Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s (pictured) younger brother claims he might be prevented from leaving the Lion City after he publicly condemned his sibling.
Lee Hsien Yang, or Yang, and his sister, Lee Wei Ling, earlier this week said they had lost confidence in the prime minister and suspected “the use of the organs of the state against us”.
Yang declared that he was planning to leave the island with his wife, Lee Suet Fern, “for the foreseeable future”.
“Lots of things can happen to me,” Yang told Reuters. “They have stopped people from leaving the country. I suppose if they do, they would have to explain at least. I don´t think there are any grounds to.”
Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew’s three children have fallen out over the fate of the house that their father lived in for most of his life.
Kirsten Han, a journalist and rights activist, said: “It fascinates Singaporeans that the siblings are one of a small group who can say the prime minister is grooming a dynasty — and won’t get sued.”
While the sister’s intervention to widen the focus of the dispute was welcome, she appeared a late convert to the cause of human rights, Han said.
“We do know what can be done to ordinary Singaporeans,” Han said. “This is not theoretical. What is striking to me is that she only seems to realise now.”
The premier and his wife, Ho Ching, are accused of paving the way for a political career for their son, Li Hongyi, a consultant working for a government agency. This week he posted on Facebook: “For what it is worth, I really have no interest in politics.”
Yang says he fears his phone calls and messages are being monitored and claims he has been using an international phone number and encrypted WhatsApp messages to avoid the authorities.
“I’ve used the term big brother, what do you think big brother means? Why do you think I use WhatsApp?” Yang said. “I’m constrained about what I should and can say. You realise of course that they are very quick to threaten defamation … Many people and many tools get used to make people feel uncomfortable.”
Yang is a former chief executive of Singapore Telecommunications and is chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. He is on the boards of Rolls-Royce and Australia’s ANZ bank. He claims he has to remain in the island republic while he sorts out family affairs.
“I hope wherever I move to might be safe. It will be safer, I would say,” Yang said.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Picture credit: Wikimedia