TL;DR – The couple had absconded after agreeing to cooperate with police investigations, among other things.
Is anyone still following the #FamiLee saga?
In case you haven’t been following, on 2 March 2023, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean disclosed that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has commenced investigations into Lee Hsien Yang and his wife, Lee Suet Fern for providing false evidence in judicial proceedings over former Prime Minister (PM) Lee Kuan Yew’s will.
Lee Suet Fern found guilty of grossly improper professional conduct. Here are the 3 evidence:
In a written reply, the Senior Minister said that the couple had left Singapore after refusing to go for a police interview that they had initially agreed to attend.
On 20 March 2023, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam explained why the investigation into the couple, and their names, have been made public.
His clarifications came after Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai (PSP), and Workers’ Party Member of Parliament (MP) Leon Perera had questions as to why the names of the couple were disclosed while being investigated.
Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern have absconded
Typically, law enforcement agencies generally do not disclose the names of individuals who have been or are being investigated, said the Minister for Home Affairs and Law. However, this general principle is subject to exceptions.
Such exceptions include:
- When the offender has absconded or left the jurisdiction while investigations are ongoing
- When the facts of the case and the individuals who may have committed the alleged offences are already publicly known
And in Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern’s case, their circumstances fall under these exceptions, both absconding and public interest, and hence their names were disclosed.
While some of us have gotten quite sick of this #FamiLee saga, here are two interesting points that are worth pondering over.
Why did Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern abscond themselves from jurisdiction?
In a phone interview with Bloomberg News, Lee Hsien Yang reportedly revealed that the couple had been living in self-imposed exile in Europe for months but declined to say where exactly.
Separately, in a lengthy Facebook post on 7 March, Lee Hsien Yang also lamented about how he has been made a fugitive by his own country for standing up for a promise he made to his father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Now, if Lee Hsien Yang truly believes that he is not an absconder, then why didn’t he return and prove himself? Why did he choose to “self-exile” himself?
Why is PSP’s Leong Mun Wai so concerned about the #FamiLee saga, and not the other case in which the police also name the accused?
Notably, Leong alleged that there was “double standards” when dealing with the Lees’ case.
He drew a comparison by asking why the names of the six former management staff of Keppel Offshore and Marine Limited (KOM) were not publicly disclosed while they were being investigated, while Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern’s name were disclosed.
In response to his question, Shanmugam pointed out that he had already explained the difference between the cases. In his explanation, Shanmugam said that the case of KOM does not fall within the different exceptions and examples he had set out.
Shanmugam also noted that in the case of KOM, the conduct had taken place overseas, and key witnesses and documents are not available. He added that the information available was not adequate to mount any criminal charge, and hence, in these circumstances, the general policy of not disclosing the names of individuals who have been under investigation applies.
Shanmugam then questioned Leong about his “extraordinary interest” in the Lees’ case and pointed out that Leong had not raised objections when Karl Liew’s name was disclosed in the House in 2020.
So, who is the one with “double standards” here?
Well, it is not new news that Lee Hsien Yang is a part of the PSP. The act of Leong jumping into the Lees’ defense, in fact, does not leave much to the imagination.