Former PAP MP for Aljunied GRC George Yeo claims in his latest book that the late Lee Kuan Yew had “harmed” the PAP’s Aljunied team by antagonising voters during the 2011 General Election.
According to Yeo, Lee did this deliberately for a “tactical purpose”.
The PAP team was ousted from Aljunied GRC by the Workers’ Party in GE2011 despite Yeo being the Foreign Affairs Minister at the time.
Even his embarrassing public crying plea for support on social media was not enough to win over the majority of voters, 54.7 percent of whom voted for the WP.
Lee, who was then Minister Mentor, had notoriously said that Aljunied voters would have “5 years to repent” if the PAP team in Aljunied lost.
“We accept the verdict of the people, but they must also accept the consequences of their actions. You must expect the PAP to look after PAP constituencies first.”
He also cast aspersions on the intentions of the WP:
“It’s not just to win one GRC. Let’s have no hypocrisy about this, every political party sets out to win and win a majority and they are setting out from a single constituency to a GRC and then expand to more GRCs and then take over. It’s up to you to decide whether they are capable of running Singapore.”
Lee had earlier threatened Singaporeans, saying that voters will “pay the price, the hard way” if they voted for the opposition.
Yeo subsequently lost in Aljunied GRC and retired from politics.
In “George Yeo: Musings”, he wrote that Lee apologised to him privately for his comments, but did not do so publicly.
He said that he was “disappointed” with Lee’s actions.
“Lee Kuan Yew always told us that a public offence could not be made up by a private apology. As a politician, I understood the tactical purpose.”
However, Yeo said, Lee’s comments drew the heat from elsewhere during an election when there was “considerable anger” against the PAP.
After hearing of Lee’s declining health in Sept 2013, Yeo contacted Lee’s office to convey his birthday wishes.
Yeo and his wife then met Lee for the first time since the bad blood of 2011.
Their last meeting was at the 2014 National Day Parade.
Lee died on 23 March 2015.