Lee Kuan Yew wanted his estate divided equally among his children: Wei Ling

Former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (2nd left) and his family celebrate his 80th birthday in Singapore in this 16 September, 2003, file photo. From left, Lee’s daughter Lee Wei Ling, wife Kwa Geok Choo, son Lee Hsien Loong and daughter-in-law Ho Ching. (Reuter file photo)

SINGAPORE — While the late Lee Kuan Yew had initially planned to give his daughter Wei Ling “a little more” than her brothers in a 2012 version of his will, he eventually decided to give all three equal shares of his estate in his final will in 2013, said the middle child of the late Lee on Sunday (14 April).

In her Facebook post, Wei Ling alluded to media reports that “continued to repeat (Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s) false and dishonourable allegations that (Hsien) Yang somehow swindled our father to get more in his final will”.

“This is a lie,” claimed the 64-year-old of the alleged reports against her younger brother. “Equal shares was always our parents intention and agreement between them and with the children.”

Hsien Yang has maintained that his father’s final will was drafted by lawyer Kwa Kim Li, which the latter has denied. Wei Ling repeated this assertion in her post, saying, “Kwa Kim Li was retained as our father’s lawyer for all his wills save the first (drafted by our mother, for which she was the principal beneficiary).”

She added, “Kim Li herself advised our father to go to equal shares. In an e-mail to me, she wrote: ‘I told him…. when he instructed me to divide the estate unequally, that it was already decided that the estate was to be divided equally.’ This is exactly what was reflected in his final will.”

The Lee saga

Wei Ling’s post is the latest development in the long-running Lee family saga, which first erupted on 14 June 2017 when Wei Ling and Hsien Yang issued a joint statement of “no confidence” on social media against their elder brother and Singapore’s prime minister, Hsien Loong.

They claimed to have been threatened amid his pursuit of a personal agenda over their former family home at 38 Oxley Road and accused their brother of plotting to keep the house in order to build a political dynasty, starting with his son Hongyi.

It eventually resulted in a special parliamentary session in July 2017, where PM Lee called his siblings’ allegations “entirely baseless”. Several days later, PM Lee’s siblings called a truce on their social media posts, “provided that we and our father’s wish are not attacked or misrepresented.”

While Hsien Yang insists that his wife Suet Fern played no role in preparing his father’s final will, she will face a disciplinary tribunal convened by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for her alleged role in the matter. In a Facebook post last Friday, Hsien Yang claimed that AGC had filed “over 500 pages of complaint” against her. 

His son Li Shengwu is also facing contempt of court proceedings over a private Facebook post in October 2017. In the post, the 34-year-old had claimed that “the Singapore Government is very litigious and has a pliant court system. This constrains what the international media can usually report”.

In response, Li, a professor at Harvard University, later explained that his post was intended as a criticism of the Singapore government’s effect on press freedom and that the “AGC chose to escalate the dispute”.

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