SINGAPORE: Singapore’s government said Friday it was taking legal action against the grandson of founding leader Lee Kuan Yew over a Facebook post linked to a family feud that has gripped the city-state.
The spat between Lee Kuan Yew’s three children—current prime minister Hsien Loong, corporate executive Hsien Yang, and neurologist Wei Ling—centers on what to do with their late father’s home, a century-old bungalow.
Lee Kuan Yew, who is widely credited with transforming Singapore from a British colony to one of Asia’s wealthiest countries, stated in his will that he wants the house torn down to avoid the building of a personality cult around him.
But the prime minister’s siblings said their brother is attempting to block the house’s demolition to capitalize on their father’s legacy for his own political agenda.
In a statement late Friday, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it was applying for permission to prosecute Li Shengwu over a July Facebook post in which he alleged the government was litigious and stifling freedom of speech over the spat.
Li, an academic at Harvard University, is the eldest son of Hsien Yang.
He had also posted links to a summary of the feud between his father, aunt and uncle.
The AGC had described his post as “an egregious and baseless attack on the Singapore Judiciary and constitutes an offence of contempt of court.”
It had asked Li to delete the post and sign an apology.
Instead he clarified his comments in a post earlier Friday, saying that it was not his intention to attack the judiciary.
“Any criticism I made is of the Singapore government’s litigious nature, and its use of legal rules and actions to stifle the free press,” he said.