PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s son, Li Hongyi, who is serving his national service, has been reprimanded by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for not following proper procedures in e-mailing a letter of complaint to many other servicemen.
Second Lieutenant Li Hongyi had alleged that another officer from his unit, had been absent without leave or AWOL on two occasions.
In the June 28 email, which was sent to the Defence Minister and senior SAF officers, among others, 2nd Lt Li also stated that he had reported the matter to the officer’s supervisors, but no disciplinary action had been taken.
In a statement on Thursday, Mindef’s director of public affairs, Colonel Benedict Lim said: ‘2nd Lt Li was found to have contravened the General Orders of Mindef by broadcasting his letter of complaint to many other servicemen - almost all of whom were neither directly under his command, nor in an official capacity where they could deal with the matters contained in his letter of complaint.’
Col Lim added: ‘He has been formally charged and administered a reprimand after a summary trial.’
A summary trial deals with less serious military offences and is normally presided over by a senior disciplinary officer who may serve with the soldier’s own unit or appointed to oversee the trial from another unit.
Penalties include being warned by the senior disciplinary officer, fortfeiture of days off or shouldering extra duties.
Mindef added that following 2nd Lt Li’s complaint, an investigation was conducted and the officers concerned have been disciplined.
The officer who was found to have been AWOL will be court martialled and two supervising officers have been issued letters of warning for poor judgement in administering inappropriate disciplinary action.
In a court martial, which deals with more serious offences, can result in a range of penalties if they are found guilty of misconduct. These include discharge from service, detention in the SAF Detention Barracks, a reduction in rank, forfeiture of seniority, fines and reprimand.
Mindef issued the statement on Thursday in response to media queries about the internet chatter on Mr Li’s email.
Several sites were abuzz with details of the email and comments on how the authorities would respond.
Col Lim stressed that the SAF takes a serious view of misconduct by any serviceman.
‘To maintain organisational discipline, all SAF servicemen with complaints or grievances should take them up through proper channels for redress, to ensure due process and to protect confidential information.
‘All complaints which are not anonymous are investigated and dealt with properly.’
Mr Li, who is the third of the PM Lee’s four children, has received a Public Service Commission scholarship and will soon be leaving to study economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.