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Singapore PM responds to abuse of power claims

Pete Marovich | Pool | Getty Images

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong greets guests during an official visit to the White House on August 2, 2016.

In a video message on Monday, the PM said he would first deliver a ministerial statement on July 3 to refute the “baseless accusations” made by his siblings, followed by the open Q&A session. He expressed hoped that this “full, public airing” in parliament would “dispel any doubts that have been planted.”

In a fiery statement last Wednesday, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang — the PM’s younger sister and brother, respectively — claimed their elder brother was exploiting their father’s legacy for political gain. Hsien Yang also announced he would be leaving the country, citing the PM as the sole reason for his departure. Singapore’s founding father and parent to all three siblings, Lee Kuan Yew passed away in 2015.

The family dispute has affected Singapore’s reputation and citizens’ confidence in government, the PM declared on Monday.

Given the gravity of the situation, analysts weren’t surprised by the decision to deal with the matter in parliament.

“The PM had to do something about this amid fears it could impact investor confidence and the economy,” said Mustafa Izzuddin, a fellow at the ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute, a Singapore-based think tank. “There is a social compact that exists between government and people so when situations threaten to break the compact, action is needed.”

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