Singapore PM’s son gets army rebuke for e-mail gaffe

13 Jul 07

A son of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has received a rebuke from the country’s military for violating its chain of command with an e-mail complaint about a fellow officer, the ministry of defense said on Friday.

Li Hongyi, a 2nd Lieutenant doing his national service, had sent the e-mail to Singapore’s defense Minister and hundreds of military personnel to complain that a colleague had gone absent without leave on two occasions.

Li also said in the June 28 missive that the errant officer’s supervisors failed to act even after he raised the matter.

“Second Lieutenant Li was found to have contravened the General Orders…by broadcasting his letter of complaint to many other servicemen – almost all of whom were neither directly under his command, nor in an official capacity where they could deal with the matters contained in his letter of complaint,” the ministry said in a statement.

“There are proper channels within the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) to address servicemen’s grievances or concerns.”

The defense ministry said Li, 20, was formally charged and reprimanded after a summary trial earlier this month.

It added that the errant officer Li had complained about had been court martialed for going absent without leave while his two supervising officers were issued warning letters for “poor judgment in administering appropriate disciplinary action”.

Li’s letter – totaling 2,000 words according to the Today newspaper — has been posted online by several Singapore blogs, which have emerged as an alternative source of information for the city-state’s Internet-savvy population, over pro-government newspapers.

Singapore newspapers said that Li was about to leave for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. to read economics on a government scholarship.

Li is the first-born son of the prime minister’s second wife, Ho Ching, who heads Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings