Ho Ching on Friday (23 June) refuted a claim by her brother-in-law Lee Hsien Yang that she had “helped herself” to a number of Lee Kuan Yew’s papers a day after the late Prime Minister was admitted to hospital.
In a direct reply to Hsien Yang’s post on Facebook on Thursday, Ho, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, also clarified the events that led to the loan of several items belonging to the late Lee to the National Heritage Board (NHB).
Hsien Yang claimed that on 6 February 2015, a day after the late Lee was rushed to an intensive care unit, Ho had taken a number of the late Lee’s papers and handed them to the NHB under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office.
“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,” Hsien Yang added. Ho is the chief executive officer of the state-owned Temasek Holdings.
In response, Ho said she was not in Singapore on 6 February 2015. The late Lee passed away on 23 March 2015.
“In any case, there would not be any reason for me to rummage or tidy up papa’s things when he was in the hospital – that is not me nor my values,” Ho said.
Ho then explained that after the late Lee’s funeral, she began tidying up his house at 38 Oxley Road and organising his items. During this period, Hsien Yang and his wife Suet Fern were overseas, according to Ho. Wei Ling, the younger sister of PM Lee, was at the house and she was kept posted about Ho’s tasks.
Some time in April, Ho said she came across four items that could be of significance in the late Lee’s life. She brought them to PM Lee’s attention and he thought it would be useful to lend them to NHB, which was organising an exhibition on the late Lee’s life.
“I arranged to do so through the PMO, emphasizing to NHB that these items belonged to the estate and must be returned,” Ho said.
Ho added that she was also organising the late Lee’s ties and that Hsien Yang confirmed that he was agreeable to let NHB pick up the ties that were of historical significance.
After the late Lee’s final will was read out to the Lee family on 12 April 2015, Ho said that she kept Hsien Yang and Wei Ling updated about the things she had done, including about the four items that were loaned to NHB.
Ho concluded by saying, “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 (when she was organising the late Lee’s items).
“I hope that whatever you are upset about, you will have the heart to remember what papa and mama would have wanted most for the family and for Singapore.”
PM Lee referred to his wife’s comments in a post on his Facebook page on Friday night. He said, “Questions had been raised about her role in the loan of some of these items to NHB. The loan was openly done, and for a good cause – an exhibition remembering my father soon after he died.”