Lee Hsien Yang’s open support for the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has not only gripped the attention of Singaporeans but has also caught the interest of foreign observers.
International news publication Reuters, for one, has dubbed Mr Lee’s recent public support for Tan Cheng Bock’s party an “intriguing twist.”
At the PSP’s inaugural press meet on 26 July, the party’s leader Dr Tan Cheng Bock – a former veteran PAP parliamentarian who formed his own opposition party to push for transparency and accountability in Government—said that the PAP has changed and that it has lost its way in recent years.
Echoing this sentiment, Mr Lee—the son of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and younger brother of current PM Lee Hsien Loong—wrote on Facebook, on Sunday (28 July):
“I wholeheartedly support the principles and values of the Progress Singapore Party. Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of my father. It has lost its way.”
Mr Lee is in a bitter feud with his elder brother since 2017. Despite the offer of a ceasefire, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has initiated action against Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s wife Lee Suet Fern and son Li Shengwu.
In recent months, Mr Lee was spotted mingling with opposition politicians, including Dr Tan. Mr Lee publicly met up with Dr Tan for meals on two separate occasions.
When Dr Tan announced his decision to start his own opposition party, Mr Lee congratulated him and wrote in a public Facebook post:
“I have known Cheng Bock for many years and he has consistently put the interests of the people first.
We are fortunate that he has stepped forward to serve Singapore…Cheng Bock will groom future Parliamentarians who will serve our country and people before party or self.
“This is good for the future of Singapore.”
In what is considered a subtle dig at his own brother, Mr Lee added: “Cheng Bock is the leader Singapore deserves.”
In a recent article, Reuters called Mr Lee’s support for the newly formed PSP “an intriguing twist ahead of elections expected to be held as soon as this year.” Reuters added that it approached the PAP for comment on Mr Lee’s most recent remarks but the party did not respond.
The Reuters article noted that the PAP’s transition to the next generation of leaders comes at a “sensitive time,” with Singapore’s faltering economy, concerns over inequality and the rise of social media which has given critics the freedom to air their views like never before.
The publication added that it is unclear whether Lee Hsien Yang plans to enter politics and that analysts are “uncertain” over what sort of impact the PSP and Mr Lee might have in the next General Election. It, however, forecast:
“Singapore is unlikely to experience a seismic political shift like the one seen last year in neighbouring Malaysia, where a party that led every post-colonial government suffered an election defeat.
The PAP currently holds all but six of 89 elected seats in parliament.”
Read the article in full HERE.