Chee Hong Tat tells Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang why Lee Kuan Yew will stop the family quarrel

Another political office holder speaks out.

By Chan Cheow Pong | July 2, 2017

As Singaporeans countdown to the ministerial statement slated to be delivered by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on July 3 in Parliament, another political office holder has taken to social media to call for an end to the family dispute.

In a late night post on his Facebook on July 1, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Health Chee Hong Tat who had served as founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s Principal Private Secretary for three years, tried to impart lessons to reason with both Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling on what their father would have wanted.

Here’s a summary of what he wrote in his 534 word post:

1. Lee Kuan Yew will always put Singapore’s interest above personal interests.

“One thing I learnt from Mr Lee is to always put the country’s interests above personal interests. Mr Lee would make this point repeatedly in his discussions with Ministers and civil servants, and he demonstrated it through his actions. He drummed this into all of us.”

“Mr Lee would not wish for a family dispute to be turned into a public quarrel that hurt Singapore’s international standing. Neither would he wish for baseless allegations to be made against Government leaders and institutions, undermining confidence in the systems he created. Mr Lee would put Singapore’s interests above personal interests.”

2. Lee Kuan Yew believed in the rule of law

“Knowing Mr Lee, he would be the first to insist that the law must apply equally to his will and the house at 38 Oxley Road just as it does to all other Singaporeans. These are in accordance with the systems which he created. I have no doubt Mr Lee would want his successors in the Government to continue to uphold these systems and values. He would not have wanted his family to be given special treatment – in fact this would make him most unhappy as it goes against his values and what he believed in.”

3. Lee Kuan Yew will want the quarrelling to stop

“If my former Boss were still around, I think he would want everyone to put Singapore as the priority and stop all the quarrelling and finger-pointing, so that we can get back to running the country, solving the practical problems we are facing and improving the lives of our people.”

Read his full post below:

“I served as Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s Principal Private Secretary from 2008 to 2011. It was the best posting I ever had, as I had the opportunity to learn directly from Mr Lee and observe how he dealt with different types of people and handled difficult issues. During those 3 years, I also got to know Wei Ling and we became friends. Wei Ling is someone I admire and respect. She has strong views and can be very blunt at times, but she has a good heart and genuinely cares for the people around her.

It saddens me greatly to see what has been happening over the past 2 weeks, especially when I think of the pain it would bring to Mr and Mrs Lee. The wild allegations have damaged Singapore’s reputation, something which Mr Lee spent his entire life building up. I do not believe Wei Ling will intentionally cause harm to her country. So I have asked myself over and over again, why is she doing this? Has she been misled and misunderstood what happened?

One thing I learnt from Mr Lee is to always put the country’s interests above personal interests. Mr Lee would make this point repeatedly in his discussions with Ministers and civil servants, and he demonstrated it through his actions. He drummed this into all of us. He also believed in the rule of law and that no one, including himself, was above the law. These values formed the foundation of our nation building and differentiate Singapore from other countries in the region.

Knowing Mr Lee, he would be the first to insist that the law must apply equally to his will and the house at 38 Oxley Road just as it does to all other Singaporeans. These are in accordance with the systems which he created. I have no doubt Mr Lee would want his successors in the Government to continue to uphold these systems and values. He would not have wanted his family to be given special treatment – in fact this would make him most unhappy as it goes against his values and what he believed in.

Hsien Yang said he is “a man working to honour his father’s wishes”. Singapore was Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s lifelong passion and it is his legacy. Mr Lee would not wish for a family dispute to be turned into a public quarrel that hurt Singapore’s international standing. Neither would he wish for baseless allegations to be made against Government leaders and institutions, undermining confidence in the systems he created. Mr Lee would put Singapore’s interests above personal interests.

Beyond the dispute and allegations, we have many tough challenges we need to tackle to secure Singapore’s future – how to grow our economy and create good jobs for Singaporeans, how to keep Singapore safe and remain united as one people in the face of rising threats. If my former Boss were still around, I think he would want everyone to put Singapore as the priority and stop all the quarrelling and finger-pointing, so that we can get back to running the country, solving the practical problems we are facing and improving the lives of our people. — Hong Tat

Top photo from Chee Hong Tat facebook

About Chan Cheow Pong

It took Cheow Pong two decades to recover from the trauma of memorising General Paper essays before he was ready to be an English writer. In between affliction and recovery, he thoroughly enjoyed his time writing in Chinese and doing Chinese translations.

Morning Commute

Interesting stories to discuss with your colleagues in office later

Close