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PM Lee apologises over sibling dispute affecting Singapore reputation

SINGAPORE, June 19 : Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has apologised for the dispute between him and his siblings which centered mostly on their late father Lee Kuan Yew’s home located at 38, Oxley Road.

“I deeply regret that this dispute has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the Government,” he said in a 3.42 minute video clip aired on his Facebook today.

Over the last week, Lee said Singaporeans had been disturbed and confused by news of the private dispute between his siblings and him.

“As your prime minister, I apologise to you for this. And as the eldest of the siblings, it grieves me to think of the anguish that this would have caused our parents if they were still alive,” he said, adding that he had done everything possible to avoid this state of affairs.

“My father left the property at 38 Oxley Road to me as part of my equal share of his estate, but my siblings were not happy about this. I tried to deal with their unhappiness privately. I offered to transfer 38 Oxley Rd to my sister for a nominal S$1. Unfortunately that offer failed. I then sold the house to my brother at a fair market valuation, and donated all my proceeds to charity.

“I had hoped that this would satisfy them. There should be no reason for any further quarrel since I no longer own the house and I do not take part in any Government decisions on the house. However, my siblings have decided to go out and make serious allegations publicly.

“For example, they say that I am using my position as prime minister to influence the Ministerial Committee chaired by DPM (Deputy Prime Minister) Teo Chee Hean. These allegations go beyond private and personal matters, and extend to the conduct of my office and the integrity of the Government,” he said.

Much as he would like to move on, and end a most unhappy experience for Singaporeans, these baseless accusations against the Government could not be left unanswered, said Lee.

“They must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted.”

Lee notes that when Parliament sits on July 3, he will make a Ministerial Statement to refute the charges.

“All MPs (members of parliament) will then have the opportunity to raise questions for themselves and their constituents. I have instructed that the PAP (People’s Action Party) whip be lifted. I urge all MPs, including the non-PAP MPs, to examine the issues thoroughly and question me and my Cabinet colleagues vigorously,” he said.

Lee hoped the full, public airing in Parliament would dispel any doubts that have been planted and strengthen confidence in the institutions and system of government.

“I want to assure all Singaporeans that this matter will not distract me and my Cabinet colleagues from our responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including the pressing economic and security challenges we face.

“We are determined to repair the damage done to Singapore. We will continue to lead our nation and serve you to the best of our ability,” he said.

— BERNAMA

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