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Prosecutor in Lee Suet Fern’s case is the father of two men who served jail time for dodging NS

The Independent logo The Independent 12/4/2019 Jewel Stolarchuk
a man wearing glasses posing for the camera © The Independent Singapore

The Law Society revealed this week that Senior Counsel and WongPartnership deputy chairman Tan Chee Meng will prosecute the case involving Lee Suet Fern before a disciplinary tribunal.

Earlier the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) submitted a 500-page complaint against Mrs Lee, over possible “professional misconduct”. The AGC said that Lee is believed to have prepared the founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s last will even though her husband, Lee Hsien Yang who is the former PM’s son, is one of the beneficiaries of the will.

Attorney-General Lucien Wong, who is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s former personal lawyer, recused himself from the case. A disciplinary tribunal is now set to look into any possible misconduct by Mrs Lee in the preparation of the last will of her late father-in-law.

While Mr Tan is set to prosecute the case, Mrs Lee’s camp will see Professor Walter Woon – Senior Counsel and former attorney-general – to act for Mrs Lee. In an interview with the national broadsheet, Prof Woon said that he agreed to do so since Mrs Lee is an “old friend.”

In the same article, Mr Tan said: “My role as prosecuting counsel for LawSoc is to present the facts objectively, and the decision rests with the tribunal.”

After news of Mr Tan’s role in the case broke, some netizens online pointed out that Mr Tan is the father of two Singaporean men who served jail time for dodging National Service (NS).

In 2017, Mr Tan’s sons, Jonathan and Isaac Tan, were sentenced to 16 weeks’ and 12 weeks’ jail for defaulting on their NS obligations. The older son, Jonathan, evaded NS for about a decade while the younger Isaac defaulted on NS for about six years.

In an interview with ST then, Mr Tan said that“NS was the last thing on our minds, let alone evasion” when he decided that his family would migrate to Canada in 2000. Mr Tan’s wife, his two sons and his daughter migrated to Canada with no intention of returning to Singapore while Mr Tan stayed behind due to a lack of employment opportunities abroad.

He added that he was “very proud of” his sons when they decided on their own in 2015 that they wanted to serve NS. Jonathan and Isaac were 26 and 23 respectively when they made this decision. All Singaporean males are required to enlist in NS at the age of 18.

Both brothers were charged for evading NS when they returned to Singapore. Both brothers were accused of remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit and of failing to comply with the Further Reporting Order.

After he was sentenced to jail, Jonathan decided to appeal the sentence but later withdrew the appeal. In a later interview with ST, Mr Tan said:“As a father, it is heart breaking to see my sons go to jail in circumstances such as these. I take responsibility for what happened and the law has to take its course.


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