SINGAPORE — Almost two weeks after a truce was called among the Lee siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling on Monday (July 17) fired a salvo against the “big Brother government” following the authorities’ comments that they were looking into a Facebook post by her nephew.
Mr Li Shengwu, who is the son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang, had criticised the Republic’s court system over the weekend. In response to media queries, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it was “aware of the post and is looking into the matter”.
Following that, Mr Li said he was “surprised that the Singapore Government is so petty”, while Dr Lee questioned whether there is “a Government servant whose duty is to follow the Facebook activity of all people related to (Lee) Hsien Yang and I, including our private musings”.
Expressing surprise at the “negative reaction” from the AGC over “a private post”, Dr Lee added: “Also, what Shengwu posted is a common topic among Singaporeans who are well informed. Is this not an example of ‘big Brother government’. Perhaps it is a case of ‘if the hat fits, take it’.”
On Saturday, Mr Li, a Harvard University academic, posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article on the 38 Oxley Road dispute involving his father, aunt and uncle — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
He described the article as a “good” summary, and likened the public disagreements over his late grandfather’s house to a “political crisis”.
In the same post, Mr Li added a second link to a New York Times commentary alleging media censorship in Singapore, published on April 3, 2010, and wrote: “Keep in mind, of course, that the Singapore Government is very litigious and has a pliant court system. This constrains what the international media can usually report.”
After the media reported that the post had been deleted, Mr Li clarified that it was inaccurate, and that the post was set to be seen by “friends only”.
This was not the first time that Mr Li has commented on the family dispute over the Oxley Road house. Last month, he said on Facebook that over the last few years, his immediate family had become increasingly worried about what he alleged as a lack of checks on abuse of power. In a subsequent post, he said that he did not intend to go into politics, adding: “I believe that it would be bad for Singapore if any third-generation Lee went into politics. The country must be bigger than one family.”
The Lee family dispute settled down earlier this month, after Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee said they welcomed their brother’s offer to manage their disagreement privately. This followed a two-day Parliament debate on the matter, where PM Lee had said that right from the start, he had wanted to manage the issue privately, and not escalate it and be forced to take legal action.