Singapore — Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest son, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, has asserted in a new Facebook post that the country has not turned into what his father had envisioned.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the late founding leader of the People’s Action Party (PAP), is considered Singapore’s founding father. His eldest son, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, is the current Prime Minister.
In 2017, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, accused PM Lee of using his power and influence to subvert their late father’s willed desire to have their family home demolished. Although PM Lee vehemently denied the charges, his younger siblings have maintained that they have lost trust in him as their brother and national leader.
The younger Mr Lee also said that the PAP is not what it was when his father was at the helm. He joined the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) ahead of the recent General Election and urged voters to fearlessly cast their ballots for the opposition.
In the Facebook post published on Friday (July 17), exactly a week after the elections, Mr Lee reflected on his own political journey and said that he became more in tune with the struggles of ordinary Singaporeans after his father passed on in 2015. He wrote:
“I was born into a life of privilege and lived a sheltered life. I am by nature a very private individual who has largely avoided public attention. Public speaking does not come naturally to me. I am reserved and shy. Thus, I set my own path and chose to contribute to our country in my own way.
“Following my father’s passing in 2015 many Singaporeans came forward to speak to me. Through their stories and their struggles, I have learnt much. I began to realise that there are now ‘two Singapores’ – one for those close to or in the circle of the PAP’s natural aristocracy, and another for ordinary Singaporeans, who live a life of fear and struggle in a maze where they search for crumbs.”
Sharing his belief that his father’s vision for Singapore does not match what the nation is today, Mr Lee suggested that his father’s approach to governance was a product of his time. Affirming his love and gratitude for his father, Mr Lee said that his father was always looking out for Singapore — not the perpetuation of the ruling party:
“Some elements of my father’s approach to governance were a product of his time and his own life’s journey. I love my father. For what he has done for our country, like many Singaporeans, I am deeply grateful.
“It is my belief that his vision of Singapore is not what the country has become today or seems to be heading. I know that my father’s concerns were always for the future of Singapore and not the perpetuation of the PAP.”
Asserting that the latest election has showed how Singapore wants to evolve, Mr Lee added: “Times have changed, Singapore has changed. People have changed and I, too, have evolved. We need a new compact between the government and our people. GE2020 has demonstrated that Singapore wants different.”
Mr Lee then urged Singaporeans to continue supporting the opposition and speak up against the current style of government. He said: “We need to build on the outcome of GE2020.
“We need to continue to support opposition MPs in Parliament as they seek to be our voices. We also need to continue to make clear our rejection and repulsion of the character assassinations, lawsuits, Pofma and police reports style of government. We need our politicians not to threaten but to reason.”
Calling on Singaporeans to keep political discourse alive, Mr Lee urged his fellow citizens to speak up on a number of issues such as the disparity in public funds allocated to opposition town councils, the PAP’s use of an Internet brigade to crush alternative views and potential conflicts of interest in government.
He said: “In the days and years ahead, we need to keep the conversation going. Keep asking questions. Speak up and support political parties you believe in. Volunteer to help them. Demand fairness in the People’s Association (PA) grassroots advisor appointments and use of funds, and not allow a mockery of democracy.
“Push for an open government and a fair and free press. Decry rule by oppression and fear, and the use of an Internet brigade. Shout out against conflicts of interest in government. Continue to make our voices heard on issues and volunteer in the ways and means we can. Participate in public petitions, scrutinise and comment on legislation. Speak up against legislation made for political gain. Speak truth to power.”
Asserting that political participation is the right and duty of all citizens, Mr Lee urged: “As citizens, political participation is our right and our duty. We must do this because we care for our future. And because we love our Singapore.”
In his post, Mr Lee also thanked his family and fellow Singaporeans for their support as he entered the political fray. Read his post in full here.