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The matter of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s dispute with his siblings should be heard by a properly convened Commission of Inquiry (COI) rather than be debated in Parliament.
The SDP stated in our media release (16 June 2017) that “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.”
Given that the PM is at the centre of the controversy, Parliament is hardly the appropriate forum to conduct an inquiry that will win public confidence in a matter of such national importance.
Instead, a COI like the one held to look into the circumstances surrounding the riot in Little India in 2013 should take place. In that hearing, lapses in the security system were identified and concrete recommendations made to improve it.
If the Government saw the need for a COI over the incident in Little India, what more this matter which has generated intense public angst.
Given the seriousness of the charges and counter-charges made by those involved – including cabinet ministers – and the grave implications the allegations hold for the future of our country, it behooves the PM to call for a forum that is beyond reproach in its service of truth and fairness.
Such an inquiry must necessarily include a body with the power to subpoena all actors and relevant witnesses where they can be questioned under oath. The composition of the panel must, of course, be consistent with the spirit and objective in which the inquiry is conducted.
It must be reiterated that the saga goes well beyond a private family quarrel and crosses into the realm which involves matters at the very heart of transparent and accountable governance.
It is in this light that the SDP urges PM Lee to do the right thing and convene a genuinely impartial hearing to get to the bottom of the incident and, in so doing, reform our nation’s governing process.