Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday (10 April) that he was “deeply saddened” by his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling’s claim that “I have abused my power to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing in order to establish a dynasty”.
Writing in a Facebook post, PM Lee - the son of late former premier Lee Kuan Yew and elder brother of Dr Lee - was responding to his sister’s post earlier that day, and said that her accusations were “completely untrue”.
Dr Lee, a senior advisor at the National Neuroscience Institute, had re-posted a chain of e-mail exchanges between herself and The Straits Times editor Ivan Fernandez concerning the newspaper’s decision not to run her commentary on the “hero worship” that she had witnessed around the first anniversary of Lee Kuan Yew’s passing.
A portion of PM Lee’s response. (Source: Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page)
Amid the exchange she wrote:
“I and HL are at odds on a matter of principle. HL has no qualms abusing his power to hv a commemoration just one year after LKY died, ‘least we forget’. Let’s be real, last year’s event was so vivid, no one will forget it in one yr. But if the power that be wants to establish a dynasty, LKY’s daughter will not allow LKY’s name to be sullied by a dishonorable son.”
The portion of Dr Lee Facebook post, which PM Lee responded to. The post has since been taken down. (Source: Lee Wei Ling’s Facebook page)
Dr Lee’s publicly visible comments, posted at around 12.30pm, were quick to gain online traction but her post was later taken down. PM Lee responded to Dr Lee’s comments about five hours later.
“The first anniversary of a person’s passing is a significant moment to remember him and reflect on what he meant to us,” he said, referring to his father, who died on 23 March 2015.
“The Cabinet recognised the strong desire of many Singaporeans to show their respect for Mr Lee… We reviewed the events and observances that different groups had planned, and agreed that they were generally appropriate.”
Rebutting the 61-year-old Dr Lee’s comment about his attempt to establish a dynasty, PM Lee, 63, said: “The idea that I should wish to establish a dynasty makes even less sense. Meritocracy is a fundamental value of our society and neither I, the PAP, nor Singapore public will tolerate any such attempt.