Singapore — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who testified in his defamation suit against Mr Terry Xu, the editor of The Online Citizen (TOC), on Monday (Nov 30), expressed the hope that the rift between himself and his brother and sister can still be repaired.
Mr Xu has denied that damage had been done to the Prime Minister’s reputation after an article about the Lee family and its property at 38 Oxley Road on the TOC website and Facebook page on Aug 15, 2019, entitled “PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching, weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members”.
PM Lee was cross-examined by counsel for the defendant, Mr Lim Tean.
At one point in the cross-examination, according to Yahoo Singapore, Mr Lim asked PM Lee when he last spoke to his siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.
Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, one of the Prime Minister’s lawyers, asked about the relevance of such a question.
Mr Lim was told to move on to his next question. He then asked: Is it correct for me to say there is a sour relationship between your wife and siblings?” Mr Singh objected to this but the judge allowed it.
The Prime Minister answered: “I think animosity is evident on one side from my siblings. On our side, I do not think either I or my wife want this to continue or hold anything against them.”
Adding that he had “detached” himself from the rift with his brother and sister, PM Lee said: “I think the feud is on my siblings’ part. I don’t understand what it’s about … I no longer own 38 Oxley, I have sold it to Lee Hsien Yang, and recused myself from the government’s handling of the matter.
“So there’s nothing I can do or not do to influence the matter. I have never done any Facebook post or criticised them publicly other than what I put out in my ministerial statements.
“And I hope against hope that one day, matters may be repaired. But it’s one of those things that happen in life, and this too shall pass.”
PM Lee also said that he and his wife, Ms Ho Ching, hold no animosity towards Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.
Mr Lim had also asked the Prime Minister why his siblings have not been called to the witness stand.
“I have explained why I am reluctant to sue siblings and why I didn’t do so in 2015 and 2017 — I have been restrained since then — that does not mean I will never do it but I have not done it,” PM Lee answered.
He added: “I had decided to take a different approach with my siblings … it’s not carte blanche for anyone else to use that to spread allegations and further defame me. I’m not obliged to sue everyone in order to sue one person. I consulted counsel and decided who to sue.”
Day 2 of the trial was Tuesday (Dec 1). /TISG