SIBLING RIVALRY UNRESTRAINED?
This is the house at the centre of the Lee family quarrel that, nevertheless, has national and international repercussions…
6 April 2018
Some say it should be resolved thru a national referendum.
38 Oxley Road – Everyone else’s 2 cents
By: Obbana Rajah
With so many revisions to the late Lee’s will, we can only guess what his real intentions were. This issue has gripped our headlines and we have some two cent’s view on how we can go about this.
The ministerial committee came up with three choices as to what might be done with the late Mr Lee’s bungalow.
They are as follows:
- Retain the property
- Retain the dining room and tear down the rest of the property
- Allow the property to be demolished fully, and allow redevelopment
Likewise, members of the public have also not held back with their thoughts and opinions. They range from sad to satirical and go from being out rightly insensitive to possibly emoting more than the Lee children might.
RicHard Goh said, “Poor LKY. He did so much for Singapore and yet his last wish cannot be granted, due to some personal interest. So sad that things turned out this way. Will LKY not rest in peace?”
Netizen Derrick Wong echoes a similar sentiment, “Learn LKY’s approach to life, his service to the community, and how he managed the relationship with the international communities. The house is just an attachment which does not deliver his principles”.
Some felt that the house stood for a legacy and that it should be preserved for future generations.
When it comes to the house, there seems to be three distinct camps of people, the first, who feel that they house should be demolished according to Mr Lee’s wishes, the second, who would like for the house to be preserved as a reminder, and the third who are simply in it just to add their own two cents.
#Singapore PM siblings wade back into family feud
SINGAPORE: A bitter feud that has rocked Singapore founding leader Lee Kuan Yew’s family flared anew Tuesday when his younger children criticised a ministerial committee’s findings about a house at the centre of the row.
The century-old bungalow, which Lee Kuan Yew used to live in, has sparked a bitter feud between his children – including current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – since the patriarch’s death in 2015.
A ministerial committee set up to decide on the future of the house released a report Monday, in which it laid out three options and said the fate of the property should be decided by a future government.
The options were: preserving the house as a national monument, demolition for redevelopment, or tearing it down but preserving the most historic portion.
But the siblings of current prime minister Lee said the alternatives to demolition proposed by the committee go against their father’s wishes.
“(Lee Kuan Yew) made absolutely clear what he wanted done with the house. He and Mama had long decided they wanted it demolished after they were gone,” the prime minister’s sister Lee Wei Ling wrote on Facebook.
The premier’s brother Lee Hsien Yang said in a separate post that Lee Kuan Yew “wanted demolition unwaveringly.”
He added that “the committee’s statement does not accurately represent Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes.”
The prime minister, who had recused himself from government decisions about the house, said in a Facebook post Monday that he accepted the committee’s decision.
2 July 2017
In a statement issued on Sunday evening, Ms Lee May Lin said the ministerial committee, chaired by DPM Teo, had sought Mr Lee and his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling’s views on their father’s wishes and thinking in respect of the house in July last year.
She enclosed letters dated Jul 27, 2016 and Aug 24, 2016, in which she said the committee “had made clear” to the two siblings the “purpose and scope” of its work.
SINGAPORE – Mr Lee Hsien Yang has presented a selective and inaccurate account of his exchanges with the ministerial committee tasked to consider options for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house, said the press secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Ms Lee May Lin released a statement and two letters from 2016 to rebut Mr Lee’s claims that the committee had not explained to him and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, the purpose and scope of its works.
In the other letter, he clarifies that “the Government has no intention or plans to do anything with the property now”.
Mr Wong wrote: “We agree with you that this is not a matter of ‘urgency’.”
For the full article:
The following article is SPONSORED on Facebook
The defender has turned aggressor as the Lee family soap opera, with its rapid twists and turns, is either turning off Singaporeans or confusing them. Lee Hsien Loong’s high-powered team of ministers have turned their firepower on the original aggressor – the prime minister’s younger brother Lee Hsien Yang.
If their strategy were to turn off Singaporeans, it seems to be working brilliantly. In her three Facebook posts, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah has narrowed the debate to the late Lee Kuan Yew’s last and seventh will and his 38 Oxley Road house. And Hsien Yang has been forced to do battle inside the borders drawn by her.
But she is doing Singapore a great injustice as the fight between the first prime minister’s children goes well beyond that. That is why PM Lee has called for a debate on 3 July 2017 in Parliament where the MPs can question him about one of the saddest and darkest days in Singapore’s history.
The bombs lobbed by Hsien Yang have exploded with a ferocity never seen before and go to the heart of the edifice that the late Lee had painstakingly built and nurtured for decades – a fair and super clean government that has become a political oasis and an economic miracle in this part of the world. Two weeks ago, his younger son smashed that utopia into smithereens when he accused PM Lee of, among other things, abusing his power, allowing his wife Ho Ching to overstep her boundaries, and being involved in a conflict of interest in the government’s appointment of the Attorney-General (AG).
It is now up to the 89 elected Members of Parliament and three Non-Constituency MPs to bring the issue back to the basics on 3 July. This is no ordinary Parliamentary setting – it is in fact a Parliamentary inquisition of the top man of the land. That is the mental switch our MPs have to make if they believe this embarrassing episode needs to be put to rest once and for all.
For that to happen, the MPs must:
IMAGINE that the 3 July sitting is happening in a court room, not a law-making chamber, and they are there as lawyers and representatives of the people, not lawmakers or party affiliates.
TELL yourself that you are responsible only to Singaporeans and by extension to Singapore.
DON’T make speeches, there is very little time for that. Instead, ask questions. Make the questions snappy and pointed.
REMEMBER to ask follow-up questions after the PM and his ministers have replied. The best responses come when you follow up with a question if you feel the PM or the ministers have not responded adequately or have given only half-answers. Spend some time watching how BBC and CNN journalists perform when they interview newsmakers.
For the rest of the article:
1 July 2017
Mr Lee Hsien Yang rejects the suggestion that he wants to redevelop Oxley Road for financial profit
SINGAPORE — In a three-page statement posted on Facebook on Saturday (July 1) to explain his position in the 38 Oxley Road dispute, Mr Lee Hsien Yang has rejected the suggestion that in pushing for the Lee family home to be demolished, he was in fact seeking to profit from any redevelopment of the site into a condominium.
His statement came two days ahead of a ministerial statement by his brother Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament to address allegations that have arisen from the dispute against him and the Government.
“It has been insinuated that I seek to redevelop the Oxley Road house into a condominium for financial profit after buying it at 150% market price. Beyond zero certainty on timing and the ability to demolish, this requires both rezoning by the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) and cooperation with the neighbours,” he said.
“I have no inclination to seek either of these. Preservation of the house would be trampling on Lee Kuan Yew’s values, and it would be an affront to these same values to develop a luxury ‘LKY’ condominium. The price I paid for the house was simply a price I paid to help ensure my father’s wishes are honoured.”
The house was bequeathed by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to his eldest son, PM Lee, who subsequently transferred it to his younger brother for 100 per cent of the property’s market value, on top of a donation to charity of half the value. PM Lee himself donated the entire proceeds of the sale to charity.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang said: “I am just a son trying to honour my father’s final wish: to demolish my father’s house immediately when my sister, Wei Ling, no longer lives there. In the meantime, to ensure her the unfettered right to live in the only home she knows as long as she should wish.”
He added: “Ling, being unmarried and without children of her own, stayed there with Papa and helped look after him in his final years. It was our father’s wish that she should be permitted to stay in the original house for as long as she wanted.”
PM Lee threatened to gazette 38 Oxley Road: Lee Wei Ling
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had “threatened angrily to gazette” 38 Oxley Road, Lee Wei Ling said in a Facebook post on Saturday (Jul 1).
Dr Lee said PM Lee did this following the reading of Lee Kuan Yew’s will by lawyers after his death. “This greatly disturbed me. He was willing to go against Papa’s wishes as soon as Papa was gone,” she wrote.
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/pm-lee-threatened-to-gazette-38-oxley-road-lee-wei-ling-8995212
Of Lee Wei Ling and Janadas, former Straits Times associate editor
Chief of Government Communications, Janadas Devan, rebuked the daughter of Lee Kuan Yew for writing “tabloid-style” post with “misleading information”. The late Mr Lee’s daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, had earlier posted a screengrab of an email written by Mr Devan, in which he described those that opposed the demolition of the house at 38 Oxley Road as being “small minded”.
Dear Wei Ling:Your latest post blares, tabloid-style, misleading information. Having edited you for many years, I know this is not your style.
The email you quote was written when I was Associate Editor of Straits Times, not Chief of Government Communications. And as you know well, I had met Mr Lee Kuan Yew with a few other journalists to discuss a book that he had proposed on 38 Oxley Rd.
When he met us in July 2011, he made plain that he wanted the house to be demolished. But as the months and years passed, the nature of the project changed as it became less definitive whether the house would be demolished – and if so, when.
For example, we were told that you will be staying in the house for as long as you live. Then I learnt plans to build a model of the interior of 38 Oxley Rd was dropped – because, I gathered, Mr Lee was considering plans to gut the interior of the house altogether to remove traces of the private space.
There was no doubt then or now that Mr Lee’s preference was to demolish the house. But as the shifting instructions we heard from the family in 2011-12 – including from you – indicated, the fate of the house had by no means been decided at that point.
I ceased to be involved in the Oxley Rd book project in July 2012, when I left ST. My personal view remains that Mr Lee’s wish to demolish 38 Oxley Rd should be granted the moment you are no longer living in it, which may be 20, 30 or more years in the future.
In the meantime, I am as baffled as most Singaporeans why Hsien Yang and you wish to consume all of us in your personal family matters.
Please: Think of Singapore, and forget the rest.
Lee Wei Ling on Friday posted on Facebook an email showing that then Janadas Devan said it was “obvious” from his meeting with Lee Kuan Yew in 2011 that the late former Singapore Prime Minister wanted his home demolished.
In her Facebook post, Lee Wei Ling said that while her brother, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, claimed that their father Lee Kuan Yew “came to accept” the house should be preserved after July 2011, “We thought Singaporeans should hear directly from Janadas Devan, Chief of Government Communications at the Ministry of Communication and Information.”
In an email to Lee Wei Ling dated 28 July 2011, Janadas, who became Chief of Government Communications in July the following year, told her that he saw Lee Kuan Yew that day.
“Saw MM today. First meeting on Oxley book, together with team. He was in good form. He said house will be torn down. It is obvious that is what he wants,” Janadas said.
“It will be a small minded people that denies him this personal wish. I think he is wrong wishing it, but I’d feel awful denying him what he obviously wants,” he added.
Janadas responded to Wei Ling’s post in a comment on Lee Hsien Yang’s Facebook page on the same day. Describing Wei Ling’s post as “tabloid-style, misleading information”, he elaborated on the timeline of events Wei Ling referred to.
He wrote, “When he (Lee Kuan Yew) met us in July 2011, he made plain that he wanted the house to be demolished. But as the months and years passed, the nature of the project changed as it became less definitive whether the house would be demolished – and if so, when.
“For example, we were told that you will be staying in the house for as long as you live. Then I learnt plans to build a model of the interior of 38 Oxley Rd was dropped – because, I gathered, Mr Lee was considering plans to gut the interior of the house altogether to remove traces of the private space.
“There was no doubt then or now that Mr Lee’s preference was to demolish the house. But as the shifting instructions we heard from the family in 2011-12 – including from you – indicated, the fate of the house had by no means been decided at that point.”
He said that he stopped being involved in the Oxley Rd book project in July 2012 after he left the publication. He added, “My personal view remains that Mr Lee’s wish to demolish 38 Oxley Rd should be granted the moment you are no longer living in it, which may be 20, 30 or more years in the future.”
30 June 2017
— A Letter from a Singaporean to Mr Lee Hsien Yang —
It is indeed sad to see you in this state. I assume you feel your state is more important than this State, our Singapore.
You call everybody, in your family, by name and surname. You call your father, Lee Kuan Yew. You used to call him papa when you wrote to him to change the Will. And to say your wife could do the changes since the usual lawyer could not be contacted, as you said. You call your elder brother and sister-in-law, Lee Hsien Loong and Ho Ching. They still call you “my brother” and “yang”. You even pull your sister along in this web of accusations, but still call her Lee Wei Ling instead of Ling or sister. Is everyone a pawn in your grand scheme of things of.. rage? jealousy? money? This surely is no longer about your pa, our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Our culture, traditions and values is not like that. 我们华人的道德和传统不是这样的。
You forgot to say you were away after your pa, or as you coldly called, Lee Kuan Yew, and left the packing of your late pa’s belongings to your brother and sister in law. They ended up having to do all those packing and put off national trips to a later date as later reported. Yang, we are Chinese, 华人。In our tradition, the children have to do our last duties, 尽孝道, to do this together as a family. Yang, where were you?
Yang, you chose not to show us the emails which you agreed, and instead show us a part of something to say your brother and sister-in-law stole it. The clause of 38 Oxley in your pa’s will had 2 parts, why did you choose to always force people, and tell people, that there’s only 1 part? Yang, where is your honesty. Your pa gave a good description of your brother and your personality, but we still thought you were a great guy. Yang, 回头是岸. You can still turn back, instead of selling out Singapore like you have now. Whether you believe it or not, your actions are hurting Singapore.
Yang, whatever wrong in your personal life you have done at SingTel and Australia’s Optus is ok. Its all in the past. No one blamed you for that or persecuted you. You are still living in a nice big bungalow in Caldecott Hill, driving a nice car, your air conditioning and key board are working just fine. But maybe your mind is not so fine.
Lastly, Yang, your sister in law, 你的大嫂, had laid out the full story. She had taken the effort to reach out to you. What about you? 长辈你不认，不要紧。礼貌你懂吗? It’s ok if you do not consider your family elders as your elders. Surely you know what’s courtesy and honesty Yang? You didn’t answer that and went one round to ask about what PMO here PMO there. Its simple. If she asked you and you agreed for her to send it then put your fingers to your lip. As your sister in law, whom you also coldly called Ho Ching had said, whatever you are upset about, I hope you have the heart to remember what your papa and mama, Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, would have wanted most for the family and for Singapore.
A fellow Singaporean
29 June 2017
We have serious concerns with Lee Hsien Loong’s attempt to cover-up and whitewash himself in Parliament on 3 July 2017. We have begun to show evidence of his misuse of his position and influence to drive his personal agenda. This is yet another example.
This Parliamentary session is a forum that again places Hsien Loong before his subordinates. They lack both sufficient background and evidence of the numerous instances of abuse and conflicts of interest, many yet to be raised. Even before the session, many of them appear to have felt obliged to give him cover. Many MPs will fear career repercussions if they speak out against their superior. Historically, few PAP MPs have dared to dissent even when the party whip was lifted.
There will be no opportunity or adequate time for evidence to be properly drawn together, placed before Parliament, and considered. Nor will there be any opportunity for an examining body to properly probe explanations or excuses. A Parliamentary session is not the correct forum for investigations of this nature.
We have no confidence that a fair, transparent or complete account of events will be told: only his side of the story will air, with no promise of truthfulness due to parliamentary privilege. Indeed, it could also be an opportunity to continue to mislead or insinuate under this privilege.
We believe that key issues such as his abuse of power will be simply swept under the carpet. The accused controls both process and outcome in this forum.
The committee did not disclose the options they were considering in our prior exchanges, unlike what DPM Teo implies now. Their letters largely focused on parroting LHL’s attacks on our father’s will.
All our discussions with DPM Teo about options for the house occurred long before the formation of the committee and only with him in his personal capacity.
27 June 2017
6 Facebook pages character assassinating Lee Hsien Yang
They are calling him a ‘liar’ and ‘self-serving’ ahead of the July 3 Parliament sitting.
On the receiving end of a lot of name-calling these past two weeks is Lee Hsien Yang, the protagonist/ antagonist in the ongoing Lee family feud over the 38 Oxley Road house.
Multiple Facebook pages have put the youngest Lee sibling in their cross hairs, taking aim at his character, motivation and spouse.
At last count, some six Facebook pages lending a hand in the anti-LHY charge share the same distinction of being run anonymously by administrators whose identities are unknown.
Are they foreign-run? How can we be sure they are locals? Just because they use “Singapore” on their pages or make references to this country?
At least two of these pages are relatively new, starting operations by making their first posts in the week after June 14, the day Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling put up a joint statement against their eldest brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Click on the link for the rest of the article:
SINGAPORE: The Public Service Division (PSD) on Tuesday (Jun 27) confirmed that it is polling public officers on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s dispute with his siblings over the late Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38 Oxley Road, saying that the allegations went “beyond private matters”.
The PSD, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Office, said it was doing so to “understand their sentiments”.
“On the issue of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s dispute with his siblings, the allegations made go beyond private matters and extend to the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions,” the PSD said in a response to Channel NewsAsia.
“As part of our stakeholder engagement, the Public Service Division periodically seeks public officers’ sentiments on issues that matter to them,” it added.
“We are polling public officers to understand their sentiments on this issue as it involves the integrity of our public institutions, of which they are an important part.”
Photos circulating on social media appeared to show e-mails to public service officers asking them to answer a poll on the Oxley Road dispute. The email, signed PSD Engage, states: “Please be assured that your participation will be kept strictly confidential and individual responses will not be identifiable.”
Alleged screengrabs of the poll show participants are asked: “As a public officer, to what extent has this matter affected your confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our public institutions and the public service?” They are also asked whether the issue should be addressed in Parliament.
Cabinet committee not bent on keeping 38 Oxley Road: DPM Teo
SINGAPORE — It is not true that the Ministerial Committee set up to look at the options for 38 Oxley Road is bent on preventing its demolition, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Tuesday (June 27).
Separately, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dismissed his siblings’ continued allegations as largely untrue, and reiterated that he will address the accusations in his ministeral statement on the matter on July 3 in Parliament.
“My siblings continue to make allegations about what I supposedly did or did not do. They are mostly inaccurate. As I earlier said, I will be making a statement in Parliament … I will at that time deal with the allegations that need to be addressed,” he said in a brief statement in response to media queries.
Mr Teo also issued a media statement, where he noted that Mr Lee Hsien Yang may have a “misconception” that the committee he chairs is determined to stop the house from being torn down. He pointed out that its task was to “study and set out the range of possible options” for the Lee family home and to present them to the Cabinet.
“Cabinet will only decide on which option to choose when the time comes for a decision to be made on the house,” he said in a media statement.
26 June 2017
Indranee asks Lee Hsien Yang who drafted the late Lee Kuan Yew’s final will
Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah on Saturday (June 24) called on Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, to identify the lawyer who drafted the final will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
She said his June 17 Facebook post had indicated that he knew who had prepared the will, when he twice mentioned “we” in reference to his dealings over the will.
Ms Indranee asked in a lengthy Facebook post if the “we” referred to Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s wife, lawyer Lee Suet Fern.
PM Lee has raised serious misgivings about the circumstances surrounding the will, including over the role played by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife.
Ms Indranee noted that there have been conflicting accounts of who drafted the will, in her second post on the Lee family row over the Oxley Road house.
In the first post last Friday, she highlighted four issues about the dispute, including what the late Mr Lee’s will said about demolition of the house and why this was an issue of public interest.
25 June 2017
Lee Hsien Yang again questions Ho Ching’s role in loan of items
Ms Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, had no right to loan documents belonging to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew to the National Heritage Board (NHB) for an exhibition, said Mr Lee Hsien Yang.
In a Facebook post yesterday, the younger brother of PM Lee again accused his sister-in-law of interfering with the late founding prime minister’s estate, and also took issue with the NHB over the matter. His latest missive followed Ms Ho’s account last Friday of how she came to be involved in the loan.
Yesterday, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said he and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling – joint executors of their late father’s estate – had never authorised Ms Ho to remove the items.
“Informing the executors after the fact does not give her the right to intermeddle,” he said.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang yesterday also said the PMO was in no position to loan to the NHB the late Mr Lee’s personal items, saying they did not belong to the PMO.
He said: “We again note that the estate’s residual items fall under the executors of ourfather’s estate… not the beneficiaries or the PMO.”
He said neither Ms Ho nor PM Lee were named as executors in “any of the seven drafts” of the late Mr Lee’s will.
He added: “Ho Ching somehow believes that acting on behalf of the ‘PMO’ gives her licence to take LKY’s (Lee Kuan Yew’s) personal belongings and interfere with the estate… This oversteps the legal rights of the PMO.”
He also questioned how she could “act on behalf of PMO, despite having no official position in PMO”.
The items were documents, including a telegram sent by the late Mr Lee in 1958.
What Mr Lee Kuan Yew actually said about 38 Oxley Road
Lee Kuan Yew’s final will ‘accepts’ Oxley house demolition may not take place, says Indranee Rajah
23 June 2017
Lee Hsien Yang trains his gun on Ho Ching: He accused her of collecting several items belonging to his late father without permission, that she “helped herself” to the items and handed them “to the NHB (ostensibly on loan) under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)”.
Ho Ching replies: All along she had kept Mr Lee and Dr Lee Wei Ling informed of what she was doing.
Oxley Road items discovered while tidying house, Lee siblings informed: Ho Ching
Mr Lee had earlier alleged that Mdm Ho “helped herself” to the items and handed them “to the NHB (ostensibly on loan) under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)”. In response, Mdm Ho, who is the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said on Friday (Jun 23) that she had arranged to donate the items to the National Heritage Board (NHB) through the PMO, “emphasising to NHB that these items belonged to the estate and must be returned”.
Referring to the period after Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral, Mdm Ho said: “You may wish to check your email records to refresh your memory on the various updates that I had given you during those 2 weeks.”
19 June 2017
Parliament will debate siblings’ allegations on July 3 and PAP party whip will be lifted: PM Lee
SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong apologised to the nation on Monday (June 19) for the harm caused by a protracted and publicly-aired dispute with his siblings, saying it has damaged Singapore’s reputation and affected confidence in the Government.
He said he will deliver a ministerial statement to refute the “baseless accusations” his siblings made last week against the Government when Parliament sits on July 3.
PM Lee issued a statement and a video of his apology on Monday evening, on his first day back at work from vacation. In it, he expressed deep regret about the dispute with his siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, over whether to demolish their late father Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38, Oxley Road.
PM Lee’s statement is reproduced below:
“Over the last week, Singaporeans have been disturbed and confused by news of the private dispute between my siblings and me. I deeply regret that this dispute has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the Government.
As your Prime Minister, I apologise to you for this. And as the eldest of the siblings, it grieves me to think of the anguish that this would have caused our parents if they were still alive.
I had done everything possible to avoid this state of affairs. My father left the property at 38 Oxley Road to me as part of my equal share of his estate, but my siblings were not happy about this. I tried to deal with their unhappiness privately. I offered to transfer 38 Oxley Road to my sister for a nominal S$1. Unfortunately, that offer failed. I then sold the house to my brother at a fair market valuation, and donated all my proceeds to charity.
I had hoped that this would satisfy them. There should be no reason for any further quarrel, since I no longer own the house and I do not take part in any Government decisions on the house. However, my siblings have decided to go out and make serious allegations publicly. For example, they say that I am using my position as Prime Minister to influence the ministerial committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. These allegations go beyond private and personal matters, and extend to the conduct of my office and the integrity of the Government.
Much as I would like to move on, and end a most unhappy experience for Singaporeans, these baseless accusations against the Government cannot be left unanswered. They must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted.
When Parliament sits on Jul 3, 2017, I will make a ministerial statement to refute the charges. All MPs will then have the opportunity to raise questions for themselves and their constituents. I have instructed that the PAP party whip be lifted. I urge all MPs, including the non-PAP MPs, to examine the issues thoroughly and question me and my Cabinet colleagues vigorously. I hope that this full, public airing in Parliament will dispel any doubts that have been planted and strengthen confidence in our institutions and our system of government.
I want to assure all Singaporeans that this matter will not distract me and my Cabinet colleagues from our responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including the pressing economic and security challenges we face.
As public servants, my Ministers and I will always protect the integrity of our institutions, and uphold the strict standards separating private affairs from our public duties. We are determined to repair the damage that has been done to Singapore. We will continue to lead our nation and serve you to the best of our ability.”
Lee Hsien Loong’s personal lawyer, Lucien Wong, wrote to us on 12 June 2015 to demand the NHB Deed of Gift. Only hours later, he wrote a second letter (attached) saying “Our client has since received a copy of the Deed of Gift dated 8 June 2015 from NHB.”
Did LHL acquire the Deed of Gift in his public capacity, or his private capacity? If in his public capacity, to use this in his personal legal disputes is a clear abuse of authority. If in his private capacity, how can other private citizens go about acquiring confidential deeds of gift from the NHB?
17 June 2017
Lee Hsien Yang unhappy over delay and uncertainty in demolishing Oxley Road House: Goh Chok Tong
SINGAPORE – Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong had last year explained to Mr Lee Hsien Yang the care being taken by the ministerial committee studying the options for Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38, Oxley Road, however Mr Lee “remained unhappy over the delay and uncertainty in demolishing the house”.
Mr Goh, in a Facebook post on Saturday, said: “It is not worth tearing up family bonds built over a lifetime over these differences, however serious they are. This is not the family legacy which their father would have wanted to leave behind. Singaporeans can urge them to settle their dispute amicably in private or through closed-door arbitration.”
The ministerial committee studying options for the Oxley Road home bore the brunt of the spotlight on Saturday, as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean issued a statement detailing its composition and responsibilities.
Mr Goh said Mr Teo had spoken to him about the range of options he was exploring for the Oxley Road house.
“I advised him to respect Lee Kuan Yew’s wish but agreed that it would be disrespectful of our own heritage to just demolish the house for it to be replaced by a commercial building or another private residence,” he wrote. “I support the careful way in which DPM and the Government is handling the issue as public interests are involved. He is right to explore options beyond the binary demolish-preserve decision.”
Mr Teo in his statement said that the committee is studying various “intermediate options”, such as demolishing the house but keeping the basement dining room where many important historical meetings took place, with an appropriate heritage centre attached. These studies are ongoing, he added.
@teocheehean set up ministerial committee on 38 Oxley, says it is not ‘secretive’
SINGAPORE — Responding to criticisms by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Saturday (Jun 17) said there is nothing secretive about the ministerial committee set up to look into the options for 38 Oxley Road.
Providing details on the committee in a media statement, Mr Teo also gave a glimpse of the various options being studied for the property, and reiterated that the Government has the responsibility to “consider the public interest aspects of any property with heritage and historical significance”.
The committee was set up by Mr Teo and includes Cabinet members “responsible for heritage, land issues and urban planning” – Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu, Law Minister K Shanmugam and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
JUST IN: Kwa Kim Li, PM Lee’s cousin, says she did not prepare Lee Kuan Yew’s last will as claimed by Lee Hsien Yang
SINGAPORE: Stamford Law did not draft any will of the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, said his youngest son Mr Lee Hsien Yang on Friday (Jun 16), as the dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings drags on.
Mr Lee told Channel NewsAsia in an email reply that his father’s last will was drafted by Ms Kwa Kim Li of Lee & Lee, who had prepared his previous wills.
Mr Lee was elaborating on his Facebook post which said contrary to PM Lee’s claims, he and his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling had replied to a ministerial committee’s questions about how the last will was prepared and the role his wife Mrs Lee Suet Fern and lawyers from her legal firm had in preparing that will.
According to Mr Lee, their reply to the committee on Feb 28 stated: “The Final Will was not drafted by Stamford Law Corporation or Mr Ng Joo Khin, and Lee Hsien Loong’s claimed recollection to that effect is clearly erroneous.”
This contradicts what PM Lee had said in his statutory declaration to the ministerial committee that was made public on Thursday.
Ministerial committee ‘fundamentally flawed’, says Lee Hsien Yang
SINGAPORE – The tit-for-tat responses continued on Saturday (June 17) in the feud involving the children of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Shortly after Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean issued a statement spelling out the composition and responsibilities of the ministerial committee studying options for Mr Lee’s house at 38 Oxley Road, Mr Lee Hsien Yang responded with a Facebook post saying the committee is “fundamentally flawed”.
It is clear that a committee of one’s subordinates, should not be sitting arbitrating an issue related to their boss, he added. “That is why the Committee is fundamentally flawed. As the subordinates of the PM, how can they possibly be in a position to deal in this private disagreement? This is the wrong forum,” said the younger Lee sibling.
He said that they – he and his sister – had expressed specific concerns on the possible membership of Law Minister Mr K Shanmugam and his conflict of interest having advised Mr Lee Kuan Yew and both of them on options to help achieve Mr Lee’s wishes, and the drafting of the “demolition wish”. “This represents a clear conflict of interest” said Mr Lee Hsien Yang. When this was raised in writing, he said they were “brushed off” by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang said that the refusal to identify the members of the committee, and to confirm Mr Shanmugam’s recusal was particularly troubling.
“He is an experienced Senior Counsel and Minister for Law who should well understand the problem of conflicts of interests. Only now do we find out that he is indeed a member of this committee” said Mr Lee Hsien Yang.
His sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, also posted on Facebook to say: “Shanmugam was extensively consulted and advised my father over lunch.”
16 June 2017
Stamford Law Corporation did not draft Lee Kuan Yew’s final will: Lee Hsien Yang
SINGAPORE: Stamford Law Corporation did not draft Lee Kuan Yew’s final will, Lee Hsien Yang has said in the ongoing public dispute about the Lee family home at 38 Oxley Road.
His latest post on Facebook at 7.32am on Friday said: “Loong claims, ‘my siblings had not responded to the Committee’s questions about how the last will was prepared and the role that Lee Suet Fern and lawyers from her legal firm played in preparing the last will.’
“This is a lie. We replied on 28 Feb, ‘The Final Will was not drafted by Stamford Law Corporation or Ng Joo Khin and LHL’s claimed recollection to that effect is clearly erroneous.’ LHL’s secret committee ignored it. Besides, we thought this was a ‘private family matter’?”
‘LHL’ refers to Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong who, on Thursday night, released a detailed summary of the long-running dispute with his siblings which raised questions on the way his father Lee Kuan Yew’s last will was made.
Lee Hsien Loong: Summary of Statutory Declarations. http://weehingthong.org/2017/06/15/lee-hsien-loong-summary-of-statutory-declarations/ …
For what it is worth, I really have no interest in politics
Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang: We also believe, based on our interactions, that they harbor political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi.
15 June 2017
Bitter Squabble Surfaces Among
#Singapore’s Lee Family
An extraordinary row has broken out among the descendants of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore who died in April 2015, with two younger siblings accusing Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime minister, and his wife Ho Ching of being “driven by a desire for power and personal popularity.”
The other two are physician Lee Wei Ling and her attorney brother, Lee Hsien Yang, who on June 14 made public a six-page statement that they had lost confidence in Hsien Loong as a leader. Hsien Yang said he was leaving the country for an unknown destination for the foreseeable future.
Although the statement accuses Hsien Loong, who has been prime minister since 2004, of “misuse of his position and influence over the Singapore government to drive his personal agenda,” it appears to be a family squabble over the disposition of Lee Kuan Yew’s classic black-and-white colonial style home, which the patriarch in his will said should be demolished. Lee Hsien Loong instead is attempting to have it preserved.
“Since Lee Kuan Yew’s death, there have been changes in Singapore that do not reflect what he stood for,” the younger Lees said in their statement. “His popularity is inextricably linked to Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy.”
Instead, the younger Lees said, “We have observed that Hsien Loong and Ho Ching want to milk Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy for their own political purposes. We also believe, based on our interactions, that they harbor political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi.”
Lee Hsien Loong, in an equally extraordinary airing, took to the media in Singapore to deny that he had any designs on a political career for his son, adding that he was disappointed that the younger Lees had chosen to issue a statement that aired private family matters and, according to the Straits Times, he was “deeply saddened by the unfortunate allegations they have made.”
14 June 2017
The family dispute centres on a legal tussle over a house which belonged to their father.
They accused the prime minister of being opposed to carrying out their late father’s wishes – as stated in his will – that the family home at 38 Oxley Road be eventually demolished, rather than becoming a monument to him.
The prime minister had previously stated he would remove himself from all government decisions on the house, and he personally wished to honour his father’s wishes.
But his siblings accused him of backtracking from this position, and said they felt “threatened” by Mr Lee’s “misuse of his position and influence over the Singapore government and its agencies to drive his personal agenda” and “fear the use of the organs of state” against them.
14 June 2017
I am very disappointed that my siblings have chosen to issue a statement publicising private family matters. I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate allegations that they have made. Ho Ching and I deny these allegations, especially the absurd claim that I have political ambitions for my son.
While siblings may have differences, I believe that any such differences should stay in the family. Since my father’s passing in March 2015, as the eldest son I have tried my best to resolve the issues among us within the family, out of respect for our parents.
My siblings’ statement has hurt our father’s legacy.
I will do my utmost to continue to do right by my parents. At the same time, I will continue serving Singaporeans honestly and to the best of my ability. In particular that means upholding meritocracy, which is a fundamental value of our society.
As my siblings know, I am presently overseas on leave with my family. I will consider this matter further after I return this weekend. – LHL
Lee siblings feud in public over Kuan Yew’s house, legacy
Dr Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang claim that they felt closely monitored and fear the use of organs of state against them and Hsien Yang’s wife, Suet Fern.
Hsien Yang and his wife say they feel compelled to leave Singapore.
“This is the country that my father, Lee Kuan Yew, loved and built. It has been home for my entire life. Singapore is and remains my country. I have no desire to leave. Hsien Loong is the only reason for my departure,” Hsien Yang said in the statement.
Lee Wei Ling, Lee Hsien Yang issue statement saying they had ‘lost confidence’ in their brother PM Lee Hsien Loong
SINGAPORE – Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang on Wednesday (June 14) issued a six-page public statement saying they had lost confidence in their brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In the statement, which they publicised on their Facebook pages around 2am, the two siblings said they felt closely monitored and fear the use of organs of state against them and Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s wife, Suet Fern.
They also said the situation is such that Mr Lee Hsien Yang felt compelled to leave Singapore “for the foreseeable future”.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO LEE KUAN YEW’S VALUES?
June 14, 2017
A public statement by Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang: We have no confidence in PM Lee Hsien Loong and are worried about Singapore’s future.
Below is the statement in full:
We feel extremely sad that we are pushed to this position. We are disturbed by the character, conduct, motives and leadership of our brother, Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s current prime minister and the role of his wife, Ho Ching. We have seen a completely different face to our brother, one that deeply troubles us. Since the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, on 23 March 2015, we have felt threatened by Hsien Loong’s misuse of his position and influence over the Singapore government and its agencies to drive his personal agenda. We are concerned that the system has few checks and balances to prevent the abuse of government.
We feel big brother omnipresent. We fear the use of the organs of state against us and Hsien Yang’s wife, Suet Fern. The situation is such that Hsien Yang feels compelled to leave Singapore:
“It is with a very heavy heart that I will leave Singapore for the foreseeable future. This is the country that my father, Lee Kuan Yew, loved and built. It has been home for my entire life. Singapore is and remains my country. I have no desire to leave. Hsien Loong is the only reason for my departure.”
If Hsien Loong is prepared to act thus against us, his younger sister and brother, both contributing members of Singapore’s establishment, to advance his personal agenda, we worry for Singapore. We question whether able leaders with independent political legitimacy will be side-lined to ensure Hsien Loong’s grip on power remains unchallenged.
This is by no means a criticism of the Government of Singapore. We see many upright leaders of quality and integrity throughout the public service, but they are constrained by Hsien Loong’s misuse of power at the very top. We do not trust Hsien Loong and have lost confidence in him.
Since Lee Kuan Yew’s death, there have been changes in Singapore that do not reflect what he stood for. Nobody ever doubted that Lee Kuan Yew always held the best interests of Singapore and Singaporeans at heart. He was authentic and spoke his mind. The same cannot be said for our brother, Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching. We believe, unfortunately, that Hsien Loong is driven by a desire for power and personal popularity. His popularity is inextricably linked to Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy. His political power is drawn from his being Lee Kuan Yew’s son. We have observed that Hsien Loong and Ho Ching want to milk Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy for their own political purposes. We also believe, based on our interactions, that they harbour political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi.
Singapore has no such thing as the wife of the prime minister being a ‘first lady’. Lee Kuan Yew was Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990. During those many years, his wife (our mother) consistently avoided the limelight, remaining his stalwart supporter and advisor in private. She lived discreetly, and set a high bar for the conduct of a prime minister’s wife. She would never instruct Permanent Secretaries or senior civil servants. The contrast between her and Ho Ching could not be more stark. While Ho Ching holds no elected or official position in government, her influence is pervasive, and extends well beyond her job purview.
Throughout his entire life, Lee Kuan Yew’s sole focus was on Singapore and its future. He was a strong opponent of monuments, particularly of himself. On suggestions that monuments or ‘what-have-yous’ be made for him, he replied “Remember Ozymandias”. He was referring to Percy B Shelley’s sonnet about the Egyptian Pharaoh with a penchant for self-aggrandising monuments. The boast etched in a plaque below his statue commanded lesser mortals to “look on my works”. Only the vastness of desert sands remains: no empire, nor monuments, no great works. Lee Kuan Yew wanted none of these honours as edifices. Much more important to him was that what he had done should last.
It is for this reason that Lee Kuan Yew made clear throughout the years in public and private his wish that his home at 38 Oxley Road be demolished upon his passing. In his last Will and Testament of 17 December 2013, he again reiterated his wish and directed his three children to ensure that it be fulfilled. Indeed, his opposition to monuments was so strong that he had made clear that even if the house were gazetted (against his wishes), it should only be open to his children and their descendants.
However, we believe that Hsien Loong and Ho Ching are motivated by a desire to inherit Lee Kuan Yew’s standing and reputation for themselves and their children. Whilst our father built this nation upon meritocracy, Hsien Loong, whilst purporting to espouse these values, has spoken of a “natural aristocracy”. Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching, have opposed Lee Kuan Yew’s wish to demolish his house, even when Lee Kuan Yew was alive. Indeed, Hsien Loong and Ho Ching expressed plans to move with their family into the house as soon as possible after Lee Kuan Yew’s passing. This move would have strengthened Hsien Loong’s inherited mandate for himself and his family. Moreover, even if Hsien Loong did not live at 38 Oxley Road, the preservation of the house would enhance his political capital.
What has been distressing are the lengths to which Hsien Loong and Ho Ching have gone and are willing to go to get what they want.
On Hsien Loong’s insistence, Lee Kuan Yew met with the Singapore Cabinet on 21 July 2011 to discuss the fate of his personal home. Wei Ling met Lee Kuan Yew on the steps of their home as he returned from that meeting. He was anguished and despondent and told Wei Ling “I should not have listened to Loong and gone to meet Cabinet.” He was pained that Hsien Loong, his own son, opposed his wishes in this manner.
Lee Kuan Yew believed that Hsien Loong and Ho Ching were behind what was represented to the family as a government initiative to preserve the house. In due course, Hsien Loong himself made his position clear to Lee Kuan Yew. On 3 October 2011, Lee Kuan Yew wrote: “Loong as PM has indicated that he will declare it a heritage site.”
Lee Kuan Yew specifically inserted into his will his wish for 38 Oxley Road to be demolished so as to make it difficult for Hsien Loong to misuse the Cabinet to preserve it. He also removed Hsien Loong as an executor and trustee of his will.
The wish, which was instructed to be made public as needed, was Lee Kuan Yew’s direct appeal to the people of Singapore. It was his only request of them on his passing.
At the reading of Lee Kuan Yew’s will, Hsien Loong was very angry that the will gave Wei Ling the right to remain living in the house and that it made clear Lee Kuan Yew’s wish for its demolition immediately upon her passing or relocation. Hsien Loong threatened us and demanded our silence on our father’s last wish. He wanted to assert in Parliament that Lee Kuan Yew had changed his mind, hoping to inherit the faith Singaporeans had in Lee Kuan Yew through the visible symbol of the house. We refused and fought to release our father’s wish to demolish the house as instructed. We succeeded in making Lee Kuan Yew’s wish public in Singapore only after the international press carried the news. Hsien Loong was therefore forced to state in Parliament that, as a son, he would like to see the wish carried out. He wanted to appear filial in public whilst acting to thwart our parents’ wishes in private.
However, Hsien Loong and Ho Ching did not abandon their plans. Hsien Loong took steps to try to frustrate our publicising Lee Kuan Yew’s wish. We executed a Deed of Gift in 2015 with the National Heritage Board for the donation and public exhibition of significant items from our parents’ home, with a stipulation that Lee Kuan Yew’s wish for the demolition of 38 Oxley Road be displayed prominently at the exhibition.
However, after the gift’s acceptance we soon received letters with spurious objections from Hsien Loong’s then personal lawyer, Lucien Wong. Lucien Wong was made Singapore’s Attorney-General in January 2017. We were shocked to see that Hsien Loong had used his position as Prime Minister to obtain a copy of the Deed of Gift from Minister Lawrence Wong, which Hsien Loong then passed to his personal lawyer to advance his personal agenda. The exhibition only proceeded months later in a diminished format after considerable struggle on our part.
In 2015, various letters were sent by Hsien Loong’s then personal lawyer making accusations and misrepresentations on his behalf regarding the circumstances under which Lee Kuan Yew’s last will was executed and the inclusion of the demolition wish. These were refuted in detail by us through our lawyers. Hsien Loong knew that he could not establish his accusations in a court of law and raised no legal challenge. On the contrary, he was likely concerned that the fact that the gift of the house to him had been obtained by him through misrepresentations to our father and the family might be made public. Probate was granted on 6 October 2015 and Lee Kuan Yew’s will, including the wish to demolish 38 Oxley Road, became the full, final, and legally binding word on his intentions as to his estate.
Hsien Loong initiated a settlement with us in May 2015; the Estate of Lee Kuan Yew was contemplating a challenge of the disposition of the house to him based on his misrepresentations. Hsien Loong represented that this sale of the house would give us a free hand to demolish the house. Final agreement on the settlement was reached in late 2015. Hsien Loong insisted that Hsien Yang should pay him full market value for the house (and donate an additional half the value of the house to charity). In exchange for this, we asked for and obtained a joint public statement issued by all 3 children of Lee Kuan Yew in December 2015 that we hoped that the Government would allow the demolition wish to be fulfilled and that all Singaporeans would support this cause. We also obtained an undertaking from Hsien Loong that he would recuse himself from all government decisions involving 38 Oxley Road and that, in his personal capacity, would like to see the wish honoured.
We had hoped that through this settlement, he would not hinder us from honouring our parents’ wishes. However, we were disappointed that despite the settlement and Hsien Loong’s undertakings, in July 2016, Minister Lawrence Wong wrote to inform us that a Ministerial Committee had been set up to consider options with respect to 38 Oxley Road and their implications. This also directly contradicted Hsien Loong’s statement in Parliament in April 2015 that there was no need for the Government to take a decision in respect of 38 Oxley Road until Wei Ling no longer resided there, and that it would be up to the Government of the day to consider the matter.
Hsien Loong, despite his undertakings to recuse himself, proceeded to make extensive representations to the Committee. He is conflicted. His political power is related to being Lee Kuan Yew’s son and thus he has every incentive to preserve Lee Kuan Yew’s house to inherit his credibility. He also sits in a direct position of power over the Committee comprised of his subordinate ministers, thus wielding considerable influence for any outcome he desires.
Hsien Loong has asserted to the Committee that Lee Kuan Yew would “accept any decision by the Government to preserve 38 Oxley Road.” This play on words is not only dishonest, but nonsensical. Lee Kuan Yew accepted, as he had to, that the Government had the power to preserve 38 Oxley Road against his wishes. But this does not mean that he wanted 38 Oxley Road preserved.
In doing this, Hsien Loong has deliberately misrepresented Lee Kuan Yew’s clear intentions for his own political benefit. He has also gone back on his own declarations that he would recuse himself from all Government decisions involving 38 Oxley Road and his supposed support for the demolition of the house as Lee Kuan Yew’s son.
In his representations to the Committee, Hsien Loong seeks to call into question the circumstances which led to the execution of Lee Kuan Yew’s last will and its inclusion of the demolition wish. He and Ho Ching are unhappy because the demolition wish gives Wei Ling an unfettered right to live in the house. These queries he raised to the Committee were already fully refuted in 2015. Except this time, of course, they are being raised to a Committee comprising Hsien Loong’s subordinates.
The reality is that there was nothing suspicious or untoward at all about the execution of Lee Kuan Yew’s last will. Indeed, Hsien Loong chose not to raise any legal challenge. The simple truth is that Hsien Loong’s current popularity is tied to Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy. Preserving Lee Kuan Yew’s house would allow Hsien Loong and his family to inherit a tangible monument to Lee Kuan Yew’s authority.
Lee Kuan Yew was a lawyer and well knew the sanctity and finality of a will. He gave clear instructions for the execution of the will. He carefully read his final will before signing it, and he continued to review and reflect after signing to put his affairs in order. Two weeks after executing his will, Lee Kuan Yew personally drafted unassisted a codicil to his will and executed it. All three children were kept fully apprised of the signing of the final will and the codicil. No objection was raised at that time and indeed Hsien Loong has affirmed the will in public and in private.
Ultimately, it is not difficult to see that 38 Oxley Road should be demolished. There is full alignment between Lee Kuan Yew’s final wish and the people of Singapore, since there is overwhelming support among Singaporeans for the demolition of the house. An independent YouGov survey published on 22 December 2015 showed that 77% of Singaporeans supported the demolition of Lee Kuan Yew’s house and only 17% opposed it.
“We are private citizens with no political ambitions. We have nothing to gain from the demolition of 38 Oxley Road, other than the knowledge that we have honoured our father’s last wish. Hsien Loong has everything to gain from preserving 38 Oxley Road – he need only ignore his father’s will and values.”
“The values of Lee Kuan Yew are being eroded by his own son. Our father placed our country and his people first, not his personal popularity or private agendas. We are very sad that we have been pushed to this. We feel hugely uncomfortable and closely monitored in our own country. We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.”
Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang
Joint Executors and Trustees of the Estate of Lee Kuan Yew