10 common sense quotes by Low Thia Khiang in parliament about Oxley Road saga

Low: "this is not Korean drama show".

Martino Tan | July 03, 2017, 03:48 PM

One of the most anticipated speeches in parliament today, after PM Lee's statement, is probably the speech by Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang.

As the second parliamentarian to speak after Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yi Pin, the Aljunied GRC MP did not mince his words as he laid down WP's position, his personal take on the issue, and how the government can move on from the saga.

Here are 10 common sense quotes by Low in parliament about the Oxley Road saga:

1. "I would like to state from the outset that the Workers’ Party has only a simple and broad position on this unfortunate saga, that is, the Workers’ Party is concerned about how this saga would affect our nation."

2. "It is the hallmark of the PAP Government in the past to get to the bottom of such matters via the court."

Low mentioned the option of "going to court" four times in his speech.

3. "As an outsider to this dispute, I personally believe the acrimony between the Lee descendants has much deeper roots than just the fate of the house arising out of the will."

Low's reasoning is that all sides seem to be willing to risk the national interest by bringing this private matter into the public domain.

4. "This saga is distracting the government, distracting Singaporeans, and distracting the international audience and damaging the Singapore brand."

5. "Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling should not make vague allegations in the public domain against the Prime Minister based on scattered evidence centered on family displeasure."

Low said that making allegations that appear to be calculated to undermine the PM's authority does not make for constructive politics in Singapore.

For context, "constructive politics" is a term that both PM Lee and Low debated about in parliament in 2014.

Low said that the allegations are "reckless", adding that if LWL and LHY have evidence of PM's abuse of power, they should have made the details public by now and not wage a "continuous media campaign to keep the nation in suspense".

6. "Good government cannot be achieved in social media".

Like an elder statesman, Low said that the government should set an example and maintain its dignity in the face of insults to its integrity.

Low, who does not have a Facebook page, said that it should not get involved in a "Facebook brawl" for the whole world to see and that the Government should not continue with this dispute in the public domain.

7. "Can the Prime Minister clarify the role of the Law Minister and the Attorney General in this matter, and explain to the house whether there is any conflict of interest? If so, how they are going to account to the public for this? Is their current position still tenable?"

Low pointed out that it seems to him that Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam "was a close personal friend of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and other members of the Lee family" but is now "part of the Ministerial Committee which is looking at the issue of the house arising from the will." He asked whether there is "a conflict of interest".

Low also questioned whether there is a conflict of interest for current Attorney General Lucien Wong, who used to be PM Lee's personal lawyer in his private dispute against his siblings.

8. "I am personally perplexed and lost, as are many Singaporeans, on the Lee family saga. However, this is not (a) Korean drama show. It is a serious matter because it affects the credibility of our entire country."

Fun fact: PM Lee revealed once that Ho Ching is a "big fan" of Korean drama.

9. "I have a couple of personal suggestions for the Government to consider to end the matter and move on."

First, Low said that the correct platform to settle the private dispute is the Court, adding that individuals who made less serious allegations that undermine the reputation and authority of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers have been brought to task for libel.

Second, Low said that the Government has the power under the law to decide what to do with 38 Oxley Road house, arguing that the delay in acting was the primary reason for "this sorry state of affairs".

10. "I urge the Prime Minister and the cabinet to do whatever is necessary to bring this dispute to quick resolution."

Low concluded with two straightforward advice:

1) Settle the dispute in the appropriate forum, which is the court; and

2) Restore the line of distinction between the private and the public.