Lee Hsien Loong made ‘false’ claims about father’s wishes on Oxley house: Wei Ling and Hsien Yang

Goh Chok Tong, ministers comment on Lee family feud
The Oxley Road house at the centre of a public dispute between the children of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. (Photo: Reuters)

Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang said on Tuesday (4 July) that their older brother and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made “convoluted but ultimately false” claims about their late father’s wishes for the 38 Oxley Road house.

In their first joint response following PM Lee’s Ministerial Statement on the family feud in Parliament on Monday (3 July), Wei Ling and Hsien Yang said – in a joint response posted on both their Facebook pages – that PM Lee is suggesting that because their father Lee Kuan Yew signed some renovation plans in early 2012, he was open to preservation of the house.

“From 2010, LHL improperly misrepresented to our father LKY that gazetting of 38 Oxley Road was either ‘inevitable’ or that the house was already gazetted. We now know that no decision has been made,” the siblings said.

Besides “improper representation and conflicts of interest” on the part of PM Lee, it shows the late Lee’s “considerations” of “alternatives” to demolition were “entirely due” to their brother’s representations about the house’s fate, they added.

In his Ministerial Statement on Monday, PM Lee told Parliament about the late Lee’s changing views on the fate of the house. He cited a proposal by him and his wife Ho Ching to “renovate the house and change the inside completely” and that the late Lee had accepted the proposal.

“LHL cites the renovation plans by Ho Ching as proof of a change (of) mind on the demolition. LKY was in fact very skeptical about the renovation plans, as these were inconsistent with LHL’s insistence that the house would be gazetted,” said Wei Ling and Hsien Yang, who also reproduced an e-mail that was sent by the late Lee to Ho Ching and his three children about the matter.

In September 2012, the late Lee believed that the government had already gazetted the house and asked his lawyer Kwa Kim Li to find the gazette order but Kwa could not find such an order, according to Wei Ling and Hsien Yang.

Reproducing another e-mail, they said that the discussion on renovation was instigated by PM Lee to represent that the house would inevitably be gazetted.

“Merely because LKY and we accept that the government has power to gazette the house does not mean that this is something LKY wished for,” Wei Ling and Hsien Yang said.

PM Lee “tried to play with words” in Parliament by asserting that just because the late Lee left instructions on what to do if the house was gazetted, it means that he “accepted” that the house should be gazetted, they added.

The siblings also reiterated that the late Lee had made clear his wish to demolish the house in public, in private and in his last will.

“If he changed his mind on demolition, he would have made it known in a clear and public fashion. He never did,” they said.

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