Singapore PM’s Brother Joins Opposition Ahead of Election

Lee Hsien Yang, the estranged brother of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has joined the opposition Progress Singapore Party a day after the city-state called for general elections to be held in July.

“I joined the party because I think that Dr. Tan is committed to doing the right thing for Singapore,” he told reporters Wednesday following a breakfast meeting with party founder Tan Cheng Bock. “There are issues of income inequality, there are issues of poverty, there are issues of governance and transparency, there are issues around housing, there are many issues that are alive.”

Lee declined to say if he would be contesting in the July 10 election, but said he would be contributing to the party “in many ways.”

Tan, once a member of parliament from the ruling People’s Action Party who narrowly lost a bid of his own to be Singapore’s president in 2011, said on Wednesday Lee’s “very presence with people is a strong indication of support for PSP already.”

“He is not just an ordinary person. His father is the founder of Singapore, so that’s very important,” Tan said, referring to Lee Kuan Yew, who died in 2015.

Lee Hsien Yang, in a two-minute video for the Progress Singapore Party released on Wednesday night, pointed out a “number of live issues which are of broad concern” in the upcoming election, including “a presidential election widely perceived to lack legitimacy.”

“The PAP has lost its way. My sister Wei Ling shares this view too,” Lee said. “The current government is distinctly different from when LKY was PM and subsequently MM,” he said, referring to his father’s time as prime minister and then minister mentor, a role Lee Kuan Yew took after stepping aside as prime minister in 2004.

Lee Hsien Yang, who’s engaged in a bitter public clash with his older brother over the fate of their father’s house, last year publicly endorsed Tan as the head of the newly-founded party, saying at the time the would-be rival to his brother is the leader the country “deserves.”

The argument around the family home at 38, Oxley Road near Singapore’s famous shopping belt on Orchard Road broke out on Facebook in 2017, marking a public display of acrimony from a family that’s been at the forefront of the city’s establishment since its independence in 1965.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee said during a national address that an election now “when things are relatively stable -- will clear the decks, and give the new government a fresh five-year mandate” at a time when the global Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the financial hub’s economy.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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