Most Singaporeans agree that Lee Kuan Yew’s house should go - survey

A man walks past the house of Singapore's late founding father Lee Kuan Yew at Oxley Rise in Singapore (AFP Photo/ROSLAN RAHMAN)

A new poll of some 1,000 Singaporeans shows that a majority of them agree with the decision to eventually demolish the late Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38 Oxley Road.

YouGov, a UK-based market research firm, carried out the poll earlier this month, in response to the decision by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his brother Lee Hsien Yang to each donate half the value of the house to charity. The Lee siblings had also expressed the hope that the government will allow the demolition of the house to be carried out, and that “all Singaporeans will support their cause”.

According to the survey, 77 per cent of respondents support the Lees’ decision to demolish the house. Among those in support, 61 per cent think the wishes of the late Lee and his family should be honoured, while some 39 per cent feel that the privacy of the Lees should be respected.

Conversely, 15 per cent of respondents do not think the house should go. Among them, 75 per cent think the house has high historical and cultural value, and that the Lees should open the house for public visits. Another 25 per cent think the house belongs to all Singaporeans, and that they should have a say in its final fate.

Earlier this month, veteran Singapore journalist and media consultant P N Balji expressed the view that the house should be preserved, and that Singaporeans should be given the privilege of visiting the premises.

Balji’s commentary attracted 166 comments, many of them mixed. Some like LHL said, “Why must there be people who needs to “kaypoh” into other people’s family matters. Who are these people who think that they have the right to interfere and try to supercede the Lee family’s decision? They know better than LKY and his family?”

Others like Paul Naidu said, “Destroying his house is like burning a part of his memory. It cannot be restored once done. His home has great historic value for generations to come to draw inspiration, both for visitors at home and abroad. For the sake of a greater good lets keep his house a national heritage and a reminder of our historical roots. We need that despite our short history.”

Separately, the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth is currently gathering views from the public on a memorial for the founding fathers of Singapore. YouGov’s survey also asked respondents for their views on this, and 56 per cent of respondents feel that such a memorial is necessary.

On the other hand, 34 per cent of them do not think so. The reasons cited include the existence of monuments, and that the plan is a way for the government to gain more votes.