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Singapore leader faces fresh criticism from brother amid family feud

  • When speaking with CNBC Thursday, the leader of the Southeast Asian island nation said he was not sure whether the family dispute had been solved.
  • In response, his brother, Lee Hsien Yang, wrote in a post on Facebook: "Our brother says he is unsure that the feud is solved. Notwithstanding his public statements, Hsien Loong has made no attempt to reach out to us to resolve matters in private."
Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

An unprecedented public feud between Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings took another unexpected twist on Friday.

When speaking with CNBC Thursday, the leader of the Southeast Asian island nation said he was not sure whether the family dispute had been solved.

In response, his brother, Lee Hsien Yang, wrote in a post on Facebook: "Our brother says he is unsure that the feud is solved. Notwithstanding his public statements, Hsien Loong has made no attempt to reach out to us to resolve matters in private."

Lee's two younger siblings, neurologist Lee Wei Ling and businessman Lee Hsien Yang, shocked the country in June when they published a statement accusing the prime minister of abusing power and exploiting their father's legacy for political gains.

"Meanwhile, the Attorney General is busy prosecuting Hsien Loong's nephew for his private correspondence. The AGC's (Attorney General Chamber's) letters make repeated reference to the family feud," Lee Hsien Yang added on Facebook Friday.

Li Shengwu, the nephew of Singapore's prime minister, faces contempt of court proceedings for comments he made saying the country's courts were not independent. Li, a U.S.-based academic, said in August that he would not return to the city-state.

'These things take time'

Meantime, the rare public feud among the siblings over the fate of their late father's home led to the prime minister calling for a special sitting of parliament to defend the integrity of his government.

"I'm not sure that it is solved," was Lee's short response to CNBC's question on whether the dispute among members of the first family is over.

Lee gave long answers to topics ranging from North Korea to domestic leadership succession, but he took on an emotional tone and kept his responses short when CNBC brought up his siblings.

He admitted that he is "of course" sad about the incident and that he has not communicated with his brother and sister recently.

"I think they are where they are. Perhaps one day when emotions have subsided, some movements will be possible. These things take time," said the 65-year-old, who has been prime minister since 2004.