The Workers’ Party took issues again with the appointment of Attorney-General Lucien Wong in the Parliament debate yesterday about the allegations surrounding 38 Oxley Road.
The Attorney-General has been dragged into the Familee saga when he was first mentioned in the joint public statement published by Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling on June 14 when they said they received letters in 2015 from PM Lee’s then personal lawyer Lucien Wong regarding the Deed of Gift.
Several other individuals whose names have been thrown up in the saga has spoken up to state their position. But so far, we have not heard anything from Lucien Wong.
So, who is Lucien Wong?
He is an ACS boy who studied his pre-university education at National Junior College. Lucien Wong studied law in the National University of Singapore and graduated top of his class in 1978. He was awarded the Adrian Clark Memorial Medal and the Leow Chin Heng Prize for his stellar results.
After graduation, Lucien Wong joined Drew & Napier as a legal assistant after graduation. He rose quickly to become partner of the firm in 1982.
From 1987 to 1998, Lucien Wong was a partner at Allen & Gledhill where he continued to stay on for the rest of his private sector career. Lucien was managing partner at the firm from 1998 to 2012, when he became chairman and senior partner. His specialization is in banking, corporate and financial works.
He also held extracurricular activities as the chairman/ director of Maritime Port Authority of Singapore, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Temasek Holdings, Singapore Press Holdings and Hap Seng Plantations Holdings.
Why are tongues wagging about his appointment as AG?
- He is the first ever AG to have no experience on the Bench, and to have never acted for the State in legal matters. He also has no experience on criminal justice matters.
- Lucien Wong was appointed AG at age 63, to replace V. K. Rajah, who hit the retirement age of 60 under the law for the AG. When queried in Parliament about this, Law Minister Shanmugam said that the Govt can arbitrarily decide to appoint someone above the age of 60
Why is it a problem that he is linked to the FamiiLee saga?
Misgivings about his appointment have not been settled and now he has been identified as the lawyer who acted for PM Lee regarding the Deed of Gift which is a point of contention between PM Lee and his siblings. From being PM Lee’s private lawyer, Lucien Wong is now head of AGC who is advising the Govt on the Familee issue.
How do we move on from here?
The Govt has explained that there will be no conflict of interest as Lucien Wong will recuse himself from the matters regarding 38 Oxley Road. (But the deputy AG is Hri Kumar, a former PAP member. Just pointing it out).
On Lucien Wong’s appointment as AG, the Govt has also explained that Lucien Wong is a top lawyer with much to contribute to the public service and it is a waste of talent to pass him over.
Ok, perhaps like what WP MP Png Eng Huat said, while such relationships may not allude to anything, the personal and commercial relationships between PM Lee and the appointed AG should have be publicly disclosed in the name of transparency.
And perhaps, that would have helped to reduce the controversy over the AG.