Chan Chun Sing: Related?

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Based on Cabinet Minister Chan Chun Sing’s logic:

“I am not related to Mr. Lee’s family. . .my surname is Chan and my wife’s surname is Low.”

Thanks to several readers and netizens for contributing to this post.

If anyone has additional info, please contact me to verify the data so that readers can stay informed. Thank you :)

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PART 1: PAP Chairman KHAW BOON WAN on Politicians

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In 2013, Mr Khaw said that when a person enters politics, there is “no difference between his or her public and private life.” He said the same thing in 2012.

PART 2: NETIZENS on Chan Chun Sing’s BACKGROUND

a) “Ascertaining his relationship is important as it also ascertains meritocracy or nepotism.”
(– Alvin Ong)

b) “According to CCS: my surname is Chan, my wife surname is Low, how are we related to Lee? So he wants to say only Lee’s can be related to Lee? Funny…”
(– Nelson Chan)

c) “CCS became full minister in a short span of time without any significant accomplishment. I wonder why.”
(– Bruce Wee)

PART 3: VERIFICATION + ADDITIONAL INFO

1. CHAN CHUN SING: “I’m Not Related to Mr. Lee”

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Chan Chun Sing at funeral of Kwa Geok Choo (Mrs. LKY). Source: AsiaOne

In 2011, a netizen posted a screenshot on a forum, which showed Chan Chun Sing standing behind members of Lee Kuan Yew’s family at the funeral of Mr. Lee’s wife, Kwa Geok Choo.

As to whether he is related to LKY, Chan Chun Sing said:

“I was at the funeral because the Army, under my charge then, was assigned the task of honouring the late Madam Kwa with the ceremonial gun carriage procession. . .My surname is Chan and my wife’s surname is Low. I don’t have any close relatives with the surname Lee as far as I know.”

Source: AsiaOne

  • Reader’s Comment: If Chan Chun Sing was at Kwa Geok Choo’s funeral in the “official capacity as the Chief of Army,” technically he should be dressed in formal military attire. Even then, he should be with other guests or military personnel. 

State-controlled newspaper, The Straits Times, mentioned that Chan Chun Sing’s parents are divorced (in an article dated 8 March 1988).

This ST article (20 August 1988) mentions Chan Chun Sing’s mother’s and sister’s names:

  • Mother: Kwong Kait Fong
  • Sister: Chan Siew Yin

His father’s name has not been mentioned.

The above two images are most likely of Chan Chun Sing’s wife, whose surname is Low. Her first name has not been mentioned.

2. MONICA LEE = Spouse of GEORGE CHAN CHOR CHEUNG

Monica Lee Kim Mon, who married a Chan, is the sister of Lee Kuan Yew. Her spouse was George Chan Chor Cheung, son of Chan Wing from Kuala Lumpur.

Chan Wing made his fortune in 1897 at age 24 with the opening of Hong Fatt Tin Mine. He had more than 20 children and was the richest person in Kuala Lumpur up to 1941. Chan Wing and 15 family members studied in Cambridge University (LKY’s alma mater). He had residences in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. He passed away in 1947.

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George Chan and Monica Lee in an LKY Lunar New Year family photo. Source: Peranakan Association Magazine Issue 1, 2015

George Chan Chor Chueng was a designer involved in the building of Jurong Bird Park [Kwa Soon Bee (brother of Mrs. LKY / Kwa Geok Choo) used to be the Chairman of Jurong Bird Park].

George Chan Chor Cheung passed away in October 2012. He is said by family members to have “never said a bad word about anyone.”

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Nassim Jade Purchases. Image from TangTalk.com

P.S. Chan Chee Chiu is a son of George Chan Chor Cheung. Monica Lee Kim Mon purchased a unit with Chee Chiu in the Nassim Jade scandal.

  • Reader Tip: The marriage record of George Chan Chor Cheung and Monica Lee Kim Mon can be retrieved from the Singapore Registry of Marriages for the month of October 1951.

3. HO CHING’S MOTHER = CHAN Chiew Ping

Ho Ching’s mother’s name is Chan Chiew Ping. She was from Taiping, Malaysia.

4. CHAN SIBLINGS + Mary SEET-CHENG (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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Alan Chan and sister, Chan Heng Chee. Source: SG Tatler

Alan Chan Heng Loon, Public Service Commission (PSC) Member and former principal private secretary to Lee Kuan Yew, has two “illustrious siblings“: Professor Chan Heng Chee and Chan Heng Wing.

Alan Chan was Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Chan Heng Chee is Ambassador-at-Large for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Chan Heng Wing is a senior advisor in Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mary Seet-Cheng is a Senior Specialist Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is married to Leonard Cheng Tye Loke, and has the same first and last name as Lee Kuan Yew’s aunt (Mary Seet nee Chua Swee Neo).

There is a “Leonard Cheng Tye Loke” listed in ICIJ’s Offshore Banking database.

4. SEET LI LIN and JHO LOW from 1MDB

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Seet Li Lin partying with Leonardo DiCaprio in Las Vegas and LA. Source: Sarawak Report / FB

  • Reader Tip: Please note this important fact. LKY’s mother’s sister married a SEET whose family has many siblings. One of them, SEET LI LIN, has become NOTORIOUS because he is the right hand man of Malaysia’s Jho Low and the 1MDB Scandal. This has appeared even in the US media. Seet is the son of one of the siblings related to Arthur Seet Keong Hoe (son of Seet Cheng Kang, who married Lee Kuan Yew’s aunt).

Seet Li Lin is a close colleague of Jho Low, both of whom are involved with the 1MDB scandal.

It is interesting that this “Seet Li Lin” has not been mentioned in local media such as The Straits Times.

From Seet Li Lin’s Facebook:

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The PAP Manifesto reminds me of my best pieces of work in college: loads of nice pics, big on fluff, a light touch on content, says a lot yet very little, somewhat convincing but actually confusing. Most important of all, we always get away with it by gaming the system.

Seet Li Lin, 21 April 2011

UPDATE (7 Sept 2015): According to Sarawak Report, Jho Low’s father, Larry Low Hock Peng, is on the list of frozen Swiss bank accounts.

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Larry Low Hock Peng, father of Jho Low. Source: Sarawak Report

A quick summary of names in Jho Low’s family:

  • Grandfather = Low Meng Tak
  • Father = Low Hock Peng, Larry
  • Son #1 = Jho Low
  • Son #2 = Szen Low

5. NG SIBLINGS (Parents and Spouses)

Ng Chee Khern was Chief of Air Force from 2006 – 2009. Ng Chee Peng was Chief of Navy from 2011 – 2014, and was appointed the CEO of CPF in Jan 2015. Former defence chief, Ng Chee Meng, has been touted as a potential office-bearer.

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Ng Brothers | Image by Roy Ngerng

Ng Chee Peng’s wife is Valerie Low Yin Lee, who shares the same surname as the wife of Chan Chun Sing. Ng Chee Meng’s wife is Datin Michelle Lim Bee Leng. Ng Chee Khern’s wife is Elaine Ng, CEO of National Library Board.

Ng Ban Hin and Lee Hang Foe are the parents of the Ng siblings. A photo of them is available on Page 9 in this PDF document.

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Ng Ban Hin (Father) | Source: NLB

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Lee Hang Hoe (Mother) | Source: NLB

6. IVY LIM and NG ENG HEN

Prof. Ivy Lim Swee Lian, CEO of Singhealth, is married to Minister for Defence, Ng Eng Hen.

Ivy Lim Swee Lian has the same first name and last name as Ivy Lim Seok Cheng, sister-in-law of Kwa Geok Choo (Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew). Ivy Lim Seok Cheng’s father was Lim Chong Pang, whose father-in-law was Lee Choon Guan.

Lee Choon Guan co-founded the Chinese Commercial Bank in 1912. In 1932, the Chinese Commercial Bank and the Ho Hong Bank (founded by Lim Peng Siang) merged with the Overseas-Chinese Bank to form the Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC Bank).

Ng Eng Hen is said to be the nephew of real estate tycoon, Ng Teng Fong (who had 10 siblings).

  • Reader Tip: A forum poster said the Chinese newspapers mentioned Ng Eng Hen as “the nephew” of Ng Teng Fong. Does anyone have a newspaper clipping?
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Ng Eng Hen at the wake of Ng Teng Fong.

6. NG TENG FONG and ROBERT NG

The late Mr. Ng Teng Fong (founder of Far East Organization) was billed as Singapore’s richest man by Forbes magazine in September 2009.

Robert Ng Chee Siong is the son of Ng Teng Fong. Robert Ng is a board member of Temasek and is married to Yeoh Saw Kheng (楊素瓊), the third daughter of Dr. Yeoh Ghim Seng, the former Speaker of Parliament of Singapore (Source: CapitalProfile PDF).

Ng Teng Fong’s family has close ties to the governments of Singapore, Hong Kong and China (Source: PDF document). The Ngs have also enjoyed a close relationship with Lee Kuan Yew.

7. LOW YEN LING

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Low Yen Ling, 2011

Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development, has refrained from revealing the names of her husband and her father in previous interviews.

Could she be related to the spouses of Chan Chun Sing and Ng Chee Meng?

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Mrs. Goh Chok Tong and Mrs. LKY

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* Chart and verification below. If readers know of any inaccuracies, please contact me to verify the data. Thank you :)

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Short Version: Mrs. Goh Chok Tong and Mrs. LKY were in the same law firm.

Longer Version:

1) Mrs. Goh Chok Tong (nee Tan Choo Leng) is well-known for commenting that the annual salary of S$600,000 drawn by National Kidney Foundation’s CEO was considered “peanuts.”

This is Tan Choo Leng’s profile page as a Senior Consultant in WongPartnership. Note the line:

“During her practice as a senior partner with another top law firm in Singapore. . .”

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Tan Choo Leng, Senior Consultant | WongPartnership

Mysteriously, the above bio leaves out the fact that Lee & Lee law firm is the other “top law firm in Singapore” where Mrs. Goh Chok Tong was a senior partner.

2) In 1985, Goh Chok Tong commented that he was not worried of being viewed as a “seat-warmer” for the next Prime Minister.

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Source: SG Monitor (8 May 1985)

3) Lee Hsien Loong was sworn in as Singapore’s third Prime Minister on 12 August 2004.

4) Ho Ching became the CEO of Singapore Technologies Engineering in 1997.

5) Winston Tan Tien Hin was a non-executive director of ST Engineering from 1997 – 2011.

6) Former Old Guard Chua Sian Chin’s wife was Alice Tan Kim Lian. He became a partner in Lee & Lee law firm in 1965. Mr. Chua had helmed the Health, Home Affairs and Education ministries.

7) These screenshots show that Winston Tan is the brother-in-law of Chua Sian Chin.

Chua Sian Chin is listed here as the son-in-law (who is married to Alice). Winston Tan Tien Hin and Alice Tan Kim Lian are siblings.

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Source: ST.

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Winston Tan from “Singapore Technologies Engineering”; same mother’s name as above image. Source: ST.

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Wife = Alice Tan Kim Lian.

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SIDE NOTE:

A reader pointed out that “Tan Choo Leng was advising landlords as a senior partner (is that somehow related to why rental is so high in Singapore?).”

One wonders how much money a senior partner in Lee & Lee law firm makes, so much so that $600,000 is equivalent to peanuts.

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All in the FamiLee

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Associated words used by netizens: FamiLEE, LEE-gime, LEEgalised corruption, LEEgacy, and Marry-tocracy.

I was very curious about a Lee Family Tree graphic that was created by Alternative View SG.

I have gathered some excerpts from reliable sources which verify most of the family ties in this Lee Family Tree image.

If readers know of any inaccuracies, please contact me to verify the data. Thank you :)

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* SECTION 1: RUMOURS AND SPECULATIONS

1) RUTH LEE = LKY’s Niece

Wong Kan Seng is married to Ruth Lee Hong Geok, who is rumoured to be the daughter of Lee Suan Yew (Lee Kuan Yew’s brother). If this is true, it makes Ruth Lee LKY’s niece.

Here are a couple of pictures of Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng:

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Wong Kan Seng with his wife, Ruth Lee Hong Geok. Image from Veritas.

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Ruth Lee and Wong Kan Seng. Image from RememberingLKY.

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Lee Kuan Yew extended family picture, taken on Chinese New Year’s Eve (1993). From LKY’s memoir, “The Man and His Ideas” (pg-246).

In the above picture taken in 1993, it looks like the woman to the right of Ho Ching is Shermay Lee (LKY’s niece). Her parents are Pamelia Lee and Lee Suan Yew, who have four children.

In a Straits Times interview, Shermay Lee said she has an older sister and younger twin brothers. (Note: I am guessing these younger twin brothers are in the 1993 black and white picture above, in front on the right.)

Pamelia Lee is standing and in the centre of the 1993 photo. Looking at this pictures makes me wonder if the woman to the left of Pamelia Lee is “Ruth Lee,” the older sister that Shermay referred to.

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* SECTION 2: VERIFIED BY RELIABLE SOURCES

This section contains excerpts and screenshots which verify the other family ties in the Lee Family Tree graphic.

1) HO SING = HO CHING’S Younger Brother

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Ho Ching (left; image from SI). Ho Sing (right; image from YTL).

A 2010 Today Online article mentioned that Ho Sing, then 44, is the brother of Temasek CEO Ho Ching.

Ho Sing has worked with several Singapore Technologies-affiliated companies. At YTL, Mr. Ho oversees a growing list of assets in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China and Japan.

Ho Ching was the CEO of Singapore Technologies Group from 1997-2001. A 2007 NYT article mentioned that a Temasek spokesman was unwilling to reveal Ho Ching’s age or date of birth, although a Temasek bond document in 2005 said she was 52.

As the following netizen says: “I don’t understand why all the secrecy.”

2) HO PENG = HO CHING’S Younger Sister

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Ho Peng. Image from ST.

A 2005 Fortune Magazine interview mentioned that Ho Peng, who was then working as the Curriculum Planning and Development director at the Ministry of Education (Singapore), is Ho Ching’s sister.

Ms. Ho Peng was appointed Director-General of Education in April 2009. She retired from the MOE in March 2015.

3) GRACE FU = DAUGHTER OF JAMES FU

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James Fu was Mr. LKY’s press secretary from 1972 to 1993.

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Grace Fu. Image from Wiki.

Grace Fu, senior minister of state, is the daughter of James Fu.

In 2012, she wrote about the difficulties of “the recent pay cut” in ministers’ salaries. With a 37% pay cut, entry-level ministers would get an annual salary starting from S$1,100,000.

4) KWA CHONG SENG = NEPHEW OF LKY’S WIFE

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Kwa Chong Seng. Image from PSC.

Kwa Chong Seng, PSC member, was the Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited from 1997 to 2012.

“It was in the immediate wake of the HPL affair of 1996 that LKY initiated a series of changes to the relationship between the DCAC and the GLCs — changes that were part of a broader overhaul of the financial sector that finally came to fruition in 1999. Lee Hsien Loong as Deputy Prime Minister was given special responsibility for this project and set about changing the structure — and the personnel — in the GLC sector.

This activity marked a major shift of institutional power away from Goh and Richard Hu and to members of the Lee family and a few Lee loyalists. First the power to appoint board members and non-executive directors of GLCs was transferred from the DCAC to Temasek holdings.

This is significant because it occured around the same time (1996) that LKY loyalist S. Dhanabalan was appointed Chairman of Temasek Holdings and LKY’s wife’s nephew, Kwa Chong Seng, was appointed Deputy Chairman of Temasek Holdings (1997).

It may be significant that at about the same time (1997) Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, was appointed Executive Director and CEO of the Singapore Technologies Group, which is the Temasek-owned holding company for defence-related GLCs.”

(Source: The Ruling Elite of Singapore, by Michael Barr)

5) KWA SOON BEE (LKY’s Brother-In-Law)

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Kwa Soon Bee. Image from KeppelLand.

“Many senior business figures in Asia are related to other prominent figures by blood or by marriage. The connections in Asia are often not obvious to outsiders but they can be a minefield for the unwary.

The mix of marriages and blood relations in Asia can make for some complex webs. Here are a few examples that involve some of Asia’s biggest business names:

Lee Kim Yew, Chairman of the Singapore food company Cerebos Pacific, is a brother of Singapore’s Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Lee Kim Yew’s wife is Gloria Lee, the founder of one of Singapore’s most prominent stock brokerages Kim Eng Securities.

A third brother is Lee Suan Yew, a past director of Singapore’s Hotel Properties Ltd. His wife, Pamelia Lee, has been a senior director at the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. Kwa Soon Bee, the brother of Lee Kuan Yew’s wife Kwa Geok Choo, is a former permanent secretary of health and a member of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board.

Lee Kuan Yew’s sons Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Hsien Yang are deputy prime minister of Singapore and head of Singapore Telecom respectively. Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching, is head of Temasek Holdings.”

(Source: Big in Asia, by Palgrave Macmillan / 2003)

6) TAN CHIN TUAN (OCBC Pioneer + Tony Tan’s Uncle + LKY’s Uncle-in-Law)

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Group Photograph of Founding Members of OCBC, 1932, showing Tan Chin Tuan (front row; fourth from left) and Kwa Siew Tee (back row; third from left). Source: Veritas / NAS.

  • Kwa Siew Tee is Lee Kuan Yew’s father-in-law.
  • Lee Kuan Yew’s mother-in-law, Wee Yew Neo and Banker Tan Chin Tuan’s wife, Helen Wee (a banker’s daughter), are half-sisters.
  • Which makes Tan Chin Tuan LKY’s uncle-in-law.
  • Tony Tan is Tan Chin Tuan’s nephew. Tony Tan was sworn in as President on 1 September 2011.

This is a picture of Kwa Siew Tee and Wee Yew Neo:

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President Yusof Ishak with Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew’s Parents, Kwa Siew Tee (left) and Wee Yew Neo (right), 1968. | Image from National Archives of Singapore.

This screenshot from Geni (a genealogy directory) states that Helen Wee and Wee Yew Neo are half-sisters.

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Wee Yew Neo. Image from Geni.

These screenshots show that Helen Wee was married to Tan Chin Tuan.

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Family of Tan Chin Tuan. Image from NLB.

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Tan Chin Tuan. Image from Geni.

According to the blog Veritas:

Without the Kwa family network of powerful families, it is questionable whether LKY could have emerged as the leader of the PAP in the 1950s, given that there were many other extremely capable and charismatic leaders in the party. The nexus of Kwa family probably also helped LKY to win the trust of the British, which handed over to him the control of security apparatus. That is the key with which LKY was able to arrest his political opponents.

7) TEO CHENG GUAN (father of DPM Teo Chee Hean):

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Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of SG.

Teo Cheng Guan was the sixth chairman of OCBC Bank, and the father of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

He was on the same management board as Tan Chin Tuan, Tony Tan’s uncle.

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* SECTION 3: SAY THE WORD AND GET SUED

Definition of “Nepotism”: The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. (Oxford)

A summary of how “nepotism” is a sensitive word in Singapore — including publications that were sued for alleging that high-ranking Singapore officials got their jobs through nepotism.

1) “Days after political website Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) revealed Mr Richard Wan as of one of its editors, lawyers acting for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued him a five-page letter in 2012, demanding that the website remove an opinion piece that contained comments which alleged “nepotistic motives” in the appointment of Lee’s wife as head of sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. After retracting the article, Wan published an apology on the website, and urged TRE readers to refrain from making similar comments.”
(Source: SG Rebel and Asia Sentinel)

2) “The problems created by Lee Kuan Yew’s urge to control most aspects of Singaporeans’ lives are more subtle than nepotism. Lack of political and economic freedom [is] the cancer at the heart of Singapore.”
(Source: WSJ)

3) “In its apology, Bloomberg said its article had implied that Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had put the Lee family’s interests above the country’s in allowing Ms. Ho’s appointment, and that her husband and father-in-law were guilty of nepotism. Lawyers for the three men accused Bloomberg and Mr. Smith of acting maliciously. The article has been removed from Bloomberg’s Web site and subscription service.”
(Source: NYT)

4) “The Financial Times has apologised and paid libel damages and costs to Singapore’s prime minister and the country’s founding father after accusing them of nepotism.”
(Source: Guardian)

5) “The International Herald Tribune apologised, settled the $678,000 in libel damages, and, as part of the settlement, [columnist] Bowring agreed that he would not say or imply that Lee Hsien Long took office through nepotism.”
(Source: Foreign Policy)

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* SECTION 4: IS NEPOTISM CORRUPTION?

According to Wikipedia:

Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement.

Some other excerpts:

1) “Corruption comes in different forms and nepotism is one of its most subtle and overpowering forms. . .it marks the destruction of a meritocracy which should be the basis of admissions or employment. The problem with nepotism is even though only a few people in power have the ability to use nepotism for their own gain, its effects are widespread and affect many people.”
(Source: DNA)

2) “Favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism all interfere with fairness because they give undue advantage to someone who does not necessarily merit this treatment.

In the public sphere, favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism also undermine the common good. When someone is granted a position because of connections rather than because he or she has the best credentials and experience, the service that person renders to the public may be inferior.

Also, because favoritism is often covert (few elected officials are foolish enough to show open partiality to friends, and family), this practice undercuts the transparency that should be part of governmental hiring and contracting processes.”
(Source: Santa Clara University)

3) “When patronage, nepotism, and cronyism become popular mechanisms for government to select appointees for important positions, the corruption of collusion (i.e. conspiracy) will unavoidably take place.”
(Source: Government Anti-Corruption Strategies)

4) “There needs to be a change. Singapore is not the Lee Family and we need to get rid of the climate of fear.”
(Source: KJ in IB Times)

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* SECTION 5: CLOSING COMMENTS

X’ Ho on Nepotism:

“Is nepotism not considered corruption? Just consider: LKY’s son is PM, his other son was head of Singtel and is CEO of Civil Aviation Authority, his daughter-in-law is in charge of the sovereign wealth fund, his relative is President. I could go on but it is absolutely clear that the entire family benefited enormously from his ruthless control of the government. The gov lost 40% of the vote in the last election & yet still retains 82 out of 89 seats in parliament? Why? The electoral system has been gerrymandered & twisted to the ruling party’s benefit entirely corruptly. No corruption? Absolute rubbish & nonsense.”
(Source: Chris Ho)

Former ISD Director on PM LHL and Ho Ching:

“She did not marry me and become Temasek Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer. I married her because she had the talent of a CEO.” This was the dramatic revelation of PM Lee Hsien Loong in referring to his wife, Ms Ho Ching, in an interview with Mr. Phil Ponce, host of the Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11 last Thursday. Apparently, this was said to pre-empt Mr. Ponce from popping the question of nepotism in the Singapore government.
(Source: SG Recalcitrant)

Comment:

“You can see they all ‘kaki lang‘ (one of us) — damn jia lat (this is serious).”
(Source: breakaway)

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MORE INFO (re: the “wider” family tree):

1) Why It Might Be Difficult For The Government To Withdraw From Business
(Singapore-Window)

2) “The Lee Dynasty of Singapore”
(Comment)

3) The Beginning of The End of Lee Kuan Yew’s Dynasty?
(CSIS)