PM Lee Hsien Loong denies siblings' allegations, is "deeply saddened"
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has denied his siblings’ allegations regarding his agenda in relation to their father’s home on 38 Oxley Road, saying he is “very disappointed” by their decision to publicise private family matters.
In a Facebook post, Lee called his brother Hsien Yang and sister Wei Ling’s assertion that he has “political ambitions” for his son Hongyi an “absurd claim”.
Early on Wednesday morning (14 June), the prime minister’s siblings issued a statement saying that they had “no confidence” in their brother. They recounted their dispute with their elder brother over their late father Lee Kuan Yew’s estate at 38 Oxley Road and added that their father’s values are “being eroded by his own son”.
Lee said, “My siblings’ statement has hurt our father’s legacy. While siblings may have differences, I believe that any such differences should stay in the family. 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.”
The Prime Minister, who is presently on overseas leave, said that he would consider the matter further upon his return.
-- Yahoo! Singapore
PM Lee’s son Li Hongyi says he has no interest in politics
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s son Li Hongyi said on Thursday (Jun 15) he is not interested in politics, a day after his aunt and uncle said the Prime Minister harboured political ambitions for him.
“For what it is worth, I really have no interest in politics,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
On Wednesday, his aunt and uncle, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, issued a public statement saying they have “lost confidence” in their brother, PM Lee. They also said, based on their interactions, that PM Lee and his wife Ho Ching “harbour political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi”.
In response, PM Lee said he was “very disappointed” that his siblings chose to issue a statement publicising private family matters and denied their allegations, particularly the claim about his son.
"I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate allegations that they have made,” he said. “Ho Ching and I deny these allegations, especially the absurd claim that I have political ambitions for my son."
According to his LinkedIn profile, the 30-year-old Mr Li has worked at the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) since December 2013. Prior to that, he worked at Google as a product manager after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States.
Lee Kuan Yew's last will 'final and legally binding': Lee Hsien Yang
SINGAPORE: The last will made by Mr Lee Kuan Yew is "final and legally binding", Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the youngest son of Singapore's founding Prime Minister said on Thursday (Jun 15), after his elder brother Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he had "grave concerns" about how their father's last will was prepared.
At issue, in particular, was the removal and subsequent re-insertion of a clause stating the late Mr Lee's wish that his house at 38 Oxley Road be demolished after his death, PM Lee noted in a statutory declaration he submitted to a ministerial committee set up to consider the future of the house.
The statutory declaration was made public by PM Lee's lawyers earlier Thursday evening.
In response, the younger Mr Lee noted that his brother had "raised no legal challenge to Lee Kuan Yew's will in the many months after it was read".
"Probate was granted in October 2015, so the will is full, final, and legally binding," Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote in a Facebook post shortly after the statutory declaration was made public.
The younger Mr Lee added that the Prime Minister's public statement to Parliament contradicted the statutory declaration he had made to the ministerial committee.
"Does he or does he not believe that Lee Kuan Yew was unwavering in his wish that the house be demolished? Is his statement to Parliament false, or is his statement under oath false?"
FINAL WILL GAVE ME A "CLEAR RIGHT" TO LIVE AT OXLEY ROAD: LEE WEI LING
In his statutory declaration, PM Lee said that there had been no indication that the demolition clause would be re-inserted in Mr Lee's last will, and it appeared that his father had simply wanted to reinstate the equal division of his estate among the three children.
The late Mr Lee had made changes in his sixth and penultimate will to give his only daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, an extra share.
In his final will, however, Mr Lee reverted to his earlier decision to give each of his children an equal share, said PM Lee, adding that the issue had been a subject of discussion between Mr Lee and his youngest son Hsien Yang.
Dr Lee refuted this point in a Facebook post later on Thursday, saying quotes from her were used "out of context" to suggest that Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife were trying to "cheat" her in their father’s final will.
"I had much earlier and repeatedly made clear to Hsien Loong and Ho Ching the truth that there was no duplicity by Hsien Yang and his wife, Suet Fern," she wrote.
Instead, Dr Lee said, it had been PM Lee and his wife, Mdm Ho Ching, who had been "unhappy" that Dr Lee had been given the right to live at the Oxley Road home, in their father's first will.
"They pushed and persuaded my father very hard on this issue," she said, adding that it resulted in her "losing (her) right to stay in the house" in 2012. "I was very upset and quarrelled with my father."
Dr Lee added that it had been her younger brother's wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern, who had interceded with her father. She also posted screengrabs of emails from Mrs Lee Suet Fern on this matter.
"My father did reinstate me and gave me an extra 1/7 share as a result," Dr Lee said.
"I, too, was concerned about my right to live at 38 Oxley Road. Lee Kuan Yew’s final will of 17 December 2013 gave me that right," she added.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Friday (June 16) weighed in on the Lee family spat over 38 Oxley Road, by urging Singaporeans to "not be dragged down by a family's petty disputes".
Writing on Facebook, Mr Goh noted that Singapore has "prevailed through crises and adversity". "We are a hardy people, built our family and nation from humble beginnings," he wrote.
Mr Goh succeeded founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1990 and handed over the baton to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2004. He added: "What is happening in public between Lee Kuan Yew's children is not us and should not be allowed to define who we are. We are bigger than our troubles, stronger than our differences. Whatever damage Singapore may suffer, willfully inflicted or otherwise, I know Singaporeans will not lay meek… We will always look forward, to fight real battles and create a better future for ourselves and our children."
Chinese state media and netizens have seized on the feud between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings to criticise the Republic’s leadership, drawing a sharp contrast between their coverage and that of the media in countries around the world, which have mostly stuck to factual and balanced reporting.
On Thursday (June 15), for example, the Global Times ran an opinion piece headlined “Is family feud indicating a broader dispute in Singapore?” In adopting a hectoring tone, the piece posited that the family dispute was a sign that socio-political tensions were brewing in Singapore.
“The attack launched on Lee Hsien Loong by his two siblings to some extent represents the dissatisfactions of the liberals and opposition parties against the ‘central interest group’ built up by Lee Hsien Loong, which may lead to the outburst of conflicts in Singapore,” the commentary said.
It went on to say that “Singapore appears to be ill-prepared to adapt to global changes. Its avid support of the South China Sea arbitration rendered the country isolated. As an active promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it was caught in an awkward position after US President Donald Trump discarded the deal. These have cornered Singapore into an unprecedented passive diplomatic position”.
It concluded thus: “Lee Hsien Loong has been granted a chance on the stage of history, but is being rooted against by his siblings. His winning edge lies only in his governance achievements.”
The tabloid, which is published by the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily, and thus offers a view of official thinking, has long had Singapore in its sights.
Last November, after the Singapore Armed Forces’ Terrex vehicles were seized, it warned that the Republic’s “hypocrisy” over its military relationship with Taiwan could harm its relations with China.
A month earlier, it published a series of reports critical of PM Lee’s official visit to Japan. The newspaper claimed that Singapore had agreed to cooperate with Tokyo on various issues, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
That charge came after it alleged in September that Singapore had pushed for a stronger statement on an international tribunal ruling invalidating Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea during the Non-Aligned Movement summit. Singapore’s ambassador to China, Stanley Loh, rebutted the report, calling it “false and unfounded”, but the paper stood by its story.
Global Times’ readership comprises a sizeable number of young nationalists.
Those voices were very much in evidence on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, after reports of the dispute between the Lees were published.
The tone of the reactions bordered on the belligerent. One netizen, for example, wrote: “The Lee family is the vanguard of anti-China (forces). But if you want to oppose China, you should first get your family matters in order.”
Said another: “Lee Hsien Loong did not go against the wishes of Lee Kuan Yew, because both father and son chose to be lackeys of America”.
Hongkong’s South China Morning Post, meanwhile, reported that after reports of the dispute were published by outlets such as Xinhua and People’s Daily, many Chinese nationals took the opportunity to gloat.
One such report, in the Global Times, was flooded with over 5,600 comments from netizens, with the top one attracting 1,440 likes, the Post reported.
That comment called Mr Lee “an anti-China lackey of the United States”. The poster revelled in details of the family split, and added: “Chinese people should forever remember this anti-China lackey of the West. He is more anti-China than anyone else.”
The tone in China contrasts sharply with that elsewhere.
Headlines in news outlets such as the Financial Times, Guardian, BBC News, CNN, and The New York Times were mostly spober recountings of details of the dispute.
The NYT’s headline, for example, was “In Singapore, Prime Minister’s sibligs are taking a private feud public”. The Financial Times’ story, headlined “Singapore frets over worsening Lee family feud”, noted that “the row has dominated political discourse in the Asian financial centre this week.”
Closer to home, Malaysian newspapers have also adopted a sober tone.
On Thursday, a day after the news broke, the New Straits Times carried a Reuters report which focused on the Lee siblings’ claim that they had “lost confidence” in the Prime Minister’s leadership. The Star, meanwhile, zoomed in on the accusation by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling that the PM was milking their father’s legacy. AGENCIES
Stamford Law did not draft any of Lee Kuan Yew's wills: 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.
In it, PM Lee said his brother's wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern, mentioned at the reading of the last will on Apr 12, 2015, that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had asked her to prepare the will. But as she did not want to get personally involved, she had gotten Mr Ng Joo Khin from her law firm, Stamford Law, to handle it. The law firm is now known as Morgan Lewis Stamford following the merger with Morgan Lewis & Bockius in 2005.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang added in his email reply to Channel NewsAsia that paragraph 7 of the last will was drafted at his father's direction, and "put into language" by Lee Suet Fern. When the elder Mr Lee was satisfied, he asked Ms Kwa Kim Li to insert it into his will, said Mr Lee Hsien Yang.
"On LKY's express instructions in writing, two lawyers from Stamford Law were called upon to witness his signing of the will," Mr Lee said in his reply, which was also posted on his Facebook page on Friday.
"The Estate of LKY instructed Stamford Law to extract probate. Ng Joo Khin's role in that was to read the will to the beneficiaries."
Paragraph 7 of the last will relates to the late founding prime minister's wish to have the Oxley Road home demolished immediately after his death, or after his daughter Dr Lee moves out.
In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia on Mr Lee Hsien Yang's assertion, Ms Kwa said: "No, I did not prepare the last will".
"TROUBLING CIRCUMSTANCES" SURROUNDING LAST WILL: PM LEE
However, PM Lee raised concerns about when the clause about his father's wish to have the house torn down was inserted.
According to PM Lee in his statutory declaration, the demolition clause first appeared in the first will that was made on Aug 20, 2011, but his father then gave instructions to remove the clause from the fifth and sixth will. "However, it somehow found its way back into the Last Will," said PM Lee.
PM Lee also laid out the "troubling circumstances" surrounding the preparation of his father's last will. "There are serious doubts about whether Mr Lee was properly and independently advised on the contents of the Last Will before he signed it," said PM Lee.
To this, Mr Lee Hsien Yang had said the last will is "final and legally binding" and that his elder brother had "raised no legal challenge to Lee Kuan Yew's will in the many months after it was read".
The ministerial committee was set up to consider the options for the Oxley Road house and the implications of those options.
In a separate Facebook post on Friday evening, Mr Lee Hsien Yang claimed that it was "evident" from PM Lee's submissions that "this secret committee (was) entirely uninterested in exploring options for the house, instead focusing solely on challenging the validity of the demolition clause in LKY's will".
"Why does it take a committee of the highest paid ministers in the world to challenge a clause reiterating this well-known and publicly stated wish of our father?" the younger Mr Lee wrote, asking if it was not a matter for the family courts instead.
The ongoing dispute between the siblings spilled into the public sphere on Wednesday when Mr Lee and his sister Dr Lee issued a joint six-page statement on their Facebook pages, saying that they have lost confidence in their brother and that they did not trust him. PM Lee, in response, said he was very disappointed that they chose to issue a statement publicising private family matters, and denied the allegations they made.
‘I’ve not thought about what lies beyond demolition’: Lee Hsien Yang on Lee Kuan Yew’s Oxley Road home
SINGAPORE: Mr Lee Hsien Yang on Sunday (Jun 18) indicated that he had no plans for the site of his late father Lee Kuan Yew’s home at Oxley Road, as yet.
In response to a query from Channel NewsAsia, Mr Lee, who is locked in a dispute with his brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, over the house, said: “I purchased the house to fulfil my parents wishes. That is my sole aim. I have not thought about what lies beyond demolition if I achieve it."
He added that he has not made any application seeking approval for demolition of the house and that his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, does not intend to move out.
“My sister is living there and has every intention to live a long life."
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee are joint executors and trustees of the late Mr Lee‘s will and want the Government to honour his wish to demolish the house immediately after his death, or after Dr Lee moves out.
PM Lee has said in Parliament that he intended to fulfil his father’s wishes on the house and that he would recuse himself from any Government decisions on the property.
It was revealed earlier this week that a ministerial committee is looking into the options for the house on 38 Oxley Road. PM Lee has made public a summary of his statutory declaration on the matter, highlighting “grave concerns” about how his father’s last will was prepared.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Saturday released a statement saying there is nothing "secret" about the ministerial committee and said the Government has the responsibility to consider the public interest aspects of any property with heritage and historical significance. This includes Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house as “many critical decisions on the future of Singapore were made there by Mr Lee and our pioneer leaders”, he said.
DPM Teo also said he has tasked relevant agencies to study a range of options for the house and has shared some of these options with the Lee siblings.
"For instance, they know that I would personally not support the options at either end of the range: At one end, preserving the house as it is for visitors to enter and see would be totally against the wishes of Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew; and at the other, demolishing the house and putting the property on the market for new private residences," he stated.
He added that the committee has also been studying various intermediate options such as demolishing the house but keeping the basement dining room where many important historical meetings took place, with a heritage centre attached. These studies are still ongoing, DPM Teo said.
Oxley Road dispute 'not the family legacy' Lee Kuan Yew would have wanted: ESM Goh
SINGAPORE: The dispute involving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings over their father Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road home is not the family legacy that the founding Prime Minister would have wanted to leave behind, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Saturday (Jun 17).
ESM Goh added that he supports the "careful way" in which Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and the Government is handling the issue as public interests are involved.
He made the comments in a Facebook post in response to DPM Teo's statement that explained the setting up of a ministerial committee to study the options for the Oxley Road house.
ESM Goh's post is reproduced below:
I have read DPM Teo Chee Hean’s statement explaining the setting up of the ministerial committee to study the future status of 38 Oxley Road. Sometime last year, he had shared with me the range of options he was exploring. 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.
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. I conveyed his thinking to Lee Hsien Yang last year but the latter remained unhappy over the delay and uncertainty in demolishing the house.
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.
PM Lee apologises to Singaporeans for Oxley Road dispute http://ebx.sh/2srRrlm
Workers' Party says concerned about allegations against PM Lee, files Parliamentary questions http://bit.ly/2swdrf6
Siblings never objected to PM Lee receiving equal share of estate: Lee Hsien Yang
SINGAPORE: The siblings of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong never had any objection to the latter receiving an equal share of their father's estate, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said on Tuesday (Jun 20).
Mr Lee's latest Facebook post comes a day after PM Lee issued a statement on the ongoing family dispute over the house of their late father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, at 38 Oxley Road.
In the statement, PM Lee had said: "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."
However, Mr Lee said in a post on Facebook that "Wei Ling and I never had any objection to Lee Hsien Loong receiving an equal share of the estate. We object to Lee Hsien Loong's flip-flopping about Lee Kuan Yew's demolition wish".
"We asked a simple question, that he has refused to answer for a week: Was our father, Lee Kuan Yew, unwavering in his demolition wish? Yes or no?"
'Baseless accusations' against Govt must be dealt with openly: PM Lee on Oxley Road dispute
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has apologised to Singaporeans over the dispute between him and his siblings over the house of their late father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, at 38 Oxley Road.
"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," PM Lee said in a statement on Monday (Jun 19).
"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."
PM Lee has been locked in a dispute with his siblings over their childhood home, and the matter spilled into the public sphere last week when Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling issued a joint statement accusing their brother of abusing his powers in Government, saying they have "lost confidence" in him.
PM LEE TO REFUTE ALLEGATIONS IN PARLIAMENT
The Prime Minister said much as he would like to move on, the "baseless accusations" against the Government cannot be left unanswered, and must be dealt with openly.
He said he will refute the charges in a ministerial statement when Parliament sits on Jul 3, and that all Members of Parliament will 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," said PM Lee in his statement.
He also assured Singaporeans that the dispute will not distract him and his Cabinet from dealing with more important national issues such as the economic and security challenges facing Singapore.
"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," said PM Lee.
"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."
38 Oxley Road dispute: Special ministerial committees ensure national interest prevails, DPM Tharman says
SINGAPORE: The practice of setting up special ministerial committees, like the one set up to consider the future of the late Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road home, is how the Government ensures that important issues are given in-depth attention, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Thursday (Jun 22).
In a Facebook post, Mr Tharman said the committees ensure that the Government is not one that "operates in silos" and that national interest prevails, even when there are valid private interests.
At the centre of the dispute among Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings is the removal and subsequent re-insertion of a clause in their late father's will, stating his wish that the Oxley Road house be demolished after his death.
In an opinion piece, The Straits Times' editor-at-large, Han Fook Kwang, questioned Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's decision to set up a ministerial committee, asking if there was a need for Cabinet ministers to get involved in the dispute.
In his response, Mr Teo asserted that the Government of the day had to be responsible for making a decision on the Oxley Road property.
Echoing this, Mr Tharman said in his Facebook post on Thursday: "It’s how we ensure that important issues are given in-depth attention, and the options are weighed up by the Ministers closer to the issue, before Cabinet makes its decisions and takes collective responsibility.
"And it’s how we ensure that we are not a Government that operates in silos, that the national interest prevails even when there are valid sectoral or private interests, and that the long view prevails over the short view wherever possible."
Mr Tharman acknowledged that this was "a challenge in governance that will never disappear", as well as one faced everywhere in the world.
"We have never got it perfect in Singapore, and let’s be frank, we’ve had our share of policies that have turned out quite wrong at different points in our history.
"But we have a system of preserving the rule of law, and of policy-making that balances public against private interests, and the long term against the short term, that’s still a rarity in the world - and is at the core of how Singapore has succeeded," he said.
SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE BUILT BY LEE KUAN YEW'S TEAM "ISN'T GOING AWAY"
Mr Tharman noted that such a system of policy-making began with the foundation that Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team built, which continued through government under the leadership of Mr Goh Chok Tong and Mr Lee Hsien Loong and their teams.
Elaborating on the practice of setting up ministerial committees, Mr Tharman said the Government had such committees on "a whole range of issues".
"We in fact do this often - setting up special committees comprising a group of Ministers. We started the practice many years ago, and it has evolved," he said.
"(The committees) help us think through difficult choices in Government before they come to Cabinet, and to canvas views outside when appropriate," Mr Tharman said, noting that he chaired several committees as well.
Some ministerial committees might sit for just a few months, Mr Tharman said, adding that this was because the problems could be sorted out quickly. He also pointed out that there were committees - such as those on foreign worker policies, and funding healthcare and retirement needs - that had to stay engaged for years.
He cited the ministerial committee on Changi East developments as an example of a longer-term committee. It is tasked with coordinating plans for the airport expansion, its manpower and security needs, the relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase, industrial opportunities, land transport provisions, and housing development. "It brings several ministers together, supported by their civil servants, to find the best balance between different demands and plan our options for 10, 30 and 50 years ahead. That’s how long-term our planning has to be."
"So have confidence, no matter today’s sad dispute," Mr Tharman said.
"We have a system of governance that Lee Kuan Yew and his team built, and it isn’t going away. You can count on PM Lee Hsien Loong and all of us in his team for that. You can count on the fourth-generation leaders to keep to a system that upholds the laws of the land, prioritises the common good and looks to the long term. Never thinking Government has got everything right, but always wanting to do right for Singapore. And count on Singaporeans to ensure Government sticks to those principles - and to play our part collectively to keep Singapore united and inclusive."
DPM Teo: Government 'has to decide Oxley's fate' http://ebx.sh/2sEXKlF
Lee Hsien Yang says Ho Ching 'helped herself' to Lee Kuan Yew's papers; records show she was abroad
SINGAPORE: Mr Lee Hsien Yang on Thursday (Jun 22) accused Mdm Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, of accessing some of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's documents on Feb 6, 2015 while the elder Mr Lee was "gravely ill" in hospital, even though records show she was abroad at the time.
Mdm Ho Ching had been accompanying Prime Minister Lee on a week-long official visit to Germany and Spain and was in Madrid on the date Mr Lee Hsien Yang mentioned. She returned to Singapore on Feb 7, 2015.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang had alleged in his Facebook post on Thursday: "LKY was admitted gravely ill into the ICU on Feb 5, 2015. The next day, Ho Ching helped herself to a number of LKY's papers. These she handed to the NHB (ostensibly on loan) under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office," Mr Lee wrote.
"She had no business doing this when LKY was in ICU and it is deeply troubling that someone can represent the PMO despite holding no official position."
Mr Lee later amended his post to acknowledge that Mdm Ho Ching was overseas, as pointed out by Channel NewsAsia.
The papers mentioned in the post included a letter and a telegram dating back to the 1950s. There was also a memo from the director of posts dated Feb 11, 1952, which told postal workers that the British government had no objection to Mr Lee Kuan Yew representing them in their dispute.
In response to queries on Mr Lee Hsien Yang's Facebook post, the National Heritage Board (NHB) said the list showed items on loan from PMO to NHB.
"For items numbered 2 to 5, the items were received on Apr 6, 2015 instead of Feb 6, 2015 as indicated. This was a clerical error. NHB has a receipt for the items on loan from PMO dated Apr 6, 2015," an NHB spokesperson said. "All the items were loaned to NHB after the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away, to be displayed at the In Memoriam: Lee Kuan Yew exhibition held at the National Museum of Singapore."
Mr Lee Hsien Yang responded to NHB's clarification in a Facebook post. "This is even more troubling," he wrote.
Mr Lee said that according to his late father's will, the estate's "residual items", such as personal documents, fall under the "absolute discretion" of the executors - his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling and himself.
"Unapproved removal of these items, even by a beneficiary, constitutes both theft and intermeddling," he wrote.
"Ho Ching is not an executor or a beneficiary to our father's estate. We also still do not understand how she is a proper contact representative for the PMO."
The Lee siblings have been locked in a dispute over the house of their late father at 38 Oxley Road, with PM Lee's two siblings issuing a statement on Jun 14 accusing their brother of abusing his position in Government to deal with the matter.
PM Lee has denied the allegations and said he will refute the charges in a ministerial statement when Parliament sits on Jul 3.
First of all, I am glad to read this:
"He added that he has not made any application seeking approval for
demolition of the house and that his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, does
not intend to move out.
“My sister is living there and has every intention to live a long life.""
Then I would like to suggest that PM Lee perhaps could reclaim some land.. make a road called Oxley 2 Road or Oxford Rd or Oxbridge Rd.. and build a house of the exact same dimensions and design as that at 38 Oxley Road and make it into a museum or memorial hall or something to hold the memorabilia and photos of the following invisible but very precious stuff that makes up Singapore:
1) the Japanese invasion and occupation
2) the British colonial times
3) the 513 riots and subsequent separation from Malaysia to become independent
4) the Speak Mandarin campaign
5) Courtesy campaign and Singa the lion
6) the water recycling issues
7) No littering and spitting campaigns
9) the more recent Go Dig Up Your Hokkien Roots...
I must say that I don't understand how a house can create.. or cause the creation of a dynasty.. in America and even China, the people there are also keeping the residences of their founding fathers (Mao Ze Dong for China).. and turning them into some memorial parks or halls..... but I don't see any dynasty in any of these places??
Lee Kuan Yew's will accepts that demolition of 38 Oxley Road may not take place: Indranee
SINGAPORE: The final will of late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew “specifically accepts and acknowledges that demolition may not take place”, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah.
In a Facebook post on Friday (Jun 23) titled “4 Things You Should Know about the Oxley Dispute”, Ms Indranee said Mr Lee “accepted that the house may not be demolished and in such case expressed his wishes on what should happen”. “Essentially he did not want the house to be open to the public," she wrote.
Ms Indranee said: “Much of the recent public discussion on this issue has been premised on the assumption that the 7th will only contemplates one outcome - demolition. But this is not the case.”
She cited the second part of the demolition clause in Mr Lee's will, which stated: “If our children are unable to demolish the house as a result of any changes in the laws, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the house never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants.”
Ms Indranee also explained why the dispute over the property at 38 Oxley Road is not purely a private matter but a matter of public interest, noting that the house is intertwined with the history of Singapore.
“It is the site where our founding fathers first came together and set Singapore on the path to its future destiny. It is where important and historical decisions were made that led to internal self-government, merger and eventually independence. The strategies to outflank the communists were developed there. It is where the People's Action Party was formed,” Ms Indranee wrote.
She reiterated that Prime Minister Lee has recused himself from taking part in any Government consideration or decisions regarding 38 Oxley Road and the house cannot be demolished now as the Government has said that it will not do anything to the house while PM Lee’s sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, is still living there.
Noted Ms Indranee: “Mr Lee Hsien Yang has said that: ‘My sister is living there and has every intention to live a long life.’”
There is therefore no need to make a decision on demolition now, she said.
“It may be decades before a definite decision needs to be taken.
"The Cabinet at that time will have to make the decision. Most of the current Cabinet Ministers are unlikely to be in Cabinet then.”
38 Oxley Road committee: Interest in Lee Kuan Yew's will confined to understanding his wishes, says Indranee
SINGAPORE: The interest of the 38 Oxley Road ministerial committee in the will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew is confined to trying to understand his thinking on the house, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Saturday (Jun 24).
In a Facebook post titled "4 Further Things You Should Know About the Oxley Dispute", Ms Indranee pointed out that demolition clause was in his first four wills, but was removed in his fifth and sixth wills, and reinserted in his seventh and final will.
"So Mr Lee had changed his mind once. The question is whether he changed it a second time? Or whether the demolition clause was inserted without his awareness?" Ms Indranee wrote.
"The interest of the ministerial committee in the will is confined to trying to understand his thinking on the house."
LAWYER DRAFTING WILL NEEDS TO BE INDEPENDENT: INDRANEE
Under Singapore law, whoever drafted the last will is required to be independent, said Ms Indranee.
"If the lawyer has an interest in the will, the lawyer must make sure the person making the will gets independent advice," she explained.
"In the seventh will, Dr Lee Wei Ling's extra share was reduced and the three children were given equal shares i.e. Mr Lee Hsien Yang's share increased. As Mrs Lee Suet Fern is his wife, if she prepared the seventh will, then the question which will arise is what independent advice MM received?" Ms Indranee wrote, referring to Mr Lee Kuan Yew by his position as Minister Mentor.
She also pointed to a Facebook post by Mr Lee Hsien Yang which claimed his father gave "express instructions" that his final in 2013 will be a reversion to his first will of 2011.
"On the basis of this instruction, we took what we understood to be the final version of the 2011 will, without realising that a gift over clause had been in the executed version of the 2011 will," Mr Lee wrote on Jun 17.
To that, Ms Indranee said Mr Lee has not specified who "we" referred to in his post. "If the lawyer referred to in 'we' is Mrs Lee Suet Fern, then certain questions will arise," Ms Indranee wrote.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the late Mr Lee's eldest son, had expressed "grave concerns" about the events surrounding the making of his father's last will.
In a summary of his statutory declaration to the ministerial committee that was made public last Thursday, PM Lee said: "There are serious doubts about whether Mr Lee was properly and independently advised on the contents of the last will before he signed it."
PM Lee questioned the role that his brother's wife, lawyer Lee Suet Fern, played in drafting the final will, and said they gave Mr Lee Kuan Yew the impression that the changes to his will would only reinstate the equal division of his estate among the three children.
"INSULT TO A GREAT MAN": LEE HSIEN YANG
About an hour after her Facebook post, Mr Lee Hsien Yang responded on his own page, saying it is "an insult to a great man" for PM Lee's ministers to "repeat his insinuations" that Lee Kuan Yew - a Cambridge-educated lawyer - did not understand his own will.
He said that the last will was "no more than a reversion" to the 2011 will on the late founding prime minister's instructions, reiterating that the last will is final and legally binding since probate has been granted.
"The proper place for Lee Hsien Loong to challenge his father's will was in court," he added.
The very public spat among the three children of the late Mr Lee began when PM Lee's siblings issued a statement in the wee hours of Jun 14, accusing him of abusing his position in Government to deal with matters concerning their childhood home, amongst other allegations.
PM Lee had said earlier this week that as he would like to move on, the "baseless accusations" against the Government cannot be left unanswered, and must be dealt with openly. He said he will refute the charges in a ministerial statement when Parliament sits on Jul 3.
Indranee lists options for 38 Oxley Road; questions why Lee Hsien Yang wants 'immediate commitment' on demolition
SINGAPORE: There are four possible options for the house of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road – demolition, preservation, conservation and compulsory acquisition – said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Monday (Jun 26).
Listing the options and their consequences in a Facebook post, Ms Indranee said: “From the Government's perspective, the question is whether there is an intermediate option which will allow us to respect the wishes of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and still preserve the heritage and history of 38 Oxley Road for Singapore and Singaporeans.”
The house has been at the centre of a bitter dispute between the late Mr Lee’s children, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.
If the house is demolished, Ms Indranee said it would clear the way for the owner, in this case Mr Lee Hsien Yang, to appeal for the land to be re-zoned, since the original rationale for the 2-storey zoning in the area for security reasons is also gone with the passing of Mr Lee.
“If re-zoning or increased plot ratio is granted, the land value will increase well beyond the market value for a two-storey property. In that event, one can expect many developers to line up to buy the property,” said Ms Indranee in a post titled “4 financial things you should know about the Oxley dispute”.
The land is freehold, she noted, and the 12,060 square foot house is worth about S$24 million, according to analysts.
If the house is preserved and designated a national monument, the property would be subject to compulsory acquisition within one year of the preservation order, and no works can be done to it without the approval of the National Heritage Board.
Conservation, on the other hand, is less restrictive as works can be done to the building within certain guidelines, but like preservation, the land cannot be redeveloped.
In the final option Ms Indranee listed – compulsory acquisition – Mr Lee Hsien Yang would get compensation under the Land Acquisition Act at market value at the time of acquisition. The Government could then demolish the house and “build a tasteful memorial or symbolic marker in a park setting,” she explained.
The late founding prime minister had in his last will stated his wishes to have the family home demolished immediately after his death, or when his daughter Dr Lee moved out. But there have been questions over whether he knew that the demolition clause was re-inserted into the will, and whether that was the only option he considered.
“WHAT IS THE URGENCY?”
The matter, however, may not need to be decided for another 20 to 30 years, since Dr Lee is still living in the house, said Ms Indranee.
“The Government has publicly stated that it will respect those wishes and does not intend to do anything until Dr Lee leaves,” she wrote, pointing out that letting the property stand, for now, does not go against the wishes of the late Mr Lee.
“So there is nothing for the government to decide now. The real question therefore is why Mr Lee Hsien Yang is asking for an immediate commitment on demolition now? What is the urgency?"
Ms Indranee also pointed out that while Mr Lee Hsien Yang has said he has not thought about what lies beyond demolition,"it would appear he has not ruled out redevelopment."
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had said on Jun 17 that the Government has a responsibility to consider public interest aspects of any property with heritage and historical significance, including the 38 Oxley Road house where many critical decisions on the future of Singapore were made by the late Mr Lee and other pioneer leaders.
Mr Teo, as chair of the ministerial committee set up to consider the future of the house, said he had shared options with Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.
He said he told them that he would personally not support options at “either end of the range” – that is to preserve the house for visitors to enter or to demolish it and put it on the market for new private residences.
Instead, the committee has been studying “intermediate options” like demolishing the house but keeping the basement dining room where many important historical meetings took place, with an appropriate heritage centre attached, Mr Teo revealed.
“This would substantially fulfill Mr Lee's wish,” said Ms Indranee. “His and Mrs Lee's privacy would be respected. Pictures of the basement were already made public during Mr Lee's time and are widely available. Nothing of the private spaces would be seen.
“At the same time, the history and heritage would not be lost and the crucible where the hopes and dreams of a nation were forged can be kept to inspire many more generations to come.”
it's very clear now which one is the dishonorable son
'Not true' that ministerial committee is bent on preventing demolition of Lee Kuan Yew's home: DPM Teo
SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday (Jun 27) said it is untrue that a ministerial committee studying options for Mr Lee Kuan Yew's old home at 38 Oxley Road is "bent on preventing the demolition of the house".
Labelling it a "misconception" that the late Mr Lee's youngest son Lee Hsien Yang may have, DPM Teo who chairs the ministerial committee, said he shared his personal views on some of the options for the house with him. This is to let him know that the "Government was not bent on retaining the house as he seems to believe, but that we are calmly and objectively examining a range of options", he said.
He added that Mr Lee Hsien Yang "seems supportive" of some of the intermediate options the ministerial committee is studying.
Some of these options were laid out by Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah in a Facebook post on Sunday.
DPM Teo reiterated that no decision is needed on the house for now as Mr Lee Hsien Yang's sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, is still living there. "Cabinet will only decide on which option to choose, when the time comes for a decision to be made on the house. If, for example, Dr Lee Wei Ling ceases to live in the house next month, then Cabinet will have to decide next month. If she stays there for 30 more years, then the Government in place, in 30 years, will have to decide," Mr Teo said.
He added: "There should be no need to disagree on studying the options for the time when a decision needs to be made."
DPM Teo's statement is as follows:
"I met Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) several times between April and July 2015. I informed him that PM Lee had recused himself on Government decisions relating to No. 38 Oxley Road (“the house”).
I conveyed Cabinet’s deep respect for Mr Lee Kuan Yew (Mr Lee), and that Cabinet will take very seriously Mr Lee’s wishes regarding the house, as expressed in his Will, at a time when a decision has to be made regarding the house.
I also informed him that no decision is needed now. Dr Lee Wei Ling (LWL) is living in the house, and a decision made prospectively by the current Government could not bind a future Government.
From Mr LHY’s latest statement on Jun 27, 2017, he agrees there is no need for a decision on the house now. So there is no difference of views between Mr LHY and the Government on when a decision is to be made.
The committee was set up to study and set out the range of possible options for the house and present them to Cabinet. Cabinet will only decide on which option to choose, when the time comes for a decision to be made on the house. If, for example, Dr LWL ceases to live in the house next month, then Cabinet will have to decide next month. If she stays there for 30 more years, then the Government in place, in 30 years, will have to decide. The committee had written to Mr LHY and Dr LWL to clarify that it would list the various options and study their implications. By way of illustration, we highlighted that converting the house to a park would require studying the implications on the area, including for planning and zoning. This is in writing.
I had also shared my personal views, verbally, on some of the options with Mr LHY, such as demolishing the house but keeping the basement dining room with a heritage centre attached. My objective was to let him know that Government was not bent on retaining the house as he seems to believe, but that we are calmly and objectively examining a range of options.
I do not recall whether it was Mr LHY or I who suggested a memorial park, but he is mistaken that I expressed reluctance. I said that I personally did not support the options on the extreme ends of the range – preserving the house as it is, or demolishing the house to redevelop it for new private residences. There are indeed a range of viable intermediate options between these. Mr LHY seems supportive of some of the intermediate options we are studying.
So there should be no need to disagree on studying the options for the time when a decision needs to be made."
38 Oxley Road dispute: 'No confidence' that complete account will be told in Parliament, says Lee Hsien Yang
SINGAPORE: Mr Lee Hsien Yang said on Thursday (Jun 29) that he has "no confidence" that a "fair, transparent or complete account of events" will be told in Parliament when his brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addresses the dispute involving their childhood home at 38 Oxley Road.
"Only his side of the story will air, with no promise of truthfulness due to parliamentary privilege," Mr Lee said on his Facebook page.
He added: "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."
PM Lee has promised to deal with the allegations when Parliament sits on Jul 3, saying that the "baseless accusations" against him and the Government must be dealt with openly. He also invited all Members of Parliament to question him and his Cabinet colleagues vigorously on the matter.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang, however, reiterated that a parliamentary session is "not the correct forum for investigations of this nature," and said the sitting on Jul 3 is another example of the Prime Minister misusing his position to drive his personal agenda.
"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," Mr Lee wrote on Facebook. "Many MPs will fear career repercussions if they speak out against their superior."
At the centre of the very public spat between PM Lee and his siblings is the future of the house which belonged to their father, the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and whether it should be demolished.
PM Lee's siblings have questioned the need to set up a ministerial committee to consider options for the house, when the late Mr Lee had stated in his will his wish to have the house demolished immediately after his death or after his daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling has moved out.
Chair of the ministerial committee, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, said earlier this week that it is "not true" that the Government is bent on preventing the demolition of the house, calling it a "misconception" that Mr Lee Hsien Yang may have.
PM Lee, DPM Teo to make ministerial statements in Parliament on 38 Oxley Road dispute
SINGAPORE: When Parliament sits on Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will deliver ministerial statements on the dispute surrounding the house of the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road.
According to the Parliament order paper released on Friday (Jun 30), PM Lee will address allegations of abuse of power made by his siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.
Mr Teo will speak about the ministerial committee that was set up to consider options for the house.
PM Lee said last Monday that he would refute the "baseless accusations" in Parliament on Jul 3, and invited all Members of Parliament to question him and his Cabinet colleagues vigorously.
Other issues on the agenda include bicycle-sharing schemes and how they are being managed. Three MPs filed questions on the matter, with MP Zaqy Mohamad asking if the Ministry of Transport plans to introduce measures to manage indiscriminate parking.
MP Ang Wei Neng wants to know how many complaints have been received on the improper use of dockless bicycles since the start of this year, while MP Lim Biow Chuan is asking if people who damage these rental bicycles will be prosecuted.
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.
She also added that Mr Lee’s wife, Ho Ching, took a sabbatical to “help sort out Lee family affairs”.
“This consisted of spending her days at Oxley Road getting the photographer from Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) to photograph and catalog items which she would pack into plastic boxes to send to storage, and her attempts to recreate the way Oxley looked decades ago."
"She had no business doing this at all," said Dr Lee.
Dr Lee said Madam Ho “wrongfully took and handed over” items from the Oxley Road house to the National Heritage Board (NHB) – enough to create a “Lee Kuan Yew Museum”.
She added: “Later, the NHB was subsequently told by the Prime Minister's Office to refuse the exhibition – simply because we (Dr Lee and Lee Hsien Yang) had required that the last paragraph in Papa’s will be simultaneously displayed to remind the public of his desire (for the house) to be demolished.”
Dr Lee also said the Mr Lee and Madam Ho’s actions “angered” her, adding they were “taking advantage of the fact that no one would dare criticise them for acting improperly”.
PHOTOS TAKEN FOR NATIONAL ARCHIVAL, DOCUMENTATION: MCI
In a response to Dr Lee's post, the MCI said on Saturday that its photographers were deployed to take photos of various personal and official items belonging to Mr Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road after the founding Prime Minister's passing.
"This was done for the purposes of national archival and documentation. Similar photographic recordings were done during Mr Lee’s lifetime of his study at home and of the basement dining room."
A spokesperson said MCI's photographers continued to support the elder Mr Lee after he stepped down from the Cabinet, "in line with MCI's policy of supporting former Prime Ministers and Presidents after they leave office".
PM Lee has been locked in a dispute with his siblings over their childhood home, and the matter spilled into the public sphere last month when Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee issued a joint statement accusing their brother of abusing his powers in Government, saying they have "lost confidence" in him.
PM Lee and and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will deliver ministerial statements on the dispute in Parliament on Monday.