PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong has apologised for the ongoing family dispute involving him and his two younger siblings, admitting that the episode has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the government.
In a statement to the nation that was also recorded on video, he announced that he will deliver a ministerial statement when Parliament sits again on July 3 to “refute the charges” levelled against him by his siblings Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang.
In a rare move, PM Lee, who is also the secretary-general of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), has instructed that the PAP party whip be lifted that day.
He said that all members of Parliament will have the opportunity to raise questions for themselves and their constituents.
PM Lee urged all MPs, including those who are not from the PAP, to examine the issues thoroughly and question him and his Cabinet colleagues “vigorously”.
“Much as I would like to move on, and end a most unhappy experience for Singaporeans, these baseless accusations against the government cannot be left unanswered. They must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted,” he said.
PM Lee hoped that this “full, public airing” in parliament will dispel any doubts that have been planted, and strengthen confidence in Singapore’s institutions and the system of government.
He assured all Singaporeans that this matter would not distract him and the rest of the Cabinet from their responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including the pressing economic and security challenges that the country faces.
“As public servants, my ministers and I will always protect the integrity of our institutions, and uphold the strict standards separating private affairs from our public duties,” said PM Lee.
“We are determined to repair the damage that has been done to Singapore. We will continue to lead our nation and serve you to the best of our ability.”