Tearful PM Lee recounts father’s request for him to take care of siblings

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking in Parliament on 4 July 2017. Photo: TV screen shot
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking in Parliament on 4 July 2017. Photo: TV screen shot

A visibly emotional Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament on Tuesday (4 July) that he hoped for reconciliation within his family amid the ongoing feud with his siblings but said it will be “a difficult and long road”.

On the second day of parliamentary debate on the allegations of abuse of power arising from the Lee family feud, PM Lee thanked Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong and Punggol East SMC MP Charles Chong for their wishes for reconciliation within the Lee family.

PM Lee said he hoped that “one day, some rapprochement (with his siblings Wei Ling and Hsien Yang) may be possible.”

He also told the House that the week of national mourning after his father and Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, passed away on 23 March 2015, was an “emotional” one for Singaporeans, his family and him.

The “most difficult and emotional moment” for him in that week was when he read the eulogy at the state funeral service.

With his voice cracking and eyes reddening, PM Lee said it happened “when I recounted how when I was about 13, my father had told me: ‘If anything happens to me, please take care of your mother, and your younger sister and brother.’”

The late Lee’s comments to his eldest son came against the background of Singapore being a part of Malaysia and high political tensions. His life was also in danger then but he did not tell his son, PM Lee revealed.

His father brought up the family but PM Lee said he did not expect that after his parents died, “these tensions would erupt with such grievous consequences and after so many years, I would be unable to fulfil the role which my father had hoped I would.”

Expressing hope that the passions will subside and the three siblings can begin to reconcile, PM Lee said, “At the very least, I hope that my siblings will not visit their resentments and grievances with one generation onto the next generation.

“And further, that they do not transmit their enmities and feuds to our children.”

– additional reporting by Vernon Lee

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