Singapore

PM's brother set to leave Singapore

Lee Hsien Yang and wife say they fear use of state organs against them

Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is making preparations to leave Singapore with his wife, but does not know yet when he will leave and where he will be going.

He told The Straits Times yesterday that it was the only sensible option left for him.

"There are many ways people are made to feel uncomfortable," he added.

"I am a person who spent his life here, who has done public service, contributed in the private sector. This is my home. I would not do this unless I really felt there is a serious issue.

"And I have felt this is not where I can continue to live, the way I have been living in the last two years."

Mr Lee, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, was elaborating on a statement that he and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, had issued in the wee hours of yesterday morning.

They said they felt closely monitored and feared the use of state organs against them.

The situation made Mr Lee feel compelled to leave Singapore "for the foreseeable future", said the statement, which centred on a dispute over the house of their late father, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

But he later told The Straits Times that if PM Lee was no longer in a position of power, "I would reconsider my position".

Following their statement, The Straits Times went to their home at around 10.30am.

Mr Lee had already left for work. His wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern, a top corporate lawyer, was on her way to work. She said they were making preparations to leave Singapore.

The couple, however, have not decided where they would go or when they would leave, Mr Lee told The Straits Times.

He also said his three adult sons, Shengwu, Huanwu and Shaowu, do not live with him any more and would make their own decisions.

Eldest son Shengwu, a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, posted the statement on his Facebook page and said: "I generally avoid commenting on Singapore politics, but this is an exception. In the last few years, my immediate family has become increasingly worried about the lack of checks on abuse of power.

"The situation is now such that my parents have made plans to relocate to another country, a painful decision that they have not made lightly."

Mr Lee and Dr Lee are joint executors and trustees of the estate of their late father, and they have pushed for his house at 38, Oxley Road to be demolished, in keeping with his wish as stated in his will.

In December 2015, PM Lee said in a joint statement with his two siblings that he hoped the Government would allow the late Mr Lee's wish to be honoured, adding that he would recuse himself from government decisions on the house.

Mr Lee told The Straits Times that the will was prepared by his cousin Kwa Kim Li, a lawyer at Lee & Lee, the firm his father and mother, Madam Kwa Geok Choo, had co-founded in 1955.

He added that his wife had only prepared the words of his father's wish to have the house demolished.

He also said the committee should not be looking at a will, which has been deemed valid by the court in probate. He said: "A will in probate is beyond doubt and is the established and binding will of an estate."

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Lee Hsien LoongLee Kuan YewSingapore