“INDIAN-ORIGINMINISTERS MISINTERPRETED COMMENTS”
Singapore: Asserting that he “simply stated facts” published in the media, Lee Hsien Yang, brother of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said the Indian-origin ministers have misinterpreted his comments relating to the rental of two colonial-era bungalows in the city-state.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had sent lawyers’ letters to Yang in July seeking an apology for making defamatory allegations. The ministers stated that Yang has accused them of acting corruptly and for personal gain by having Singapore Land Authority (SLA) give them preferential treatment by illegally felling trees without approval, and also having SLA pay for renovations to 26 and 31 Ridout Road.
The 26 and 31 Ridout Road are two 100-year-old bungalows in the Ridout Park area that have been rented to Shanmugam and Balakrishnan. “These allegations are false,” Shanmugam and Balakrishnan wrote on their Facebook posts on July 27.
Responding to the Ministers, Yang said: “Shanmugam and V Balakrishnan are wrong about what I said. My post did not assert that Shanmugam and V Balakrishnan acted corruptly or for personal gain by having SLA give them preferential treatment by illegally felling trees without approval and also having SLA pay for renovations for them.
“My post simply stated facts that were already widely published in the Singapore and international media.” According to The Straits Times, Yang was referring to the SLA, a statutory board that comes under the Ministry of Law overseen by Shanmugam.
“My post was made in the UK. If K. Shanmugam and V. Balakrishnan believe that they have a real case, then they should sue me in the UK,” Yang, who was the former CEO of telco SingTel, stated in his post. Yang and his wife Lee Suet Fern had left Singapore after coming under police investigation for lying during judicial proceedings.
So far, Yang has made at least eight Facebook posts on Ridout Road bungalows rented to the two Indian-origin ministers. In July, he was also asked to carry a correction notice on the Facebook posts accusing ministers of graft.
The Ridout Road property rental issue was first taken up by opposition politician and Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam in May when he questioned if the ministers were “paying less than the fair market value” for their rental of the two-state properties.
It was debated in Parliament in July, following a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigation and a review by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean. The CPIB said in its report that it did not find any wrongdoing on the part of the two ministers, while Teo’s review found that processes had been followed.