Home News SG Economy PM Lee, are you sure LKY commemoration was 'ground-up' effort?

PM Lee, are you sure LKY commemoration was 'ground-up' effort?

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By: Michael Tan
Yesterday, PM Lee posted a Facebook comment rebutting his sister Lee Wei Ling claiming that he was “abusing his power” by commemorating yet again Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s passing after 1 year of his death.
Ms Lee said that his PM brother had “no qualms abusing his power to (have) a commemoration just one year after Lee Kuan Yew died”.
Calling her brother a ‘dishonorable son’, she said, “Let’s be real, last year’s event was so vivid, no one will forget it in one (year). But if the power that be wants to establish a dynasty, LKY’s daughter will not allow LKY’s name to be sullied by a dishonorable son.”
She also noted that their father, Lee Kuan Yew, “would not want to be hero-worshipped”.
PM Lee dismissed Ms Lee’s accusations as “completely untrue” and added that the commemoration was a ‘ground-up’ effort.
He wrote, “The first anniversary of a person’s passing is a significant moment to remember him and reflect on what he meant to us. The more so with Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The Cabinet had discussed how we should mark the occasion. My advice was that we should leave it to ground-up efforts. Groups should keep their observances in proportion, and focused on the future.”
‘ground-up’ effort or PA’s effort?
However, reading the news posted on the government website (http://www.gov.sg/news/content/the-straits-times-groups-plan-activities-to-mark-mr-lee-kuan-yews-legacy), it seems that the 100 or so events organized to commemorate the first anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s death were being co-ordinated by the People’s Association (PA), a government statutory board.
In the news report, 4 remembrance events were quoted. Three was organized by PA and one by the Silent No More network. Even so, Silent No More, was said to be founded by a Facebook group made up of PAP people. The founder of the group is Mr Jaromel Gee, who is a known PAP member himself. Mr Gee said his effort is “neither endorsed nor supported by the party”.
The news report also mentioned that PA would erect panels of photographs and short write-ups on Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s contributions for people to “reflect on his legacy” at the various sites in Singapore.
FB_IMG_1460359249197Chan Chun Sing, Deputy Chairman of PA, even tried to justify PA’s involvement in the commemoration by saying that “several people” had requested for it. He did not say who these people were. He told the news media, “We don’t see it as a session for us to grieve or be sad, but a celebration of Mr Lee’s life work and values, and what he had given us to build the future.”
Clearly, Mr Chan’s statement showed that it was PA or the government who had initiated the commemoration in the first place.
Close to $1 billion budget for PA
It may be interesting to note that the recent budget (FY2016) allocated for PA is close to $1 billion even though SG50 celebration had already been over last year.
According to the government budget posted online (http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/data/budget_2016/download/54%20MCCY%20Annex%202016.pdf), PA’s expenditures are as follows:
FY2014 – $665,222,779 (Actual)
FY2015 – $943,719,900 (Estimated) – 30% increase but probably due to SG50 celebration
FY2016 – $898,186,100 (Budgeted) – remain high even after SG50
It’s not known in the recent one year anniversary of the commemoration of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s death, how much PA’s budget had been utilized for it. If the commemoration was truly a ground-up effort, then the government should not be spending any money on it. Let Singaporeans come up with their own money to commemorate the one year anniversary of Mr Lee’s death.
In any case, it is interesting to note that when Mr Lee was alive, he once made a comment about the close relationship between PAP and PA.
He was commenting on what the PRC officials had observed when they were visiting Singapore. He said, “They (PRCs) discover that the People’s Action Party (PAP) has only a small office in Bedok. But everywhere they go, they see the PAP – in the RCs (residents’ committees), CCCs (citizens’ consultative committees), and the CCs (community clubs).”
And in Singapore, all RCs, CCCs, CCs and grassroots organizations fall under the purview of PA.

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