Amid questions on why he and his sister Lee Wei Ling have made their dispute with their elder brother and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong public, Lee Hsien Yang explained that he simply wanted to honour their late father’s wish to demolish the family home on 38 Oxley Road.
“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,” wrote Hsien Yang in a Facebook post on Saturday (1 July). The three are the children of the late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister.
Hsien Yang also addressed insinuations that he seeks to redevelop the land on which the Oxley Road house sits into a condominium for financial profit after buying it at 150 per cent of market price.
“Beyond zero certainty on timing and the ability to demolish, this requires both rezoning by the URA and cooperation with the neighbours. I have no inclination to seek either of these,” said Hsien Yang, referring to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
“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 ensure my father’s wishes are honoured,” he added.
Hsien Yang said he had suggested options such as demolishing the house and planting a memorial garden but his older brother “staunchly refused” this idea. Hsien Yang said that he, his sister and their late father recognised that the government had the power to gazette the house, noting that “no man stands above the law after all”.
“We are simply very sad that is in fact Hsien Loong using powers and instruments of the state to achieve preservation of the house for his personal agenda, whilst pretending to be an honourable son,” he wrote.
The children of the late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, have been embroiled for weeks in a public spat over the fate of the Oxley Road house. The current prime minister’s younger siblings have accused him of abusing his power in looking to prevent the house from being demolished as per the late Lee’s final will.
PM Lee apologised to Singaporeans on 19 June for the family feud that has “disturbed and confused” Singaporeans and said he would be making a Ministerial Statement in Parliament on 3 July to refute the allegations against him.
A recent survey showed that nearly five out of 10 Singaporeans believe the Oxley house should be demolished. However, regarding the abuse of power allegations against the prime minister, four in 10 Singaporeans believe the younger Lee siblings need to show more proof.