Singapore PM’s siblings offer truce in family feud
The siblings of Singapore’s prime minister offered a truce on Thursday in an explosive family feud over the legacy of their late father, founding leader Lee Kuan Yew, saying they wanted to settle the matter privately.
The tightly-controlled city-state has been captivated by the row over the future of the family bungalow, which has played out in a bitter back and forth across social media since it erupted last month.
“For now, we will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that we and our father’s wish are not attacked or misrepresented,” said Lee Hsien Yang, 60, and Lee Wei Ling, 62, in a joint statement.
The patriarch, who ruled Singapore for three decades, wanted the house destroyed after he passed away to prevent the creation of a personality cult.
But prime minister Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings say their brother is attempting to block the house’s demolition to capitalise on their father’s legacy for his own political agenda, including grooming his own son as a future leader.
The unprecedented row has shocked a tightly-controlled nation unused to divisions among the elite, with the 65-year-old prime minister telling parliament this week it was “not a soap opera” and calling for private resolution.
“We look forward to talking without the involvement of lawyers or government agencies,” the siblings said in their statement.
The elder Lee was widely revered for having transformed Singapore into one of the world’s wealthiest societies, but has also been criticised for authoritarian tendencies.
In his speech to parliament on Monday – part of a two-day debate over the dispute – the prime minister said the allegations against him were “entirely baseless” and denied abuse of power and nepotism.
On Thursday, his brother and sister also released a document summing up what they say is the evidence against the leader, and repeated their central claim he was trying to block the destruction of the century-old bungalow.
“[Lee Kuan Yew] wanted to demolish the house because he knew it was the right thing for Singapore. He did not want Singaporeans to create a cult around him,” they said.