Workers' Party concerned with allegations of abuse of power over 38 Oxley Road dispute

Workers' Party concerned with allegations of abuse of power over 38 Oxley Road dispute

38 Oxley Road 2
38 Oxley Road. (Photo: Howard Law)

SINGAPORE: The Workers' Party said it is of the view that the crux of the dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings over the 38 Oxley Road home should be resolved by the family privately or in court.

"We are only concerned with the allegations of abuse of power and the harm these have caused to confidence in Singapore and our political institutions," said the opposition party in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Jun 20). 

As such, six WP members have filed several parliamentary questions "to help clear the air" on the allegations against PM Lee, who had invited all Members of Parliament to vigorously question him and the Cabinet on the matter when Parliament sits on Jul 3. 

Among the WP's questions, the party's chairman Sylvia Lim wanted to know what rules are in place to ensure that ministers and senior public office holders with personal interests in a matter that's being deliberated by the Government do not influence or participate in the decision making process. 

Specifically, on Government decisions relating to the 38 Oxley Road home, Ms Lim asked if potential conflicts of interests from among members of the Cabinet were identified. 

MP Pritam Singh asked whether the Government would consent to a resolution to convene a Special Select Committee of Parliament, comprising members from all parties, to look into allegations of abuse of power along with "public hearings" for the matter.

MP Png Eng Huat wants to know what directives are in place to prevent ministers and other political appointees from "abusing their positions to access, influence and direct senior civil servants on matters beyond their professional course of work".

Non-constituency MP Daniel Goh asked the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth if a Deed of Gift signed in June 2015 by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling to the National Heritage Board was protected by a confidentiality clause, and if so, how was it released to the lawyers of the Prime Minister.

His fellow NCMP Leon Perera filed a question for the Prime Minister, asking under what circumstances are ministerial committees that are not made public convened, and whether independent heritage experts would be engaged by the committee that was set up to consider options for 38 Oxley Road.

The existence of the ministerial committee on the house was confirmed by Cabinet Secretary Tan Kee Yong last Wednesday, after PM Lee's siblings first mentioned it in their statement accusing their brother of abusing his power in Government.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has said there is "nothing secret" about the committee, and that the Government has the responsibility to consider the public interest aspects of any property with heritage and historical significance.

PM Lee said in a statement on Monday that he will refute the charges against him in a ministerial statement in Parliament on Jul 3, and has instructed that the PAP party whip be lifted to allow MPs to speak without being bound by their party's position.

Source: CNA/gs