SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong apologized on Monday that a dispute with his siblings over their late father Lee Kuan Yew’s will has had an impact on citizens’ confidence in the government.
The feud between the children of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, over the future of the family home erupted publicly last week in a flurry of accusations and denials through press releases and Facebook postings, which also touched on Lee Hsien Loong’s leadership.
The prime minister’s brother, Lee Hsien Yang, and sister, Lee Wei Ling, said they had lost confidence in their older brother as a leader and feared that state power would be used against them in their dispute with him.
Prime Minister Lee denied the allegations made by his siblings, and said he would make a statement on the charges and answer questions when parliament sits on July 3.
“I deeply regret that this dispute has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the government,” the prime minister said in a statement and a video message posted on his Facebook page.
“These allegations go beyond private and personal matters, and extend to the conduct of my office and the integrity of the government,” he said.
“They must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted.”
The prime minister assured citizens that the dispute “will not distract me and my cabinet colleagues from our responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including the pressing economic and security challenges we face”.
Lee Hsien Yang, who said he and his wife would be leaving Singapore because they felt closely monitored and threatened, has no immediate comment.
Lee Wei Ling could not be immediately reached for comment.
In his last will, part of which was released by Lee Hsien Yang on Thursday, Lee Kuan Yew, who ruled Singapore for three decades, said he wanted his house, a humbly furnished home near the bustling Orchard shopping district, to be demolished.
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel)