The LKY family debacle: Following the fight.

Note: The table will be continuously updated.

Instead of working, here I am chronicling the recent political development in Singapore: The contest against the second-generation political elites. Claims of mistrust and abuse, allegations of greed. Obviously things are just beginning, but it’ll be good to get a sense of how far we’ve come. Well, actually I am more interested in how ‘distractionary claims’ are thrown about. Good ol’ mud slinging. But also, sifting through the mud can help us to identify the actual issue at hand.

Prelude: Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore’s long-time Prime Minister. Out of his three kids, the eldest became the current Prime Minister, while the other two are not in politics. The elder Lee died in 2015. Later the same year, a general election was held. Although the ruling party was widely expected to win, the timing to garner sympathy votes really questioned the confidence of the ruling party. Now 2 years later, the 3 siblings are quarelling over the family home, said to be worth $24 million. But it’s not just about the house. It’s reprentative of the common resent at the authoritarian, strong-armed tactic of the ruling party that has continuously ruled Singapore for over half a century.

Then one fine day in June, the local internet exploded when the younger siblings said they have no confidence in the PM. Note that many critics have been made bankrupt or exiled for merely calling ‘nepotism’. So this claim by the younger siblings make for an interesting watch, because:

  • Will the PM sue/jail his own siblings?
  • What does this mean for critics against the state?

No one knows the answer. But for now, here’s the timeline of events:

Date

Red corner

1. Lee Hsian Yang, aka LHY, aka youngest bro

2. Lee Wei Ling, aka LWL, aka sister

Blue Corner

Lee Hsien Loong, aka PM of Singapore, aka eldest bro

 

Extras
13-14 June – Follow Lee Kuan Yew’s (LKY, father, ex-PM) will, demolish the Oxley house.

– PM is abusing power to block the will.

– You want your son to become PM ah? (link)

– I’m on holiday. Wait till I come back.

– And this is family issue. Don’t make public. (link)

14-15 June – What family issue? You have secret ministerial committees to decide what to do with the house. No fair. Abuse of power. (link) – Why you make LKY change will? I am suspicious.

– Also bro, I think your lawyer wife is kaypoh. I am suspicious.

– Sis, I think sister-in-law is making us fight. You should be suspicious. (link)

15-16 June – LKY can change his will as he liked. Up to him lah. He change many times also, must still follow final will. (link)

– LKY wanted wife’s lawyer company to come confirm the will. Don’t anyhow say she kaypoh. (link)

– You said to public LKY wanted to demolish the house. But then you say he wanted to keep it. So which one? (link)

– LKY signed right under the part of the will that said he wanted it demolished. (link)

– Eh hallo, I think it’s the PM wife who is kaypoh. (link)

PM’s son: Guys I don’t want any part of this. I love America. Why would I want to go back to Singapore to become PM? (link)
16-17 June – Why your committee want to challenge the will? Just demolish the house lah. (link)

– Your personal lawyer that sent us the letter… How come he now the attorney general? (link)

Former PM: Move along, nothing to see. Just a family matter. (link)

Deputy PM: Nothing secret about committee. Just some ministers talking. Also we shared some advice with the family. (link)

17-18 June – Not a secret committee? We’ve been asking about that for a year, only now you tell us. (link)

– Eh, the law minister also in the committee. But he advised LKY on what to do. How can he us on how to demolish the house, and sit in a committe that wants to keep the house? Conflict of interest! (link 1, link 2)

Law Minister: No lah, even though I serve many people, I’m impartial. (link)

Former PM: Guys, please. Move along. Nothing to see. Just a family matter. (link)

19-20 June – Deputy PM, we don’t remember meeting you after you formed the committee. Also when we talked you always said it’s your personal view. (link)

– PM’s lawyers asked us for Deed of Gift (for some items in the house to be displayed for exhibition etc). Then he emailed again, saying that the PM already got it. These things are confidential. How did he get it? (link)

– Eh stoppit lah, you making me look bad. Ok fine I’ll tell the ministers to grill me in parliament. 3 July. Whip lifted. Happy? (link) Workers’ Party (the opposition): Good. We’ll ask these questions. (link)

Tan Cheng Bok, the president we don’t deserve: Parliament not the place for family matters. Go to court lah. (link)

22 June – Apparently PM got the Deed of Gift in his public capacity as PM, but use it for family issue. (link)

– According to the record, one day after LKY got into ICU, PM’s wife passed some of his belongings to the Heritage Board. She acted like she represents the PM’s Office, but she is not PM’s Office. (link)

 – PM’s wife: Hallo I was overseas at the time. You, on the other hand, went on vacation after he died, so I have to clear his things. Also, I told you what we’re giving away.  (link)

Heritage Board: Urmm sorry we got the belongings later, not the day after LKY got in ICU. Wrong date. Clerical error. (link)

Deputy PM: Ministerial committees are normal. And we think long term. (link)

23 June Read that first——–>

.

.

But you didn’t want it, did you? Come see email evidence. (link)

.

Then read this———>

Minister for National Development: The donation of LKY’s belongings came with weird conditions, e.g. we have to say he wants his house demolished. But we accepted it. (link)

<——Read that second

Sr. Minister of State, (pt. 1): Look guys, nothing is happening. Nothing is changing. The PM is still the good guy. (link)

24 June – PM wife, you are not the executor, so you shouldn’t meddle in handing over our father’s belongings. (link)

– Oi, stop getting your ministers to discredit the will. Fight me in court. (link)

Sr. Minister of State, (pt. 2): Final will said that house should be demolished. But final will is a mystery because no one knows who wrote it.  Also LHY your share increased in the last will. (Now senpai will notice me).  (link)
25 June – Stop rewriting the past. (link)
26 June Sr. Minister of State, (pt. 3): Just saying, house is worth $24m. Is that why you want house demolished now? (Senpai, I deserve a promotion!) (link)
27 June – LKY wanted the house demolished, so we want it demolished lah. (link)

– We ask you, why was the committee formed only in 2016? It’s only after we told you we want it demolished that it was formed. (link)

– Allegations not true. Wait till 3 July, I’ll address the parliament.
28-29 June – I repeat, the committee didn’t talk to us. (link)

– Even now your ministers already back your story. Later in parliament all wayang only. (link)

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Potong Pasir: Vote for PAP or no upgrading!

(Image credit)

Which, of course, is open secret to any Singaporean.

However, I’ve never thought that the government would allow the open secret to be a non-secret anymore. That’s what happened when they decided to publish a letter from a citizen in the English daily:

I MOVED into Potong Pasir estate two years ago. Contrary to Mr Tan Kam Weng’s perception (‘Things have changed in Potong Pasir – for the worse’; yesterday) of the decreasing standards of maintenance since its MP Chiam See Tong suffered a mild stroke, I find little evidence of any significant decline in the area that I am living in.

In my block, the lifts and surrounding areas are cleaned daily and the corridors are washed and fumigated every month with diligence. Recently, I sought help from the town council to remove a chained and abandoned bicycle, and it was promptly addressed. Compared with the other estates I have visited and resided in, Potong Pasir is relatively well-maintained though it lacks generous funding from the Government. The issues Mr Tan raised, like the one on playgrounds, are noticed in other housing estates too.

Potong Pasir estate may look old as much of its infrastructure needs to be overhauled. But this should not be associated with the estate’s management by Mr Chiam and his town council. This is because of the refusal of the ruling party to include the estate in upgrading projects as many of its constituents have been voting for the opposition.

Given the limitations, Mr Chiam and his team are doing a remarkable job.

By publishing the letter through PAP’s mouthpiece The Straits Times, the government effectively implied two things:

1. The open secret is no longer a secret, but is now a threat. They are openly admitting – by allowing the letter to be published – that opposition wards won’t get upgraded. In other words, vote PAP, or no upgrading for you.

Too bad for us tax-paying citizens, who pay the same rate whether you are in Potong Pasir or anywhere else in Singapore.

2. They have exhausted all other “more elegant” means and resorted to such cowardice. This is just one step away from some millionaire minister openly voicing out the threat.

Which also means that they are now desperate. That’s why they have to resort to blatant threats, afraid that the already-squeezed-high-and-dry Singaporeans somehow missed the government’s ever-so-nuanced (sarcasm intended) elaboration.

But you can’t blame them. The government got to be loud and clear this time, as this is their last cry before getting the boot.

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