew stood for. Wei Ling and Hsien Yang state:
“Nobody ever doubted that Lee Kuan Yew always held the best interests of Singapore and Singaporeans at heart. He was authentic and spoke his mind. The same cannot be said for our brother, Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching. We believe, unfortunately, that Hsien Loong is driven by a desire for power and personal popularity. His popularity is inextricably linked to Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy. His political power is drawn from his being Lee Kuan Yew’s son. We have observed that
Hsien Loong and Ho Ching want to milk Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy for their own political purposes. We also believe, based on our interactions, that they harbour political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi.”
Lee Kuan Yew made clear in public and private that he wished that his home at 38 Oxley Road be demolished upon his passing. In his last will and testament of 17 December 2013, he again reiterated his wish and directed his three children to ensure that it be fulfilled. Indeed, he also made clear that even if the house were to be gazetted by the Singapore government as a monument against his wishes then it should only be open to his children and their descendants. Hsien Loong and his wife,
Ho Ching, have opposed Lee Kuan Yew’s wish to demolish his house, even when Lee Kuan Yew was alive. Hsien Loong’s political power is related to being Lee Kuan Yew’s son and thus he has every incentive to preserve Lee Kuan Yew’s house to inherit his credibility. Wei Ling and Hsien Yang state with much sadness:
“We are private citizens with no political ambitions. We have nothing to gain from the demolition of 38 Oxley Road, other than the knowledge that we have honoured our father’s last wish. Hsien Loong has everything to gain from preserving 38 Oxley Road – he need only ignore his father’s will and values.”
“The values of Lee Kuan Yew are being eroded by his own son. Our father placed our country and his people first, not his personal popularity or private agendas. We are very sad that we have been pushed to this. We feel hugely uncomfortable and closely monitored in our own country. We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.”