SINGAPORE: The younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (Jul 28) said he “wholeheartedly” supports the principles and values of the new Progress Singapore Party (PSP).
In a Facebook post, Lee Hsien Yang added that the People’s Action Party (PAP) had “lost its way”.
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“I wholeheartedly support the principles and values of the Progress Singapore Party,” wrote Mr Lee. “Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of my father. It has lost its way,” he said, referring to Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
His comments come days after PSP’s Secretary-General Tan Cheng Bock said in a news conference that he would welcome the younger Mr Lee if he decided to join the party.
Dr Tan – a former PAP Member of Parliament – described Mr Lee as a “good friend”, noting that they have been seen walking about together.
However, he said Mr Lee would have to “adhere” to the PSP’s terms to come on board.
“Many people think that he’s coming to join me because of his own personal agenda,” Dr Tan said. “He must make clear what is his personal agenda … If he ever joins, he must join on my terms.”
During the news conference, Dr Tan explained why he set up the PSP, saying he believed the “processes of good governance have gone astray”.
“I worry because I see the foundations of good governance eroding. Specifically, there is an erosion of transparency, independence and accountability,” he said.
“Yet these are the three foundations for creating trust between the Government and the people … This means a robust system of checks and balances. This is what the people of Singapore want and this is what they should have – so that we can continue to hold our heads high and be proud of our system of government,” said Dr Tan.
Mr Lee said in a Facebook post earlier this year that Dr Tan was “the leader Singapore deserves”.
“I have known Cheng Bock for many years and he has consistently put the interests of the people first,” said Mr Lee in the post, dated Jan 24. “We are fortunate that he has stepped forward to serve Singapore.”
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In response to Dr Tan’s comments on the PAP, Deputy Prime Minster Heng Swee Keat said on Saturday that PAP leaders “fundamentally” disagreed with the assertion that there has been an “erosion” of transparency and accountability within the Government.
Mr Heng said PAP takes governance and governing Singapore very seriously, and has worked hard to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
“We fundamentally disagree with Dr Tan. But of course he is entitled to his opinions, just as all Singaporeans are entitled to opinions,” said Mr Heng, who is the PAP’s first assistant secretary-general.
“At the end of the day, the test is which party, which group of candidates have better ideas and better ability to deliver results for Singaporeans,” he added.
Mr Heng said Singaporeans are fair-minded, and will look at the quality of ideas and the ability to deliver results when they decide which political party or candidate can best serve them and take Singapore forward.
He also noted that Dr Tan has yet to articulate any policies for Singapore.
During the PSP’s press conference on Friday, Dr Tan declined to go into details on specific policy proposals, saying a “broad picture” would be given during the party’s official public launch on Aug 3.