The recent family feud between PM Lee and his sister Lee Wei Ling has now attracted the worldwide attention of international news media.
Posting on Facebook recently, Ms Lee scolded her PM brother for being a “dishonorable son” to gain political mileage out of the death of their father, Lee Kuan Yew.
She accused him of having “no qualms abusing his power to [have] a commemoration just one year after LKY died.” She continued, “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.”
News of the Lee family brother-and-sister feud has since spread to the whole world:
Financial Times: Singapore’s first family plays out public feud on Facebook
The rift is a rare display of acrimony among the city-state’s elite — censorship laws impose tight controls on the press, while defamation actions have been used to stifle critics, human rights groups say. The legacy of the country’s revered patriarch, who governed for more than three decades and was instrumental in Singapore’s economic transformation, is a particularly sensitive matter… The episode is an indication of how social media now allows critics to bypass the limitations of Singapore’s traditional press. While Reporters without Borders ranks Singapore 153rd out of 180 countries surveyed for its level of press freedom, both Dr Lee and the prime minister were able to publish directly on Facebook.
HK SCMP: Lee family feud: Singapore PM’s sister accuses him of ‘abusing his power’ to establish political dynasty
The rare and unexpected rift burst into the open over the anniversary of the death of their father
Sydney Morning Herald: Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong at war with sister over Lee Kuan Yew commemorations
Prime Minister Lee has in the past sued critics for suggesting nepotism in his government.
CNBC: Sister of Singapore Prime Minister Lee accuses him of dynasty politics
Lee Wei Ling accused her brother, referred to in her posts as HL, of using the one-year anniversary of Lee Kuan Yew’s death as a tool to try to establish a political dynasty. International media have long criticized Singapore’s political system over the prominence of the Lee family. The People’s Action Party (PAP), created by Lee Kuan Yew in 1954, has ruled Singapore’s political landscape since the country’s independence in 1965. Lee Wei Ling’s post implied the prime minister was using the anniversary events for political aims.
IBT UK: Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong denies sister’s abuse of power accusations
Lee Hsien Loong won a fresh five-year mandate in September last year, with analysts attributing the landslide election victory to a surge of patriotic feeling among Singaporeans in the wake of his father’s death and the 50th National Day celebrations.
Guardian: Singaporean PM in feud with sister over anniversary of father’s death
Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong accused by sister Lee Wei Ling of abusing his power and trying to ‘hero worship’ Lee Kuan Yew.
Swissinfo: Open spat erupts in Singapore between premier and his sister
Lee’s sister accused the prime minister in a Facebook post of abusing his power and forming a political dynasty, a highly unusual public comment in Singapore. It has sparked an online debate in a country where the Lee family is mostly held in high regard and where several of its critics have been sued for defamation.
BBC: Lee family spat fuels Singapore debate on founder’s legacy
Lee’s death on 23 March last year prompted a massive outpouring of grief among Singaporeans who queued for hours to pay their respects, surprising even government officials. At least 100 events were organised for the one-year anniversary, ranging from solemn ceremonies and a candlelight vigil to tree-planting and kayaking events. Wax statues of Lee – widely known as LKY – and his wife were put on public display with flowers laid at their feet, a schoolbook teaching Lee’s values was launched, while some ardent fans online even claimed to have seen his face in the clouds.
Nikkei Asian Review: Family feud over ‘hero worship’ erupts in Singapore
Most Singaporeans remain indifferent to the saga as they do not see it affecting Singapore on a larger scale. Some, on the other hand, agree with the prime minister, and comments poured in on his Facebook page.
Manila Bulletin: Feud bursts between Singapore PM, sister
Lee was prime minister from 1959 to 1990, and remained an influential figure in the government for several years thereafter. In the past, Lee had sued critics for defamation for suggesting nepotism in his government, so for such an accusation to come from within his own family is a political bombshell for Singaporeans.
Malay Mail: Singapore PM ‘deeply saddened’ by sister’s charge of abuse of power
Xinhua: Singapore PM denies sister’s claim of abusing power
Reuters: Open spat erupts in Singapore between premier and his sister
Indian Mandarins: Troubling spat between Singapore PM & his sister
DailyMail: Open spat erupts in Singapore between premier and his sister
Turkey Anadolu Agency: Singapore PM refutes sister’s abuse of power claims
Sister accuses PM of abusing his power through commemorations for the one-year death anniversary of their father, the city-state’s founding PM
Focus Taiwan: Singapore PM rejects sister’s accusation of trying to build dynasty
Most critical reporting came from WSJ, which reported (http://www.wsj.com/articles/
“Singapore’s leaders have a long record of successfully suing individuals and publications that accuse them of cronyism or nepotism… The Prime Minister now faces an awkward decision of whether to take legal recourse against his sister, a former head of the National Neuroscience Institute, since clemency could be construed as favoritism. He and his father always maintained that libel lawsuits are necessary to protect the reputations of the country’s leaders.
Meanwhile, Ms. Lee’s rejected article has started a useful debate over the proliferation of fawning tributes to the late Prime Minister and his legacy of punishing those who disagreed with the government.”
Indeed, it remains to be seen if PM Lee would sue his sister for what she had said when he had done so against other bloggers and critics for saying similar things.
WSJ: PM Lee not suing sister can be construed as favoritism