The brother of Singapore’s prime minister accuses the government of persecuting his family

The brother of Singapore’s prime minister accused government authorities on Friday of persecuting his family after it emerged he and his wife were under official investigation.

Lee Hsien Yang has been at loggerheads with his brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, over the will of their late father – longtime prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who led Singapore to independence from Britain.

The family feud had largely died down until Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean told lawmakers that Lee Hsien Yang and his wife, Lee Suet Fern, were under investigation.


In a written reply to parliament released on Thursday, he said the two were being investigated for allegations of providing false information in court proceedings relating to the will.

They are accused of swearing by a panel of three judges and a disciplinary tribunal, wrote Teo Chee Hean.

He told parliament the two had agreed to an interview with police but then refused, which he said was “disappointing”.

“Police have advised them to reconsider their involvement in investigations, but they have since left Singapore and remain out of the country,” he wrote, according to a copy of the parliamentary response provided by his office.

Family members of late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew arrive with his portrait at the state funeral in Singapore March 29, 2015. The brother of Singapore’s current prime minister and son of the late Lee Kuan Yew accuses government authorities of persecuting his family. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair, File)

Contacted by The Associated Press on Friday, Lee Hsien Yang dismissed the allegations as “a further attempt to discredit and attack me”, but said it was “not safe for me to return” to Singapore.

In a Facebook post, Lee Hsien Yang said he and his sister, Lee Wei Ling, who had joined him in challenging the execution of the will, had long said they were “afraid of using organs of the state against us and my family. “

“The persecution of my family by the Singaporean authorities continues unabated,” he wrote.

The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but previously called his brothers’ accusations that he abused government power against them “totally unfounded.”


Their father, Lee Kuan Yew, ruled Singapore with an iron fist for more than three decades and is credited with transforming the resource-poor island into a wealthy, bustling financial center with low crime and almost zero corruption.

After his death in 2015, the brothers clashed over a clause in his will indicating that a family bungalow should be demolished rather than turned into some sort of tourist attraction.

Lee Hsien Yang and his sister have accused their brother, the prime minister, of instead keeping the house to “enhance his political capital” as a “visible symbol” of their father.

The Prime Minister rejected the allegations and said he had withdrawn from the government’s decision-making process to decide the fate of the house.

Lee Hsien Yang told the AP, however, that their father’s will leaves no room for doubt and that he “did not want to create a shrine for himself.”


“It’s clear that my father wanted the house demolished and he made that clear while he was alive; it was clear in his will,” she said, adding that when the will was ratified in 2015 “then it was time to deal with it.”

Lee Hsien Yang’s son, Shengwu Li, tweeted that returning his parents to Singapore for questioning could put them in danger.

“In Singapore, the authorities can detain you indefinitely, in inhumane conditions, without timely access to a lawyer,” wrote Lee, an assistant professor of economics at Harvard.

“When a hostile authoritarian government says it wants to ‘interrogate’ you, it’s clear what that means.”

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