Singapore PM's Brother Joins Opposition Party: Will He Contest Next Month's Election?

Lee Hsien Yang and his sister Wei Ling have been embroiled in a dispute with Lee Hsien Loong over their family house, made by their father

Lee Hsien Yang, the estranged brother Singapore Prime Minister's Lee Hsien Loong, officially joined opposition party Progress Singapore Party, (PSP), led by former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock.

The announcement was made on Wednesday morning in a press conference in the presence of Hsien Yang by the party chief Tan Cheng Bock, though it was believed that he had joined the party three months ago.

This once again brings to fore the growing differences between the two brothers, who have been embroiled in a bitter spat for years. Hsien Yang has also been critical of his brother's People's Action Party, which has governed Singapore for the past seven decades.

Beginning of a New Tussle

 Lee Hsien Yang
Lee Hsien Yang is believed to have joined Progress Singapore Party at least three months back Reuters

On Wednesday morning Tan handed over a political party membership card to Hsien Yang, announcing his induction into the party at Tiong Bahru Market, which is in Tanjong Pagar GRC where his father was a Member of Parliament for 60 years. "This morning, I have great pleasure in giving the Progress Party membership card to Lee Hsien Yang," Tan said. The announcement comes less than a month before the General Election.

Hsien Yang, 62, is believed to have joined the part at least three months ago but PSP had been waiting for an ideal time to make a formal announcement. PSP has been aggressively preparing for this year's general election. Tan had earlier said that he is planning to field candidates in the western parts of Singapore like Chua Chu Kang, Nee Soon, and Tanjong Pagar GRCs as well as Pioneer, Hong Kah North, Marymount, Kebun Bahru, and Yio Chu Kang SMCs.

"I joined the party because I think that Dr Tan is committed to doing the right thing for Singapore and Singaporeans," Hsien Yang told reporters. He had earlier shown support to PSP through a Facebook post last year in July, days after Tan formed the party. Tan came to prominence after contesting the 2011 election where he almost defeated a candidate fielded by the ruling party of PM Lee Hsien Loong.

Will Hsien Yang Contest Election?

Family feud between Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong and his brother Lee Hsien Yang and sister Lee Wei Ling intensified after the commemoration activities held in March 2019 to mark the death of their father and Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew. REUTERS

Hsien Yang joining PSP is an indication that he now wants to challenge his brother openly and there couldn't have been a better choice than joining a rival party. However, it is still unclear if Hsien Yang will be contesting this year's election. The nomination day for the poll has been announced on June 30, which will be followed by campaigning before a cooling off day. The General Election is scheduled on July 10.

Hsien Yang has been critical of his brother's People's Action Party, which was formed by their father Lee Kuan Yew, and has governed Singapore since its independence in 1965. A family feud has been going on between the brothers for years, but now it is taking the shape of a political rivalry. Earlier, Hsien Yang and his sister Wei Ling got embroiled in a bitter spat with their brother over their family house, which reflected during commemoration activities held in March 2019 to mark the death of their father.