SINGAPORE — Lee Hsien Yang has joined Progress Singapore Party (PSP), but it is unclear if he will be contesting in the General Election this year.
The youngest child of Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was at a breakfast meeting with opposition leader Dr Tan Cheng Bock at Tiong Bahru Market on Wednesday morning (24 June).
“I joined the party because I think that Dr Tan is committed to doing the right thing for Singapore and Singaporeans,” Lee told reporters.
“He loves the country and he has brought together a group of people who share his vision, which I believe will build a better Singapore. PSP has an approach which will emphasise compassion.”
When asked by reporters if he was trying to send a message by having his announcement at Tiong Bahru Market, which is in Tanjong Pagar GRC where his father was a Member of Parliament for 60 years, Lee said, “I’m here to have breakfast. The wanton noodle was very good.”
Lee’s presence is strong indication of PSP support: Tan
Tan said that Lee joined PSP about three months ago, but things were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also declined to reveal if Lee was running for GE.
“You’ll find out when he is ready. But there are many other ways he can contribute to the party. I think his very presence is a strong indication of the support for PSP already,” he said.
“He's not just an ordinary person. His father is the founder of Singapore, so that's very important. And the fact that he decided to join us is a clear indication that the current (government) didn't follow what his dad wanted.”
When asked by Yahoo News Singapore why Lee is joining the party, Tan quipped, “Because he likes us.”
Lee, 62, first stated his full support for PSP in a Facebook post on 28 July last year, days after Dr Tan launched his party.
Last year, he helped fund prominent civil activists involved in court cases. These include activist Jolovan Wham’s appeal against a contempt of court conviction and blogger Leong Sze Hian, who filed a counterclaim against PM Lee in the latter’s defamation suit.
Since 2017, he and his older sister Wei Ling have been embroiled in a long-running public spat with PM Lee over the fate of their old family home at 38 Oxley Road and the last wishes of their late father.
On Tuesday, it was announced that nomination day would be on 30 June. Parties running for the elections will be campaigning then and stop for a single cooling-off day before Singaporeans head to the polls on 10 July.
Tan criticises calling of GE during COVID-19
Lee said that there are several issues he is interested in.
“We have issues of income inequality, issues of poverty, issues of governance and transparency, issues around housing,” he said. “There are many issues that are alive and different people have different views. I think many things need to be dealt with.”
During the breakfast meeting, Tan also criticised the government’s decision to call the GE amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that it’s a “very irresponsible act”.
“This election shouldn't have been called. You have to think of the people first,” the 80-year-old said. “The government talks about the Merdeka Generation... On the one hand, you reward them and you praise them. On the other hand, you are pushing them and exposing all these people (to the coronavirus). It is very dangerous everywhere, so it is a very irresponsible act by the government.”
On Tuesday night, the Reform Party (RP) stated that, after discussions with Tan and PSP assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, it will not contest in West Coast group representation constituency (GRC) to avoid a three-way contest with PSP there.
Instead, RP will be contesting in the Ang Mo Kio GRC, together with Yio Chu Kang and Radin Mas single-member constituencies.
“I thank RP for not contesting in West Coast GRC,” Tan said. “Frankly speaking, we’re all on good terms, and it was not difficult to iron out (differences).”
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