Saying the feud with the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is beyond family, Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest son Lee Hsien Yang said his public feud is necessary to safeguard the national interest of the country.
“When a Prime Minister uses the government to grasp what he wants, this ceases to be a ‘private family matter’,” he said.
“We speak up at great personal cost because we care deeply for the Singapore our father built,” Lee Hsien Yang, 59, told the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in emailed comments.
The Prime Minister’s brother said he and his sister has nothing to gain from the public feud.
“We have nothing to gain from the demolition of 38 Oxley Road, other than the knowledge that we have honoured our father’s last wish.
“What could we gain from bringing this public, that would be worth political exile from our home? No personal benefit could ever balance those scales,” Lee said.
Lee Hsien Yang in the initial release said the harassment he was facing from “organs of state” for clashing with the premier on the matter was so grave that he had made plans to go into self-exile.
In his comments to the Post, he did not provide details on when he will leave Singapore or where he was planning to settle, but repeated the same concerns.
But he told SCMP he believed he has been spied on.
“We think that the government intends to make us feel unsafe,” Lee said.
He and his sister Lee Wei Ling, 62, last Wednesday shocked the country with public accusations that their eldest brother Lee Hsien Loong, the current premier, was abusing executive powers to force them to drop plans to demolish the family home.
The late Lee Kuan Yew – prime minister from 1959 to 1990 and the architect of the Singapore’s stability and status as a high-tech, high-income global city – inserted a “demolition clause” in his seventh and final will in 2013.
He died at age 91 in March 2015.
Lee Hsien Yang said: “Let us not mince words. Singapore’s social compact under Lee Kuan Yew was – civil liberties may be curtailed, but in return your government will respect the rule of law and be utterly beyond reproach.”
He said this social compact was “now broken”, and accused his brother of being ready to use his “public powers to achieve his personal agenda”.
He characterised a ministerial committee set up to evaluate the future of the family home at 38 Oxley Road as one example of how the premier was using state apparatuses to get what he “personally wants”.