Date
28 July 2017
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at a special sitting of parliament on Monday. Credit: Parliament House of Singapore/Reuters
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at a special sitting of parliament on Monday. Credit: Parliament House of Singapore/Reuters

Singapore PM denies abuse of power in family feud

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong rejected allegations by his siblings that he abused state powers in a bitter family feud over the last wishes of their late father, Lee Kuan Yew.

Speaking to lawmakers in parliament Monday, Lee apologized for the public spat and the damage it has done to Singapore’s image, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The prime minister expressed hope of resolving the dispute, but said he will not sue his brother and sister over allegations of abuse of power in a row over their father’s house.

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding premier who died in 2015, had expressed a wish that his house be demolished after his passing to prevent it from engendering a personality cult.

His two youngest children last month accused their elder brother—the current prime minister—of misusing state powers to frustrate their father’s wishes.

These allegations “are entirely baseless,” Prime Minister Lee told lawmakers.

“Today I stand here before you to answer your questions, clear any doubts, and show you that you have every reason to maintain your trust in me and my government.”

Lee Kuan Yew first moved into his Oxley Road home at the end of World War II and held weekly political discussions there that led to the 1954 founding of the People’s Action Party, which took power five years later when Singapore became self-governing.

All three children have publicly said they want to honor Lee Kuan Yew’s desires, though Prime Minister Lee and his siblings have accused each other of misrepresenting their father’s wishes.

Lee Kuan Yew’s will stated his wish to tear down the house, but also stated that if changes to laws and regulations prevent his house from being demolished, then access to the premises should be granted only to his children, as well as their family members and descendants, the Journal noted.

Prime Minister Lee said in parliament Monday that his siblings seem to assert that their father wanted nothing short of demolition of the house, a claim that the siblings have denied.

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