In what seems like another Lee family’s spate aired public, the Ministry of Law hit out at the Prime Minister’s sister-in-law for criticising the government scheme Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QDLP). Delivering a lecture at organised by the Law Society, the wife of Lee Hsien Long’s younger brother (Lee Hsien Yang), Lee Suet Fern, criticised the Singapore government for allowing foreign law firms to operate in Singapore and taking away the business of local law firms.
Lee Suet Fern said foreign law firms are not developing enough local talents and yet making profits that would have otherwise went to local law firms:
“The six original QFLP firms, despite generating $1.2 billion in revenue between 2009 and 2014, had hired only about 100 out of thousands of Singapore-qualified lawyers. Foreign law firms had given local ones a run for their money.”
The Ministry of Law took offense with Lee Suet Fern’s comments and rebutted that the government scheme opened up new opportunities for Singaporean lawyers who were keen to do transnational commercial work. The Law Ministry also defended the foreign law firms saying that most of their businesses are generated from overseas, which the ministry reasoned would not have been brought in by local law firms for unknown reasons:
“For 2014/2015, the nine foreign firms granted QFLP status generated $340 million in revenue, with 80 per cent coming from offshore work, or work that could have been done elsewhere. Exports of legal services in 2014 were worth $700 million – $400 million contributed by foreign law firms.”
The Law Ministry also hit out at Lee Suet Fern saying that she flipped-flopped on her position on the government scheme:
“Mrs Lee’s arguments appeared at odds with her previous positions, the ministry disclosed that she had sought to join the scheme in 2014.”
Earlier last week, Lee Hsien Loong and his wife openly criticised his sister Lee Wei Ling for spreading falsehoods. Lee Wei Ling hit back at Lee Hsien Loong calling him out for establishing a dynasty while Lee Hsien Loong’s wife posted a photo of a monkey pointing it’s middle finger on Facebook as a response.