No need for another Lee: Singapore PM's brother won't contest election

Fathin Ungku, Aradhana Aravindan and Tom Westbrook
Lee Hsien Yang and Tan Cheng Bock of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) have their breakfast before a walkabout ahead of the general election in Singapore

By Fathin Ungku, Aradhana Aravindan and Tom Westbrook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Singapore prime minister's estranged brother said on Tuesday he will not contest the July 10 election as the city-state "does not need another Lee".

Lee Hsien Yang, who has been embroiled in a bitter family dispute with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, last week joined the opposition to the party their father, Lee Kuan Yew, led through the city-state's independence and rise as a nation.

He has made multiple criticisms of the government in recent weeks, including its decision to hold the vote during the coronavirus pandemic, but his emergence was seen as unlikely to challenge the People's Action Party's tight grip on power.

"I have chosen not to stand for political office because I believe Singapore does not need another Lee," Lee Hsien Yang said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, the deadline for candidates to register their intent to stand in the election.

Lee Hsien Yang was earlier seen with members of his new Progress Singapore Party near the nomination centre for a seat which his father held for 60 years until his death in 2015.

PSP chief Tan Cheng Bock told media on Tuesday Lee Hsien Yang did not want voters to think the family dispute was his motivation for entering politics.

Prime Minister Lee, 68, declined to comment on his brother on Tuesday and has previously said the election is not about family disputes.

The PAP - which has ruled unbroken since independence in 1965 currently holds all but six of parliament's 89 seats and has never seen its vote drop below 60%.

The only opposition party with seats in parliament - the Workers' Party - has warned they face a potential wipe-out in the upcoming election where physical campaigning has been severely restricted by virus safeguards.

Lee Hsien Yang, 62, was a senior business executive who had largely stayed out of the public eye before his father's death in 2015 sparked a feud with his brother over their family home.

"It would have been the most natural thing for me to have entered political office. But political leadership in Singapore needs to be much more than about one family or one man," Lee Hsien Yang said in his Facebook post.


(Reporting by Fathin Ungku, Aradhana Aravindan, Tom Westbrook; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan)