Singapore — Mr Lee Hsien Yang has thanked his wife, their three sons and fellow Singaporeans for their support as he entered the political fray, in a new Facebook post published on Friday (July 17).
Mr Lee, the youngest son of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, joined the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) three years after a dispute with his brother over their late father’s will became public.
His membership in the opposition party was announced days before the 2020 General Election campaign. Mr Lee did not, however, contest the elections, saying that he did not think another Lee needed to be in power, but supported the PSP by taking part in walkabouts and urging voters to cast their ballots for the opposition in video broadcasts.
Exactly a week after the elections, Mr Lee took to social media to thank Singaporeans for their support. In the Facebook post, Mr Lee thanked those who encouraged him while he was on the campaign trail and wrote:
“These last few weeks, I have walked the ground and many of you have welcomed me into your homes with much warmth and shared your stories. In the streets and hawker centres, there have been good wishes and encouragement. Thank you. Please know that your support means the world to me.”
He added: “Many of you have read my Facebook posts and watched my not very good videos and cheered me, thank you. I have been completely overwhelmed by your numbers and good wishes.”
Mr Lee also lauded the opposition candidates who stood for election and the volunteers who supported their campaigns. Asserting that these individuals represent hope for Singapore, the 62-year-old wrote:
“My biggest shout out has to be to the many capable and courageous men and women who stood as candidates on an alternative ticket. They represent the hope of new ideas, transparency, accountability, fairness and compassion for governance in Singapore.
“Their volunteers behind the scenes put in so much in so many different ways because they care for the future of our country. Every small step taken to change the narrative for our country is a battle hard won.”
In the elections, the opposition emerged stronger than ever with the Workers’ Party (WP) winning an unprecedented 10 seats in Parliament. The WP held on to its Aljunied-Hougang stronghold and wrenched a new GRC from the People’s Action Party, unseating three political office-holders. The PAP suffered its second worst result in any election and saw a hefty swing away from it.
Although the PSP did not win any seats, it accepted two Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seats that it became eligible for being the best scoring opposition party that failed to clinch a ward. With the two PSP NCMPs, the opposition has a total of 12 voices in Parliament.
The outcome was quite the surprise for some, especially since the elections were held during the Covid-19 pandemic and parties faced severe campaigning restrictions in view of the health crisis.
Calling the election result a “brave new step” that is “hard-earned” for Singaporeans, Mr Lee wrote: “The outcome of GE2020 was truly hard-earned for Singaporeans. Stakes were high and so were the risks. As voters, you braved the risk of Covid-19, grappled with long queues and disorganisation to cast the ballot that represents your voice and your hopes.
“You have also rejected use of gutter politics and ad hominem attacks. This is a brave new step that augurs well for the future.”
Mr Lee also paid tribute to his family for standing by him as he entered the political arena. Revealing that his wife and their three sons have had to face attacks because of their relation to him, he said:
“My wife and three sons have stood by me throughout. They have been steadfast in their love and support even as they have had to face attacks because they are my family. Without asking, they have been my dream back-up team.”
In the past few years, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has lodged a complaint against Mr Lee’s wife, Lee Suet Fern, to the Law Society over her involvement in her late father’s will. The AGC has also initiated legal action against Mr Lee’s eldest son, Li Shengwu, over a private Facebook post published in 2017.
In his post, Mr Lee also spoke about how Singapore has changed since his father was at the helm of the nation and about how political participation is the duty of all Singaporeans. Read his post in full here.