The People’s Action Party may be seen as exercising double standards if Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong does not sue his siblings over their allegations of abuse of power, said Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang.
“By using family, does this not also show that blood is thicker than water? Own siblings cannot sue… but political opponents and critics, sue until your pants drop,” said the Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament on Tuesday (4 July).
“I wonder whether the PM is not worrying that the PAP as a ruling party will be seen as (practising) double standards,” he added.
Low was speaking on the second day of the Parliamentary session called by PM Lee in response to his younger siblings’ Hsien Yang and Wei Ling’s allegations that he had abused his power and pursued a personal agenda with regard to their former family home at 38 Oxley Road.
He was responding to Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong’s challenge to clarify his and the Workers’ Party’s position on the allegations made by PM Lee’s younger siblings. “I invite Low Thia Khiang and the other WP MPs… to also state their position clearly on PM’s and the government’s integrity,” said Goh.
In response, Low pointed out that during the 1997 General Election, Goh, who was PM at the time, sued Workers’ Party candidate Tang Liang Hong simply for making a police report against him.
“But now these are allegations much more serious than that. And more importantly, we are talking about upholding the legacy of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, that the nation, the law (is) above family, above individual,” said Low.
Goh responded huffily, “The response by Low Thia Khiang is not unexpected… This is what you call political sophistry. And as for Tang Liang Hong, he’s not my brother.”
‘Ownself defend ownself’
Low also addressed Goh’s allusion to the Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) case of 1996, when the pre-launch purchase of condominium units by Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong surfaced. Then-PM Goh ordered an investigation into these purchases, amid allegations that the duo had benefitted improperly from their positions.
Both Lees delivered ministerial statements in Parliament on the matter and were later cleared of wrongdoing. Goh noted that during the Parliament sitting in 1996, Low had stated his position on the matter unambiguously.
In response, Low noted that circumstances at the time were different. Neither Lee was Prime Minister then, while HPL founder Ong Beng issued a public statement to clear the air. This time round, said Low, it was the Prime Minister and the PAP Secretary-General who was being accused.
“This episode, there’s no investigation done, it’s ownself defend ownself in Parliament with the PAP MPs,” said Low.
-Additional reporting by Hannah Teoh and Wan Ting Koh