Did PAP MPs really contribute to “debate” on Oxley Road?

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong rebutted the allegations made against him in the Oxley Road saga. After delivering a ministerial statement on the dispute in Parliament, which involved him apologising to Singaporeans for the public spat, the PM addressed questions raised by Members of Parliament over two days of debate.

PM Lee called on all MPs to “examine the issues thoroughly” and question him and his Cabinet colleagues “vigorously.” This call followed the lifting of the party whip and another call by Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob earlier this week for all MPs to ensure that the debate is robust.

But was it? Was the lifting of the party whip adequate to allow PAP MPs to question their party chief thoroughly? The PM would probably agree since he declared that the members seated in the house have proven that the allegations are baseless – even though the accusers weren’t given a platform to air their evidence.

Aside from one PAP MP who leveled 10 “tough questions” to the PM, what were the other questions that his own party members asked him that led the PM to declare with such finality that the claims against him are moot? Was there any truth to early speculation that PAP MPs would refrain from thoroughly grilling the PM, so as to protect their own rice bowl? Did weak questions allow the PM to absolve himself of wrongdoing?

Let’s take a look at how PAP MPs questioned PM Lee on the matter:

MP Rahayu Mahzam, Jurong GRC:
“As a grant of probate has been granted and there is no challenge, the will should be taken as valid and proper. You (PM Lee) have, however, in your statutory declaration submitted to the ministerial committee alluding to certain questionable circumstances upon which the will was executed,
“This may appear to be a backdoor approach in challenging the validity of the will. Could you therefore clarify why you found it necessary to affirm the statutory declaration and your intentions in doing so?”
“Why could you not just rely on the words of the will which in itself contemplated a situation where the house is not being demolished?”
MP Murali Pillai, Bukit Batok SMC:
Pillai asked whether the Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, advised the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew or any of his family members on matters regarding the house prior to becoming a member of the Ministerial Committee: “If he has, why is he of the view that he is not in a conflict-of-interest position in assuming a position in the committee that is focused on looking at the options for the house?”
MP Zaqy Mohamad, Chua Chu Kang GRC:
“Wouldn’t it have sufficed to have URA, NHB or any other relevant Government agency assess the matter and give its recommendations for Cabinet to consider?”
MP Sun Xueling, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC:
After questioning why PM Lee did not challenge Lee Kuan Yew’s last will despite his grave concerns of how it was drawn up, Sun asserted: “It appears that he (Lee Hsien Yang) wants to bring down the Prime Minister. I suspect that when an individual chooses to look at the world through a distorted lens, there are conspiracies and shadows everywhere. A clarification becomes an act of aggression, cleaning house becomes inter-meddling and theft.”
MP Charles Chong, Punggol East SMC:
Chong questioned if the poll by the Public Service Division on its officers over the Lee’s house dispute is appropriate: “What were the results of the poll? What was the data of the poll used for? Will there be any concrete action taken after the poll?”
MP Lim Biow Chuan, Mountbatten SMC:
Declaring that he “felt a sense of dismay” when WP MPs asked the Prime Minister to settle the matter once and for all in court, Lim asked, “How many of us would want to sue our family members? Is not blood thicker than water?”
The Marine Parade Town Council Chairman then questioned PM Lee’s statutory declaration, asking him why he did not challenge the will if he had doubts, before questioning Lee Hsien Yang’s wife, Suet Fern’s alleged role in Lee Kuan Yew’s will.
Pointing out that rule 46 of the professional conduct rules prohibit a lawyer from acting on behalf a client who intends to make a gift to a family member of the lawyer, Lim asked: “Why did Lee Hsien Yang say that Kwa Kim Li draft the will? Why did he say that Lee Suet Fern had put the will ‘into language’? Is that a roundabout way of saying that she had drafted the will? This is of significance because it may mean the Demolition Clause may not be valid. If this is so, it is no longer a private matter. No one should be above the law.”

His questions are one among many (like Sun Xueling’s insinuations against the intentions of Lee Hsien Yang) that highlight how unfortunate Lee Wei Ling, Lee Hsien Yang and his wife are for being unable to speak for themselves in the arena PM Lee has selected to rebut allegations.

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65 comments

  1. Cj Leo says:

    It is clear to me that PM Lee had abused his power in an attempt to change the position of his own father on the demolition of house 38. The Singapore Court has ruled the Final Will 7 a valid legal document. Yet PM Lee tried to influence the committee to over ride the court decision by submitting a SD questioning the legality of the will and alleging that Lee Suet Fern had without LKY knowledge re-inserted the demolition clause. The ministerial committee has no right n power, under the Singapore Constitution, to over-rule a court decision. A court decision can only be challenged in a higher court. This is the separation of power. Thus this ministerial committee is illegal under the Singapore Constitution. Why Parliament, including Opposition Leader did not hold Lee Hsien Loong to account for acting above the constitution ? Is Singapore a Democratic, Rule of law society or is it a Dynastic Dictatorship ? Are our mps so ignorant n gullible to allow their PM to act above the constitution ? In any first world country, those involved would have resigned on their own accord, putting country above self, family and party.

  2. Not surprise really. The moment the issue was brought up to parliament , we know its a one sided affair. Verdict rubber stamped. Should stop kids in schools reciting the pledge every morning as it has no value.

  3. Righteousness against ownself … just because of $$$$ and face value. Selling away own consciousness…. within own Clan.

    Once Abuse of power.

    Second time still abuse of power to call own COI committees. Is this not another abuse of power?

    If the person already Using his power of abuse. Can he still hv his power to call for own committees even within his own party for own checklists?

    The World are watching us.

    If the country failed is not because of the citizens. But because of the Power of abuse and against conflict of interest among our system. Who do you think will continue to stay and live in our system? Just my opinion

  4. Max Lim says:

    LKY, have been controlling since 1959 to death.The two Prime Minister n All Presidents are his Puppets but not Ong Teng Cheong.The Selfish Old man left is Shit for them to collect.

  5. Cj Leo says:

    PM Lee relied heavily on LTK to clear his name. Yet in every election the pap mantra was Oppositions destroy Singapore. Ironical.

  6. Eric Tanth says:

    As I had expected these MPs saved for a couple of them did not engage in robust questioning but instead talking about how LHL armpit smell sweet.

  7. Guan Di says:

    what do you think ? you really think they are free to do what they want. Think it over , do not be son naive and simple minded .

  8. Facebook Profile photo
    William Lim ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    why risk a whole nation’s reputation over a damned house?

    by keeping its options open, the committee has cunningly avoided committing itself to a position and keeping the other 2 leeches in suspense. so they cannot accuse the gomen of any abuse of power or contradicting lky’s will. the 2 brats wanted to know if the house will be demolished.

    last time, there was a big fire in old bukit ho swee. the fire was v effective.

  9. Buddy Tan says:

    A complete white washed! What a charade and a bloody waste of time. What a pathetic group of useless bunch of bootlicking, apple polishing, balls carrying MPs.

  10. Truth or not, many people already concluded. With or without debate. Whether in parliament or not. Regardless of whether got COI or not. Those who are following already concluded.

  11. What debate? It is another Q-and-A session. In fact, the MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, which LWL belongs to, not only maligned her constituent but even cast insinuations upon LWL and her brother. Why is she not representing LWL instead?

  12. Robin Chee says:

    The parliamentary debate may be over but it has left several of the most pertinent questions ignored and instead raised more doubts about the PM and the government.
    1. PM’s refusal to sue his siblings despite their grave accusations on his integrity and reputation. His reason, after all the tear-jerking drama, is that he doesn’t want to aggravate this family quarrel and that he wanted to fulfil his father’s wish to look after his siblings. So, it’s blatantly clear that the PM has placed his personal interests/desires over those of his nation. Because from what the political leaders have espoused over the years (including the wise statements by ESM Goh), not suing (regardless of the party responsible for the defamatory remarks) is akin to an admission of wrong-doing. In previous instances, when quizzed on why it was not enough to just refute the remarks made by an accuser, political leaders have reiterated that suing is the ideal manner to clear one’s name as the Court would be the most appropriate/fair/qualified arbiter. By refusing to sue, the PM left many citizens wondering if he did have something to hide (even if he didn’t) and severely damages the nation he governs as many local and foreign observers would now view the nation with doubtful and suspicious eyes. More importantly, if the PM could place his siblings above the perceived reputation of the country, we have to ask if there’s anything at all that’s more important than the perceived reputation of the country that would prompt the PM to sue his own siblings. It’s one thing to be labelled incompetent in formulating certain policies but it is DANGEROUS for a leader to be willing to disregard the perceived reputation of his nation and his own recommended policy (of suing) for the self-serving purpose of keeping his family intact.
    2. PM remarked that the issue would be further escalated and aggravated if he were to sue his siblings as the process of doing so could take years and it would lead to a full-scale Korean drama. But is this really true? When you take legal actions against the accusers, the accusers would be (reasonably expected to be) fearful or concerned enough not to post anything defamatory or potentially defamatory in the meantime (unless they have substantial evidence that their accusations are true). So, in this case, how would suing prolong the drama? And would not suing reduce the drama? No. Because even the PM did admit that he wouldn’t be able to control his siblings from posting any more allegations after the Parliamentary debate.
    3. Why was the Ministerial Committee set up in the first place if it cannot make any binding recommendation? Sure, you can claim that it’s just the “normal procedure” but is it really necessary for valuable resources to be channelled to this largely impotent committee? As the issue of what must be done to the said property would probably not need to be addressed until 20-30 years later, what’s the point of setting up the committee as the recommendations would probably be deemed outdated or invalid by the government of the day 20-30 years later? Even if LWL were to move out suddenly tomorrow, surely, we can rely on our supremely talented and well-paid ministers to convene a committee and make a decision before long? I think it all boils down to the inflexibility and inefficiency of this government primarily as the result of too many draconian rules and red tape. I can still remember the Director of the Ministry I was interviewing with animatedly false-banging his head against the window to demonstrate to me how red tape had tortured him to no end.
    4. Lawrence Wong claimed that even though public opinion was considered in considering whether the said house should be abolished or preserved, it was eventually not followed as “public opinion can change from time to time”. He established that one poll showed that the majority of the public wanted the house preserved after the publication of “Hard Truths”, another poll showed that most wanted it to be demolished after LKY died. Could Mr. Wong please enlighten us which polls he was referring to and whether the polls were representative and statistically significant? And even if he wanted to showcase that the public is fickle-minded, he would need to showcase that the same group or largely the same group of people were interviewed, right? And does it mean that public opinion can be followed only when the opinion remained the same over years, decades, centuries? If so, what’s the point of engaging the public as it would be impossible or unbelievable that public opinion would remain unchanged over a period of time? So why can’t he take the latest public opinion (assuming it’s statistically significant) and just follow it? Or can he educate us when would the government actually follow public opinion? For instance, must it be strong and unchanging over decades, and it must also correspond with the guidance and suggestions of “experts”? And since preservation of monuments is geared primarily to benefit the people, shouldn’t the citizens have more say on the matter instead of some pseudo experts, including those in the committee, many who are not even trained in the significance of social memory.

    1. Tan Tony says:

      But public opinion on elected president should be open one Not the reserved one . Then why you still go ahead with the reserved one

  13. Robin Chee says:

    6. Heng Swee Keat’s example of LKY changing his mind about the bilingual policy as an illustration to support his argument that LKY may change his mind about whether to demolish the house is just plain laughable. How is a change in mindset about an educational policy be similar in magnitude to the fate of one’s much treasured precious private home?
    7. Indranee Rajah tried to explain the possibility that LKY may not have the privilege of receiving independent advice before his final will and thus may not have made the will with all the relevant support is shocking and insulting. Are you saying that the founding father of Singapore who topped his Cambridge Law class and who had remained lucid and intellectually supreme even up to his death was incapable of understanding the implication of agreeing to the clause in the last will which indicates demolition of the said house? Oh and using Mr. Heng’s example in the previous point, since it is not surprising that LKY had changed his mind before his death, could he have also changed his mind to preserve his house in the second and third last will too? So why the big hoo-ha about the last will “suddenly” including the demolition clause?
    8. Indranee claimed that Lucien Wong and Hri Kumar are one of the top legal minds in the nation so they should take the best person for the job despite the very real perception of a conflict of interest in the eyes of the public. According to which specific study/surveys/reports are you referring to, Indranee? Even if you can claim that these reports are not inherently subjective, you did admit that Lucien or Hri are one of the top legal minds but they are not the top, are they? So, wouldn’t it make more sense to take someone as good but without the very real perceived claims of a conflict of interest? More importantly, PM claimed that he personally recommended Lucien for the role of AG because he had witnessed first-hand how competent he was. Isn’t this a deeply troubling method of selection as the other potential candidates did not get a chance to work for PM and thus demonstrate to PM how competent they were?

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