The dispute between PM Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, goes far beyond private family matters. It delves into issues of national concern and good governance.
Both siblings have made serious accusations against the PM, among which is the abuse of powers entrusted to him.
The SDP has long stated that the PAP has never been hesitant about using organs of State to crush dissent and silence the opposition. The history of the PAP’s rule is littered with numerous such abuses. The difference now is that the PM is accused of wielding such powers against his own family.
Furthermore, Mdm Ho Ching stands accused of influencing the civil service beyond her role as the PM’s wife.
The cabinet has also been named in the feud and questions raised about its handling of the dispute over Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s residence at Oxley Road.
These issues raise concerns regarding the present administration’s ability to take Singapore into a future that requires steady, wise and democratic leadership. That even the PM’s siblings openly state that they have “no confidence” in their brother’s leadership speaks volumes.
The matters that PM Lee raised in his Summary of Statutory Declarations on 15 June 2017 are personal and do not address the national concerns his siblings raised.
For the sake of our nation’s future, PM Lee must address the specific allegations of public concern in a clear and transparent manner. The only way that this can be satisfactorily done is through public hearings.
Before anything else, however, Mr Lee Hsien Loong must state and demonstrate that he will not resort to using State power to deal with his siblings and, more importantly, stop the persecution and intimidation of ordinary citizens of Singapore.
He must also take immediate steps to amend or abolish the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act and the Broadcasting Act to relinquish State control over the media in Singapore.
In addition, the PAP Government must repeal the Public Order Act which effectively denies citizens their constitutional rights of freedom of peaceful assembly.
Unless and until Mr Lee Hsien Loong takes decisive steps to renounce authoritarian rule and steer Singapore onto the democratic path, his remaining tenure as prime minister will be a troubled one.
In these challenging economic and geopolitical times, we need strong, accountable and democratic leadership.