2011 Presidential Candidate calls on PM Lee to resign

Tan Jee Say
Tan Jee Say

Tan Jee Say, a nominee in the 2011 Presidential race and former opposition politician, released an open letter on his Facebook page today calling on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to resign. He cc’d his letter to President Dr Tony Tan and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

We republish his letter in full here:

2 July 2017
Prime Minister,
Republic of Singapore.
cc President Dr Tony Tan, ESM Goh Chok Tong
Dear Prime Minister,
“Dear Prime Minister, please think of Country, Family, Colleagues, and resign now”
I know, along with many Singaporeans, that you must be feeling very troubled these two and a half weeks. But we also know that you are a man with a very strong will. As you told Singaporeans at a rally during the 2015 General Election, “Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him or give it up.”
But giving up does not necessarily mean weakness in a person if it is done for noble reasons that are for the greater good of society. In view of what had happened between you and your siblings in the last few years that exploded in full public view only recently, I would like to make this plea to you, “Dear Prime Minister, please think of your Country, Family and Colleagues, and resign from the premiership now!”
Here are my 5 reasons :
For Country
1. You have become a liability to the nation. You have mishandled your dispute with your siblings which led them to make serious allegations of your abuse of power and your wife’s pervasive influence on government even though she does not hold any elected or official position; these allegations warrant an independent inquiry by a special committee.
They have tarnished the special “Singapore brand” of honest and clean government that is free of abuse of power and conflict of interest. This “branding” has won us tremendous goodwill among investors, buyers of our products and services and friends around the world. It has been carefully built and nurtured around the Lee Kuan Yew legacy which has now sadly been discredited. If this is not put right without delay, the adverse impact on our economy and national well-being will be felt in the years to come.
2. Your priorities are misplaced. You wasted an entire year of the nation’s time, brainpower and resources on politicising the elected presidency. As a result, economic challenges have been neglected with slow growth in jobs, wages and productivity.
Your economic targets centred around 2% annual GDP growth are low, uninspiring and lacking in ambition and vision. You have no answers to the challenges of economic disintermediation caused by geopolitical and technology changes. Instead of strengthening alliances with key players to deal with problems together, you have antagonised the biggest economic power in the region. Unless we mend our ways, we will end up with no friends when we need them most.
For Family
3. You had not been in the best of health. Your fainting at last year’s National Day Rally was the latest public manifestation; it added to your woes and scared everybody. The dispute with your siblings will add stress to you and likely impede any recovery you hope for.
This can and will detract from your prime ministerial duties. You have given your entire life to public service with the last 13 years as PM, so no Singaporean will begrudge you if you decide to stop and smell the roses. There is a time for everything and now is the time for you to step back and do something different for and with your family.
4. Not being PM can be positive for your children. They will flourish under their own steam and unconstrained by any consideration of impact on official status or obligations. They can even go into politics without inviting any suggestion of nepotism.
For example, Najib Razak went into politics after his prime minister father Abdul Razak had died, likewise for Hishammuddin Hussein, the son of Hussein Onn, the third prime minister of Malaysia. Similarly, Mukhriz Mahathir was elected into the Federal Parliament 5 years after his father Dr Mahathir had stepped down as PM.
For colleagues
5. Several of your ministerial colleagues have been dragged into the dispute. In addition to your good self, DPM Teo Chee Hean and SMS Indranee Rajah have been accused of lying by your siblings, and Minister Shanmugam has been called unethical by Dr Lee Wei Ling.
I believe your code of conduct for ministers, even if informal, requires them to protect and defend their honour and integrity in a court of law by taking out a legal suit against the accusers immediately, but if they do not do so or fail to clear their good name in their legal suit, then they should do the decent thing of resigning from their respective positions in the government without delay.
You can start the process of redeeming your honour by initiating the legal action now and ask your ministers to follow suit to redeem theirs. This would be leadership by example at its best, the same way your late father Mr Lee Kuan Yew demonstrated with his legal suit against Tang Liang Hong that was joined in by his ministers.

This matter of your family feud has consumed and distracted the entire nation. We have to get on with our lives. Please resign now so that the nation can move on to tackle the critical challenges ahead of us. It is the only right thing to do, the only thing you must do without any further delay.

Yours sincerely,
Tan Jee Say


  1. I love my country and if PM love his country as much should resign and let Someone better to lead… Tharman will be a good choice as PM.

  2. Yes, it’s about time he step down now. I wonder how he will face other world leaders in future in ASEAN, APEC, etc. Please leave gracefully now. After all, you have mentioned sometime back that you are looking for a successor.

  3. Family & Nation don’t mix Dude. Mr. Tan Jee Say, if simple logic isn’t clear in your Mind. How can U put in the application for PRESIDENT.

  4. Grave and grievous. A nation in crisis. A country divided! Worst still, cracks are beginning to show. Disagreement amongst the elites who used to friends are being brought into the open. Scary!

  5. I have to agree with Tan Jee Say. It is about time the PM quit. He is not in good health. Not only has he been seen to be not in good health at the last NDR his walking is not so steady especially so when you see him climb stairs. So it is better to quit and smell the roses lah!

  6. In my opinion this Singapore Prime Minister really has loss all credibility. How is he going to face the international community? He is going to bring more embarrassment to the whole nation if this matter is going to be discussed in the Singapore Parliament on the 3rd of July.

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  8. Its time for a new PM..for many SG ppl..race is not a problem as long he can deliver n have a like Face like Tharma..
    Teo Chee Hean n Sham no way…their look piss ppl off

  9. Got backing and advise before LKY death. After his passing everything crumble. So many years as PM and seriously nothing to remember him for. Oh sorry, price hikes on almost everything.

  10. The Lee family dispute in the Singapore mass media show that mo one is equal in dignity in Singapore. It show that the rich and powerful still dominate the Singapore society while the low-income folks are victimised with no one standing up for their human rights!

  11. Lousy letter by the worst person to comment on this, that’s why he lost badly in not being elected as President. His election campaigns in both GE & for President often sites statistics without giving the source & research. Purely NATO – No Action & Talk Only man & never contributed to Spore. Tho PPS for former GCT, GCT commented that he has know calibre to being Perm Sec level, thus he had to leave public sector. If he wants, he can leave Singapore with LHY as both pretends to love Spore, then they can happy wherever they go & not comment on such internal family affairs without the true facts, which he wants claim to know fully.

  12. Truth like surgery hurts but heals.

    The facts are that Singapore has been drifting aimlessly both economically and socially.

    We have been talking about the first generation for last five years. Seems like the MIW have no new ideas nor fire. Just promises that tomorrow is a better day.

    But now worse, our current elected representatives cannot manage public transport, economy, International relations AND NOW lift maintenance and family squabbles!

    I think he is right. For the sake of the five, please recuse yourself of the role of PM.

  13. TJS’s letter is by far the most powerful to date. LKY built a system based on integrity, honesty, no abuse of power, zero tolerance on corruption, sue for defamation, etc. He just throw his dad’s afford down the drain.

  14. Yes agree! He is the biggest liability in singapore. Keep taking money from our tax for your salaries but Do stupid things and waste our money on unnecessary staffs. If u work in a private company u definitely have already been fired!

  15. Whenever World Leaders met, we’re shown photos of how they’ll shun Najib, who allegedly is the ‘corrupter’ who’d pilfered fr 1MDB.
    I wonder if our esteem leader will face the same awkward predicament in future.
    I hope not.

  16. Our PM already make a fool of himself and to the country. See how other countries laughing at us, we should be laugh at anyway, all dirty stuff about our Govt

  17. Get him to call for a FAIR new election without getting voters to have their voted ticket number written on the COPY page (in pencil). This collective action should also applied to the rest of his cronies in the ruling parliament and get Singapore right on the true citizen elected government world map just like many other western countries like Sweden or Germany.

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