Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The famiLEE feud: Not another minister on the Will again!

Update 1 Jul 2017: Halimah Yacob says she hopes Oxley Road dispute will be 'properly debated' in Parliament

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob on Saturday (Jul 1) said that she hoped issues would be "properly debated" in Parliament on Monday, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is set to address allegations by his siblings against him.

"There will be of course a lot of speeches, but I do hope that we can see that the issues are properly debated and hopefully, if we can have some finality, that would be ideal. But I really leave it to the debate," she said when asked on the sidelines of a People's Action Party (PAP) event what she hopes to see during the debate.

"As the speaker, my task is to ensure that it's a fair, open, transparent debate that goes on on Monday."


STANDING ORDERS OF THE PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
Ministerial Statements

23. A statement may be made by a Minister in Parliament on a matter of public importance. Members may seek clarification on the statement but no debate shall be allowed thereon.


Chee Hong Tat: LKY wouldn't have wanted 'baseless allegations' made that hurt Singapore

Mr Lee Kuan Yew would not have wished for a family dispute to be turned into a public quarrel that hurt Singapore's international standing.

Neither would he have wished for 'baseless allegations' to be made against Government leaders & institutions, undermining confidence in the systems he created, Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat said last night, in a Facebook post on the ongoing feud involving Mr Lee's children.

Mr Chee, who was the late Mr Lee's Principal Private Secretary from 2008 to 2011, said he was greatly saddened to see what had been happening over the past 2 weeks, "especially when I think of the pain it would bring to Mr & Mrs Lee".


Lee Kuan Yew would not wish for family dispute to hurt Singapore's standing: Chee Hong Tat
Mr Chee was principal private secretary to Mr Lee Kuan Yew from 2008 to 2011

Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew would not wish for a family dispute to be turned into a public quarrel that hurt Singapore’s international standing, his former principal private secretary Chee Hong Tat said on Sat (Jul 1).

Referring to the spat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong & his siblings Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling, Mr Chee, who is now Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, said in a Facebook post that the "wild allegations have damaged Singapore’s reputation, something which (Mr Lee Kuan Yew) spent his entire life building up".

"Mr Lee would not wish for a family dispute to be turned into a public quarrel that hurt Singapore’s international standing. Neither would he wish for 'baseless allegations' to be made against Government leaders and institutions, undermining confidence in the systems he created. Mr Lee would put Singapore’s interests above personal interests," he wrote.


Chee Hong Tat 徐芳达 4 hrs

I served as Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s Principal Private Secretary from 2008 to 2011. It was the best posting I ever had, as I had the opportunity to learn directly from Mr Lee and observe how he dealt with different types of people and handled difficult issues. During those 3 years, I also got to know Wei Ling and we became friends. Wei Ling is someone I admire and respect. She has strong views and can be very blunt at times, but she has a good heart and genuinely cares for the people around her.

It saddens me greatly to see what has been happening over the past 2 weeks, especially when I think of the pain it would bring to Mr and Mrs Lee. The wild allegations have damaged Singapore’s reputation, something which Mr Lee spent his entire life building up. I do not believe Wei Ling will intentionally cause harm to her country. So I have asked myself over and over again, why is she doing this? Has she been misled and misunderstood what happened?

One thing I learnt from Mr Lee is to always put the country’s interests above personal interests. Mr Lee would make this point repeatedly in his discussions with Ministers and civil servants, and he demonstrated it through his actions. He drummed this into all of us. He also believed in the rule of law and that no one, including himself, was above the law. These values formed the foundation of our nation building and differentiate Singapore from other countries in the region.


Not another minister on the Will again!

The dispute over the House and the Will should have been kept private. It is regrettable that our ministers are getting involved in what should have been a private matter. The right forum should have been a court of law.

Was it wise or necessary for ministers to be involved in such matters as Mr Lee’s will, which are difficult to ascertain? Should they not have confined themselves to deciding only on what to do with the house – demolish, preserve or some intermediate option?

In retrospect, ministers should have stayed clear of the dispute over the will. They should have told PM Lee: As the eldest child, please resolve the matter with your siblings. Do not involve us. We expect you to solve it, hopefully amicably. Involving the Government risks harming its good name and that of its ministers” (“Three key issues in the Lee v Lee saga“, Straits Times, Jun 21).

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OH NO! NOT ANOTHER MINISTER COMMENTING ON THE WILL AGAIN

I refer to the article “Oxley Road dispute: Indranee asks Lee Hsien Yang who drafted the late Lee Kuan Yew’s final will” (Straits Times, Jun 25).

It states that “Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah on Saturday (June 24) called on Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, to identify the lawyer who drafted the final will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

On Saturday, her focus was on the will. She said Mr Lee Hsien Yang has insisted that Ms Kwa Kim Li from Lee & Lee had drafted it. But the lawyer, who prepared the first six wills, has denied having a part in the final document.

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Allegations from my siblings 'mostly inaccurate': PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Jun 27) said the allegations that his siblings continue to make about him are "mostly inaccurate".

In response to media queries on the Facebook posts from his brother & sister, PM Lee said: "My siblings continue to make allegations about what I supposedly did or did not do. They are mostly inaccurate. As I earlier said, I will be making a statement in Parliament on Jul 3, 2017. I will at that time deal with the allegations that need to be addressed."

PM Lee & his siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, have been locked in a public spat over their late father Lee Kuan Yew's home at 38 Oxley Road.

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PSD confirms polling public service officers on Oxley Road dispute

The Public Service Division (PSD) has confirmed that it polled public officers on the Lee family feud. They conducted the poll because the allegations went “beyond private matters”.

The PSD said in a statement to the media on Tuesday (27 June), “As part of our stakeholder engagement, the Public Service Division periodically seeks public officers’ sentiments on public issues that matter to them. We are polling public officers to understand their sentiments on this issue as it involves the integrity of our public institutions, of which they are an important part.”

The PSD issued the statement after screenshots of the poll by PSD Engage about the dispute over 38 Oxley Road were circulated online. The person who shared the photos questioned why public resources were used to conduct the poll. The PSD is part of the Prime Minister’s Office.


PSD polling public officers on Oxley Road spat as allegations involves integrity of public sector

The Public Service Division (PSD) on Tuesday (Jun 27) confirmed that it is polling public officers on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's dispute with his siblings over the late Lee Kuan Yew's house at 38 Oxley Road, saying that the allegations went "beyond private matters".

The PSD, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office, said it was doing so to "understand their sentiments".

"On the issue of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s dispute with his siblings, the allegations made go beyond private matters & extend to the conduct & integrity of the Government & our public institutions," the PSD said in a response to Channel NewsAsia

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PSD polling public service officers on 38 Oxley Road dispute

"We are polling public officers to understand their sentiments on this issue as it involves the integrity of our public institutions, of which they are an important part.”

Photos circulating on social media appeared to show e-mails to public service officers asking them to answer a poll on the Oxley Road dispute. The email, signed PSD Engage, states: "Please be assured that your participation will be kept strictly confidential and individual responses will not be identifiable."

Screengrabs of the poll show participants are asked: "As a public officer, to what extent has this matter affected your confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our public institutions and the public service?" They are also asked whether the issue should be addressed in Parliament.

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Public Service Division runs opinion poll with public servants on ongoing-Lee Family Saga

Just yesterday, Leslie Chew, cartoonist of the hiatus Demon-cratic Studio posted two screenshots of a poll that someone sent him. It was said to be an opinion poll from the Public Service Division (PSD) under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to poll civil/public servants for their opinions on the Lee Family dispute.

Chew who shared the poll, wrote:
  • "Is it not an abuse of public resources for the PM to use the PMO to conduct the poll? If the PM wants some opinion about his family matters, shouldn't he be using his own money to hire professional survey firms to conduct the poll instead of abusing taxpayers funded resources like this?
  • Is it not a waste of taxpayers' monies paid to civil/public servants to be spending their working time participating in polls of the PM's personal & private family matter instead of using the said time doing the actual job they are paid for - serving the people?"
What is the poll used for:
  • As with the "secret committee" formed to deliberate the government decision on the property at 38 Oxley Road, what is this poll meant for? Even if you would have an overwhelming response from the public service officers that the whole incident is a negative affair to Singapore and that the Prime Minister should not be using the Parliament to address his personal affairs, what will PSD do? Call for an impeachment of the PM?
  • Given that this poll is based on invitation only and the allegation of abuse of powers by PM Lee, would anyone participating in the poll provide their response in a truthful manner?
  • Or is this poll meant to provide positive figures for PM Lee or other Ministers to present in Parliament in this coming 3 July to show that the government suffered no damage to confidence on its public institution due to allegations of abuse of authority?


WILL PSD POLL FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS ON 38 OXLEY ROAD DISPUTE BE MADE PUBLIC?


I refer to the article “PSD polling public officers on Oxley Road spat as allegations involve integrity of public sector” (Straits Times, Jun 28).

It states that “The Public Service Division (PSD) is polling public officers about the ongoing spat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, as the accusations involve the integrity of the public sector. The PSD said in a statement on Tuesday (June 28) that “the allegations made go beyond private matters and extend to the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions”.

Since we are talking about “the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions” – can the PSD address the following questions:-
  • Who made the decision to conduct the poll?
  • Is the Prime Minister and the head of the civil service aware that the poll is being conducted?
  • What is the PSD’s understanding of “conflict of interest” since the PSD is in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)?
  • Will the results of the poll be made public?
  • To whom will the results of the poll be reported to?

Prime Minister’s Office Issues Survey To Public Servants
Netizens Feel Public Resources Are Being Misused To Fill Up Survey On The Lee Family Dispute

The Public Service Division (PSD) has been conducting a poll among Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) officers about their take on the Lee Family Saga. In the survey, some questions asked respondents for their view on the matter whereas another one asked them about how the saga had impacted their confidence in the Public Service.

Respondents were also assured that their answers were confidential and that they would not be tagged to their profile. However, this initiative did not rest well with some Singaporeans, who were livid.

Perhaps the best way to get a good gauge of the nation’s feelings is to survey the nation as a whole, instead of only asking Public Officers.


Dear SG civil service, please wake up your idea

The Oxley Familee saga just took a new turn, and this time, with no help at all from the ‘2am post-and-run siblings’, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling.

Apparently, the Singapore govt tried to find out (and fix) what civil servants think and feel about the issue by getting the Public Service Division (PSD) to send out a poll to many civil servants.

If you’re thinking ‘WTF??’, you’re not alone. Just because we’re bored and have given up following the Familee saga, here are more instances where our WORLD-CLASS CIVIL SERVICE cock up:
  • Internet surfing separation policy memo leak (June 2016)
  • JC merger announcement posted online too soon, hastily removed (April 2017)
  • ‘Syonan Gallery’ signage not complete yet (Feb 2017)

All Singapore Stuff Yesterday at 18:21

The Public Service Division (PSD) is polling public officers about the ongoing spat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, as the accusations involve the integrity of the public sector.

The poll was discovered by the public after screenshots of the poll were leaked on social media supposedly by public officers.

Why #PAP never learns its lessons? #SecretPoll #SecretCommittee #EverythingAlsoSecret


Leslie Chew added 2 new photos 26 June at 23:41

Someone sent me this. It is from the PMO to poll civil/public servants for their opinions on the Lee Family dispute.

Is it not an abuse of public resources for the PM to use the PMO to conduct the poll? If the PM wants some opinion about his family matters, shouldn't he be using his own money to hire professional survey firms to conduct the poll instead of abusing taxpayers funded resources like this?

Is it not a waste of taxpayers' monies paid to civil/public servants to be spending their working time participating in polls of the PM's personal & private family matter instead of using the said time doing the actual job they are paid for - serving the people?


Singapore MPs must be tough in questioning PM Lee about family feud on 3 July

For that to happen, the MPs must:
  • IMAGINE that the 3 July sitting is happening in a court room, not a law-making chamber, and they are there as lawyers and representatives of the people, not lawmakers or party affiliates.
  • TELL yourself that you are responsible only to Singaporeans and by extension to Singapore.
  • DON’T make speeches, there is very little time for that. Instead, ask questions. Make the questions snappy and pointed.
  • REMEMBER to ask follow-up questions after the PM and his ministers have replied. The best responses come when you follow up with a question if you feel the PM or the ministers have not responded adequately or have given only half-answers. Spend some time watching how BBC and CNN journalists perform when they interview newsmakers.
Here is a sampling of the questions that can be asked:
  • Did you abuse your power? He is likely to say No. Jump in by asking pointedly: Is it true that you wanted the house preserved against Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes for your own political gain? I know you have denied this accusation, but can you be more specific?
  • Why did your wife take items from the home without seeking the executors’ permission and why did she send them to the National Heritage Board under the name of Prime Minister’s Office? Isn’t this something she should not have done?
  • Can you tell us the circumstances under which Lucien Wong, who acted for you in the property dispute, was made the AG? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?
  • You said the accusations from your siblings are “mostly inaccurate”, which means some are accurate. What are these?
It is not just PM Lee and his siblings who are on trial. Singapore is also on trial. Now that the people and the country have been put through this harrowing experience, they need answers. They need closure. The burden is on the MPs to get to the truth. That is the least they can do for the nation.

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DID INDRANEE RAJAH CONSIDER THE IMPLICATIONS OF HER FB POST ON OXLEY RD?

"Permit me to raise this....Was there a draft will attached attached in the email sent by Lee Suet Fern to MM Lee of which Ms Indranee mentioned in the summary of events? While the email correspondence did not specifically mentioned about the demolition as pointed out, did the draft in fact contains the demolition clause? This would be critical consideration for any party wanting to know the truth behind the 7th Will. One can draw the attachment if there is one and make a comparison with what was signed by MM Lee, and you will inevitably know if there is any inconsistency between the two.

Then the question about the short time taken for MM to sign the documents in the presence of two lawyers from Stamford Law, has Ms Indranee also consider that MM Lee had in fact read the draft the night before, and it suffice that the document was taken as true, and therefore MM Lee signed without reading again?

Third point, that MM Lee had made six wills before and changed his mind once, and Ms Indranee questioned if MM did change his mind again, does it also indicates the possibility MM Lee did occasionally review the will he signed? From the time of the will being signed to MM Lee's demise, could he not at any one time review and question about the existence of the demolition clause? Particularly when an incident occurred that the "Gift-Over" clause was omitted and reinserted? Does that not cause MM Lee's curiosity to want to review what he has already signed? MM Lee has had the authority and benefit of time to make an 8th will had he deemed that the 7th was improperly drafted and prepared. "

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Why is Indranee Rajah suddenly the govt’s leading voice on the 38 Oxley Road saga?

If you’ve been following the ongoing Korean-esque drama conflict between the three children of the late Lee Kuan Yew, you might have noticed a new participant near the end of last week.

It’s none other than Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah, a People’s Action Party Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, which is led by Minister and labour chief Chan Chun Sing.

But before we get into why Indranee is suddenly involved in this saga, let’s recap the non-members of the Lee family who are either named or have waded into the debate:
  • Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
  • Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam
  • National Development Minister Lawrence Wong
  • Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu
  • DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam

So why is Indranee so kaypoh?

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Indranee Rajah 26 Jun at 20:29

Jimmy Tan I see nothing wrong with LHY asking the government to commit to a decision now, regardless whether the house would be demolished or not. Furthermore, life is unpredictable. Who knows when Dr Lee Wei Ling may want to move out of the house. One should not assume that it may be 20 to 30 years from now. Is there anything wrong if she decides to move out earlier? If the government honestly and sincerely believes this issue is of great public interest, then let Singaporeans decide, not the government, whose leader seems to want to oppose the last wish of Mr LKY. This is not any ordinary heritage building issue. It's one where a large section of the population is intimately interested and a sincere wish to respect the last wish of a great man who had given his whole life to make Singapore what it is today. Is it too much for him to ask Singaporeans to accede to his request? Why is the government making it difficult to do so? Surely this is much easier to do compared to changing the constitution to reserve the next Presidential election for a Malay candidate. Sensible Singaporeans can see whats happening.
172 · 26 June at 22:21 · Edited

Luke Wong Ms Indranee, are you debating with LHY in your personal capacity or as a minister? Since the government claims this is a family matter, why are you involved? Why are you not looking into allegations of abuse of power, dishonesty and nepotism? In any case, why are you engaging in a slug fest on FB and not carrying out an official independent investigation and through the courts? And why are you commenting publicly before LHL gets to speak in Parlimanent on 3 July?
119 · 26 June at 23:43

Tracy Wun But why are u so rude? Just because he is the younger son of our beloved late LKY doesn't mean he deserves any less respect than the elder son. I can imagine if Mr LKY is still alive, you would be respectful towards LHY in all that you do and say. All your statements so far... are they made in your personal capacity or as a Minister? If it is the latter, I am worried for the future of our country when our Cabinet comprises of people who do not treat all Singaporeans as equals. In this case here, LHY and LWL are joint executors of the estate of LKY. Both siblings should deserve equal (if not more) respect than their elder brother LHL as they are entrusted with the responsibility by Mr LKY himself.
62 · 23 hrs · Edited

Simon Teo I will try to be neutral in this post here. Most Singaporean, like myself, do not like the spat/online quarrels/ accusations from either LHL's camp or LHY/LWL. The reason is simple enough: It doesn't do good for our reputation as a nation that is united. This started as a petty family issue (as claimed by GCT) earlier. However, it has escalated to allegations of abuse of power/ lies/ accusation of being pretentious etc. Now, it is one thing to accuse a commoner and this person does not respond to these allegations. However, it is different when the government, the ministers and even PM Lee himself has been accused of of dishonest etc. How do you command respect from us, normal citizens, when, instead of using the proper place to answer these allegations, you have chosen to respond to all these through social medias, throwing mud at each other, exposing others as well as yourself of more and more lies or as LHY termed it, pretentious comments? How do you expect us to trust what you have written using statements from the government when the integrity of these statements has been questioned by LHY but the government has done nothing to protect its integrity in the proper place through a proper action? The way I see it now, it is no more than mud slinging from both parties which did nothing to help heal our reputation as a united nation. We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as ONE UNITED people.
48 · 26 June at 22:05

Tay Seo Long What has that family property in a personal will got to do with the government? Give some respect to the founding father's wishes in his personal will please and why do you keep poking your nose into this family saga? ... and against Mr Lee's wishes? And ... what would be your stance if today it is LHL who would like to demolish the house in accordance with Mr Lee's wishes, and LHY and LWL prefer to keep the house?
35 · 26 June at 22:17 · Edited

Eunice Chia-Lim It's so simple to understand -- the government of today cannot commit to demolishing the house before facts are established and a proper study done on the legacy of LKY and our founding fathers, and the significance of 38 Oxley. Why does LHY convolute this issue?
46 · 26 June at 20:59

Kwan Yue Keng But will the pAP govt give an iron-clad promise to demolish the house after Lee Wei Ling no longer lives in it? We have not read of any statement that Lee Hsien Yang wants it to be demolished immediately - he respects his father's wish enough to let his sister to stay in it, as his father so unequivocally stated. How come you can interprete Yang's comments otherwise? You are being supercilious and obfuscating by making LHY clarify something which everyone else is clear but you.
34 · 26 June at 22:33

Angela Lau When you are not a Lee, nor a full fledged Minister, nor possess the clout of Tharman, it is better to say much less. You may score some points with your boss, but you risk losing the support of level-headed, non-partisan Singaporeans who review your performance every five years.
31 · 26 June at 23:19

Cindy Soh The more u all ministers talk and attack LKY youngest son when now LKY had pass away. It only reflect very bad and bully on your side. No need to dig and dig into the details. Each son just want to respect their dad in their respective way and hence got into an argument. All this minister esp those groom by LKY. Is it right for you to treat LKY youngest son this way when he is not the one holding real power?? The more u all attack, The more ugly it reflect on your character.
29 · 26 June at 22:51

Mich Pixie The house is a private property. Why should the current government disallow the house from being demolished 20-30 years from now?
27 · 26 June at 20:54 · Edited

Tung Hee Lim Indranee's use of " demolish now" is implying that LHY wants to have the house demolished now ( as in presently) when the Right Word should be " demolish then" ( to reflect that the intention was 2 years ago).It would appear to be a deliberate slander ;given that her lawyer's English shouldn't be misleading at any one time!
17 · 26 June at 22:57

Leslie Eel What makes you think that Dr Lee will continue living in the house after (if) the government commits itself to demolishing the house? She might well move out immediately, in which case, this government would be responsible for fulfilling its promise.
15 · 26 June at 21:39

Henryace Senior Can Indralee answer this BASIC question: What business does she have in this family matter?? If the siblings dont get the govt to commit to demolition when they are well and alive, then when? Who else would honour Lky's last wish??
8 · 20 hrs · Edited

KokSiang Tan Dear Mdm, we noted that DPM Teo did not list you as a member in his Ministerial Committee. So why are you so fervent on the topic when your colleagues in the concerned committee have essentially stopped yapping till presumably 3 Jul. Do you have nothing better to do in your own Ministerial Committees?
10 · 17 hrs

Justin Leow She posted this at 1130 am! Either she had a reeaaalllly long breakfast during which she typed that post to publish at 1130am, or this was written and posted during office hours before she broke for lunch. Either way, why is our taxpayer money ended up funding this sort of behavior? She should be doing Government work tackling important issues, not spending the morning of the first working day after a PH covering PM Lee's ass and getting involved in a supposedly "private matter" issue. The fact that this entire writing is basically attacking LHY's credibility, may I pose the question as to why is this being done during the G's office hours and in her public capacity? If PM Lee is your friend good for you la, defend his honor all you want. But I don't think one should be paid taxpaying dollars doing this.
9 · 18 hrs

Amelia Lee The main issue is not the house and what to do with it. The main issues are the allegation of power abuse, the appt of the AG, why secret committee being set up and how. Honestly the more you say, the more it shows abuse of power. National resources such as parliament and ministers giving speech on family affairs? That itself is a major issue of concern. Why don't the minsters settle the numerous issues instead of commenting? This affair of the house and will should be settled in court between lwl, lhy and lhl.
5 · 20 hrs

Andrew Fann Well if you are Eager to Fulfill your Parents' Dying Wishes and the other side seems Not committed in doing so, of course you'll be asking for a commitment... But in terms of asking the government to bind a future government 20 - 30 years from now, I think Ms Indranee has a point... So Why is a committee of Full Ministers considering options that may Bind the future government 20 - 30 years down the road?
4 · 26 June at 23:54 · Edited

Michael Fernando Now the house belongs to LHL, so he can do what ever he want with the house. Why are you interfering in their family problems. You are paid handsomely to take care of Singapore. There is proper institutions to handle this type of cases. As a lawyer you are well aware. They are not special, so why have a Ministerial committee to handle this case. If you want to pay homage to LKY than why not build huge statues of him in every housing estates instead of fighting to preserve the house. Why is there no ministerial committee to handle the losses by Temasek holding/ GIC to prove whether its false news. Why you are giving false promises on the return of our CPF money.
5 · 18 hrs · Edited

Wan Razak So now you represent the government/committee in deciding what happens to the house? If not happy, just go court and let the judge decide if the demolition clause is worth fighting for.
7 · 26 June at 22:12

Aspa M Hatta Isn't someone too free?? Aren't you paid by us to look into matters that you're assigned to? Not something out of your portfolio, I'm sure. With all due respect, by doing what you're doing now & your other Ministers, you've all undermined & clearly made your Boss, our PM, an intelligent man, look worthless & stupid. By voicing out on behalf of him, in order to make yourselves look good, you've made your leader, look extremely bad. It's like as though, he's unable to speak for himself, to defend himself & stand on his own 2 feet. Even his wife has to man up for him & well, of course, you guys, his Ministers aka pawns. The reason why all of you are selected to serve the people, is because we all have entrusted our livelihoods to you, believing all of you would make Singaporeans proud Singapore a success like LKY had seen us to be. Not like this, businesses folding & moving out due to high rentals. Singaporeans homeless because housing is nothing as how a Minister claimed to be "just 1k is enough to own a home". Or that $5 a day is enough to survive in Singapore (I've not seen any of you nor your colleagues did that). Education scholarships given to foreigners more than Singaporeans & only to have them go back to their own countries with the education you've helped paid for. Lots more. The thing is, sometimes it's good to come back onto the ground & look around, it's not all sunshine & rainbows.
5 · 18 hrs

Justin Lim Lim There have also been calls to turn Mr Lee’s home, 38 Oxley Road, into a museum and a memorial to him. But Mr Lee was adamant that 38 Oxley Road should be demolished after his passing. He wrote formally to the Cabinet at least twice to put his wishes on the record – once soon after my mother his wife had died, and the second time soon after he had stepped down from office in 2011. He said, talking about Oxley Road, that “it should not be kept as a kind of relic”. He said that he had seen too many other houses of famous people “kept frozen in time … as a monument with people tramping in and out”. They invariably “become shabby”, in his words. My mother also felt strongly about this. She was most distressed at the thought of people coming through her private spaces after she and my father had passed away, to see how they had lived.
5 · 19 hrs

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Indranee Rajah 9 mins

In his FB post this morning, Mr Lee Hsien Yang suggests that the question I had put is incorrect. He says he is not asking for the house to be demolished now. He is only asking that it be demolished after Dr Lee Wei Ling's departure.

I welcome the opportunity to have this clarified. This way everyone is clear on exactly what the issue is.

It may be helpful if I refer to the various public statements on this.
  • (a) In his Statement on 17 June 2017 DPM Teo Cheo Hean explained that one of the reasons why the ministerial committee was established was because:
  • "...soon after Mr Lee's passing, the Executors of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's will (Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling) themselves wanted the government to commit itself immediately to demolishing the house, even though Dr Lee Wei Ling might continue to live in the House for many more years."

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Indranee Rajah 12 hrs 

4 Financial Things You Should Know About the Oxley Dispute

My two previous posts covered the so-called "Demolition Clause" in the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's last will and the circumstances in which the Will came to be.

In this post I will discuss the various options for the house that a future government might consider once his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling is no longer living in it.
  • What financial interest does Lee Hsien Loong have in 38 Oxley Road?
  • Some Facts about Oxley Road
  • What could happen to 38 Oxley Road?
  • Why is the government being asked to demolish the house now?

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Indranee Rajah Yesterday at 07:06

4 Further Things You Should Know About the Oxley Dispute

As I explained yesterday, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew did not simply insist his house be demolished once he was gone. First, he said his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling should be allowed to live in the house for as long as she wished. This means that the question of demolition may not arise for many more years. Second, the late Mr Lee provided for the possibility of the government deciding to preserve the house, in which case he asked that the house not be opened to others except his descendants.

Today, I would like to look at the last Will - or the "7th Will". How did it come to be? Why is this in contention and what are the issues?
  • How many Wills did Mr Lee make and what's the difference between them?
  • What concerns have been raised about the 7th Will?
  • Why is this relevant from a government perspective?
  • Which Lawyer drafted the 7th Will?

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Indranee Rajah 23 June at 02:00

4 Things You Should Know about the Oxley Dispute

As Singaporeans we are all saddened by the Oxley dispute. I am particularly saddened because I looked after MM’s constituency in his final years and got to see at close quarters what a great man he was. I know how much this would have grieved MM and Mrs Lee. People have expressed confusion about the things which have been said. Many are trying to make sense of it all.

The key to understanding this matter is first to get a handle on the issues and some important facts. Here are 4 things you should know about the Oxley dispute.
  • What does the 7th Will actually say?
  • Why does the government need to be involved in what happens to 38 Oxley Road?
  • What is PM's involvement in government deliberations on 38 Oxley Road?
  • Can we demolish the House now?

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TODAY 12 hrs

JUST IN: In a new Facebook post, Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah questioned why Mr Lee Hsien Yang is asking for "an immediate commitment" by the Government to the demolition of the house on 38 Oxley Road.

"What is the urgency?" she asked.

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Indranee turns psychic

Which part of Lee Kuan Yew’s Will does she not understand. As far as the late Lee was concerned, it was demolition, or if that cannot go ahead due to law, rules and regulation changes, then only family and descendants be allowed to enter the house. The late Lee did not put in his Will four options!

Perhaps, PAP highly paid Ministers do not understand what “demolish the House” means. It certainly does not mean keeping one part of it. Does she now claim to be psychic? Is it any of her business what LHY’s plans are? Afterall, he paid a very high price for this property bought from his very own brother, who set the financial terms of the sale. Indranee is putting out suggestions intended to smear LHY.

I wish this bloody multi-million dollar Cabinet would just leave the Lee family alone to get on with executing their father’s wishes, and move on with their lives! Shanumgam is right, Singaporeans are sick and tired of this saga, but mainly of PAP’s arrogance and tyranny. The government has taken “interfere with every aspect of Singaporean life” to a whole new level!

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Indranee Rajah Has A Very Important Question For LHY; Asks It Twice In 14 Hours

After writing 3 separate 4-point Facebook updates on 38 Oxley Road, Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah has discovered the pain of being ignored.  She has a very important questions for Lee Hsien Yang over the demolition of the house, but only finds non-answers.

And so, she does what any rational person would: pose the question again via everybody’s favourite social media — Facebook. She even remembered to set the visibility of the post to “Public”. Very internet savvy indeed.

Here’s the question: Why is the government being asked to decide (the fate of 38 Oxley Road) now? What is the urgency?

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Singapore minister to Hsien Yang: Why the urgency of Oxley Road demolition?
Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah and Lee Hsien Yang. — Picture by TODAY/AFP

Senior Minister of State (Finance and Law) Indranee Rajah yesterday questioned Lee Hsien Yang’s demand for “an immediate commitment” by the Government to the demolition of the house on 38 Oxley Road, pointing out that letting the property stand, for now, does not go against the wishes of the late Lew Kuan Yew.

The late founding Prime Minister had in his final will indicated his wish for the house to be demolished upon his death, or when his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling moves out.

Dr Lee is currently living in the century-old house, and has plans to do so for the foreseeable future.

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We've never asked Govt to let us demolish 38 Oxley Road house now: Lee Hsien Yang

Responding to comments by Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said on Tuesday (Jun 27) that he & his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, had never asked the Government to allow them to demolish founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s family home now.

In a post on Monday, Ms Indranee listed 4 possible options for the house at 38 Oxley Road – demolition, preservation, conservation & compulsory acquisition – & questioned why Mr Lee Hsien Yang wanted "immediate commitment" on demolition since Dr Lee is still living in the house.

“The Government has publicly stated that it will respect those wishes & does not intend to do anything until Dr Lee leaves,” she wrote, pointing out that letting the property stand, for now, does not go against the wishes of the late Mr Lee.

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Demolition, conservation among four options for 38 Oxley Road

There are 4 possible options when a decision is taken on what to do with Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s former home, said Senior Minister of State for Law & Finance Indranee Rajah yesterday.

These are demolition, preservation, conservation & compulsory acquisition, she said in a third Facebook post, weighing in on a family feud that was made public by a joint statement by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s younger siblings two weeks ago.

In the post published around 9.30pm, Ms Indranee outlined the implications of each of the options.

related: Estate agents estimate 38 Oxley Road property to be worth around S$24 million

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Indranee lists options for 38 Oxley Road; questions why Lee Hsien Yang wants 'immediate commitment' on demolition

There are 4 possible options for the house of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road – demolition, preservation, conservation & compulsory acquisition – said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Monday (Jun 26).

Listing the options and their consequences in a Facebook post, Ms Indranee said: “From the Government's perspective, the question is whether there is an intermediate option which will allow us to respect the wishes of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and still preserve the heritage and history of 38 Oxley Road for Singapore and Singaporeans.”

The house has been at the centre of a bitter dispute between the late Mr Lee’s children, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling.

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Indranee Rajah questions urgency of demolition of LKY's home
Indranee Rajah questions urgency of demolition of LKY's home

Senior Minister of State for Law & Finance Indranee Rajah put up another Facebook post last night about the ongoing dispute over Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's home in Oxley Road.

In it, Ms Indranee questioned the motives behind Mr Lee's son Mr Lee Hsien Yang's desire to demolish the family home so urgently and asked why there was a need for a government decision on this issue now.

Here are her 4 points:
  • SOME FACTS ABOUT 38, OXLEY ROAD
  • WHAT FINANCIAL INTEREST DOES PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG HAVE IN 38, OXLEY ROAD?
  • WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO 38, OXLEY ROAD?
  • WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT BEING ASKED TO DEMOLISH THE HOUSE NOW?

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38 Oxley Road Committee: Interest In Lee Kuan Yew's Will Confined To Understanding His Wishes, Says Indranee
38 Oxley Road. (Photo: Howard Law)

The interest of the 38 Oxley Road ministerial committee in the will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew is confined to trying to understand his thinking on the house, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Saturday (Jun 24).

In a Facebook post titled "4 Further Things You Should Know About the Oxley Dispute", Ms Indranee pointed out that demolition clause was in his first four wills, but was removed in his fifth and sixth wills, and reinserted in his seventh and final will.

"So Mr Lee had changed his mind once. The question is whether he changed it a second time? Or whether the demolition clause was inserted without his awareness?" Ms Indranee wrote.

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Identify lawyer who drafted Mr Lee's final will: Indranee

Senior Minister of State for Law & Finance Indranee Rajah yesterday called on Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, to identify the lawyer who drafted the final will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

She said his June 17 Facebook post had indicated that he knew who had prepared the will, when he twice mentioned "we" in reference to his dealings over the will.

Ms Indranee asked in a lengthy Facebook post if the "we" referred to Mr Lee Hsien Yang's wife, lawyer Lee Suet Fern.

related: Indranee asks LHY who drafted the late Lee Kuan Yew's final will

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'An insult' to LKY to suggest he did not understand last will, Hsien Yang says to Indranee

It is "an insult to a great man" to suggest that the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew did not understand or know what was in his last will, his younger son Mr Lee Hsien Yang has said in response to fresh questions about the document at the heart of a public dispute over the house on 38 Oxley Road.

On Saturday (Jun 24) night, Senior Minister of State (Finance & Law) Indranee Rajah reiterated a poser first raised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: The identity of the lawyer who prepared Mr Lee Kuan Yew's Last Will, & the questions that would arise if it was Mrs Lee Suet Fern, given that the final will increased the share of the estate for her husband Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

Writing on Facebook, Ms Indranee questioned who Mr Lee Hsien Yang was referring to when he previously mentioned "we took what we understood to be the final version of the 2011 will, without realising that a gift over clause had been in the executed version of the 2011 will". A gift over clause in a will provides for the gift of property to a second recipient if a certain event occurs.

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An 'insult' to suggest Lee Kuan Yew did not understand his own will: Hsien Yang

It is “an insult to a great man” to suggest that the late Lee Kuan Yew did not understand his own will, said Lee Hsien Yang.

In his latest Facebook post on Saturday (24 June), the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the PM “is now getting his ministers to repeat his insinuations that Lee Kuan Yew did not understand his own will”. It was an apparent reference to Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah’s Facebook post on the same day.

Hsien Yang, who is currently chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, said, “They argue that Lee Kuan Yew, a Cambridge-educated lawyer and sitting MP, signed his own will without knowing what was in it. They claim that he initialed beneath the demolition clause, without understanding what it meant in plain English.”

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Lee Hsien Yang: Don’t insult my father by saying he didn’t know what went into his last will

Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah, who is a Tanjong Pagar GRC MP, the late Lee Kuan Yew’s former running mate and senior counsel, has up the ante.

In a Facebook post on Saturday night, June 24, she asked some serious questions pertaining to who was the lawyer who prepared Lee Kuan Yew’s last will, highlighting the very real issue of a conflict of interests that could point to the heart of the Lee family feud.

In a rehash of a previously mentioned talking point, Indranee wrote that this was so as the only two lawyers that have been narrowed down who could have drafted the Last Will are:
  • Kwa Kim Li, who is the cousin of Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling
  • Lee Suet Fern, who is the wife of Lee Hsien Yang

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Four questions for Indranee Rajah on the ‘Oxley Dispute’

One of the points she raised was the manner in which the 7th Will was drafted. Indranee said “The concerns raised about the 7th Will can be found in the summary of Lee Hsien Loong’s Statutory Declarations. Essentially, they relate to whether the reinsertion of the Demolition Clause was brought to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s attention and whether he was given sufficient time to review the Will.” Our questions for Indranee:
  • Well, probate was granted on the will. Essentially, probate refers to a legal process where a will is “proved” in a court and accepted as a valid public document that it is the true last testament of the deceased. PM Lee had the chance and right to contest the will but he did not. Surely the will could not have been that dodgy if PM Lee passed on the opportunity to question the will in court?
  • In any case, the validity of the will should be debated in court, not dissected publicly by an office holder on Facebook. If you are so sure about it, take it to court, lah. Look at the past record; if they knew that they had a sure-win case, they would have happily sued already.
  • I am also curious why Indranee only questioned the validity of the 7th Will. After all, she says “The Demolition Clause was in the 1st – 4th Wills. It was removed in the 5th and 6th Will.” So the radical switch happened from the 4th to 5th Will. Why was the Demolition Clause removed then? It also does not square with what Lee Kuan Yew has always maintained – he wants 38 Oxley Road to be demolished after his death. So perhaps the absence of the Demolition Cause in the 4th and 5th Wills deserves as much attention as its insertion into the 7th Will?
  • Indranee also implies that Lim Suet Fern could have been the lawyer that drafted the 7th Will. She said, “If the lawyer referred to… is Mrs Lee Suet Fern, then certain questions will arise. Under our law, the lawyer drafting a will is required to be independent. If the lawyer has an interest in the will, the lawyer must make sure the person making the will gets independent advice.” She added that, “As Mrs Lee Suet Fern is his wife, if she prepared the 7th Will then the question which will arise is what independent advice MM received?”
Now that is a very serious allegation to imply. I hope Indranee has some evidence to back this up. No one embroiled in this dispute has so far confirmed who was the lawyer that drafted the 7th Will. What we know for certain is that it was not Kwa Kim Li, managing partner of the Lee & Lee law firm.

This sounds like professional misconduct at the very least. If no independent advice was given to Lee Kuan Yew, and Lee Suet Fern drafted the 7th Will, this would have been a clear conflict of interest as Lee Suet Fern would have been a beneficiary of the 7th Will as she is married to Lee Hsien Yang.

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Netizens slam Indranee Rajah’s questions on Lee Kuan Yew’s last will

Senior Minister of State (SMOS) for Law Indranee Rajah had on 24 June, raised several questions on the last will of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Chronicling the events of the day that the last will was signed, Ms Rajah asked how the last will came about, who drafted the last will and how LKY got to sign the will.

SMOS’s post was shared over 240 times and drew a flurry of comments. All the commenters on her post with the most number of likes, slammed her opinion. The following are some of the views of these commenters.

Simon Teo: Dear Mdm, are you trying to say that MM LKY was not sane enough to read through his will properly before he signed? I would be very surprised that an experience lawyer like him would make a blunder. I certainly do not hope that your image of MM Lee is that of a senile man who can’t make his own decision. That will be sad if it’s true. God bless you then.

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Indranee Rajah issues Lee Hsien Yang a ‘Gotcha’ in latest Facebook post

Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah has just issued Lee Hsien Yang a “Gotcha” in her latest Facebook post on the ongoing Lee family saga.

In her fourth Facebook post on the issue in five days, Indranee pointed out a contradiction in Lee Hsien Yang’s statements regarding when he and his sister Wei Ling wanted the house to be demolished.

She highlighted that according to DPM Teo Chee Hean, who heads the Ministerial Committee, said he set it up in response to Hsien Yang and WEi Ling pushing the government to commit itself to immediately demolishing the house.

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LET’S NOT TWIST LEE KUAN YEW’S WORDS – HE WANTED HIS HOUSE DEMOLISHED, PERIOD

The Government seems to be on a campaign to turn Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wish about his house into something else. And it is doing so by clutching at straws to shore up its misguided attempts to change what Mr Lee had wanted – the complete demolition of his house at 38 Oxley Road.

In her Facebook post of 23 June, the Senior Minister of State for Law, Indranee Rajah, attempted to convince Singaporeans that Mr Lee “accepted that the house may not be demolished.”

Do note the use of the word “accepted” here.

related: PM LEE’S POSITION UNTENABLE

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It is inarguable that LKY wanted his house to be demolished

There have been recent PAP efforts to cast doubt on what was LKY's true intention regarding his house at 38 Oxley Road. They have also tried to dispute whether LKY truly knew what he was signing when he signed his Final Will on 17 Dec 2013.

I strongly believe that these efforts are both desperate and disingenuous. (I fully recognise that LKY's wishes are, strictly speaking, unrelated to whether the Government has a right to preserve the house. However, the fact is that convincing Singaporeans that LKY may have been open to his house being demolished is key, for political reasons. They can't be seen to be so explicitly going against LKY's wishes after all).

I am moved to write this note partly because I have intelligent and well-educated friends who are being hoodwinked. There is no doubt in my mind (and I say this with the utmost objectivity) that LKY definitely wanted his house to be demolished. We can have a discussion on whether his house should be preserved (for various reasons such as heritage etc) notwithstanding his wishes, but what his wishes actually were is inarguable:
  • The Final Will was executed on 17 Dec 2013. This is a full 21 months before LKY passed away. There was no suggestion that he did not have full command of his faculties at the time. LKY was also serving as an MP at the time.
  • LHL and others have brought up the fact that it took "just 15 minutes" for the entire signing of the will and that therefore LKY may not have been properly advised. The will is a mere 4 pages long, and was something LKY was familiar with. LKY's assistant was present throughout the signing, according to the meeting notes of the lawyers/witnesses.
  • As LHY also pointed out, I find it bordering on the ridiculous to suggest that LKY (!!!), a cambridge-trained lawyer, had to be advised on the contents of his will, which he signed on every page and also initialed right below the demolition clause.
  • LHY quoted an email dated 16 Dec 2013  from LKY stating "OK. Do not wait for Kim Li. Engross and I will sign it before a solicitor in Fern's office, or from any other office". This is one day before he actually signed the Final Will. It appears to me that LKY knew exactly what he was doing. It would also not be a leap to assume that he was replying to an email containing the final draft of the will since he uses the word "engross", which lawyers often use when okaying a draft.
  • When the final draft had been executed, it was given to Kwa Kim Li for safekeeping. Kwa is a very senior lawyer and managing partner of Lee & Lee. It would not a be a stretch to assume that she would have at the very least glanced through the Final Will and perhaps confirmed verbally with LKY that he really knew what he was doing, especially if she had any suspicion that LKY was not in full command of his faculties.
Now let's also look at the surrounding circumstances:-
  • LKY himself said publicly several times that he wanted the house to be demolished upon his death.
  • LHL himself acknowledged in a private email dated 12 April 2015 timed at 7.02 pm (this would have been after the Final Will had been read to the family on the same day) that LKY's position "has been consistent throughout. Even his note to [Cabinet] did not say that he wanted it preserved, only what has to be done if it is not to be demolished".
  • LHL also acknowledge publicly on 13 April 2015 that "Mr Lee's position on 38 Oxley Road was unwavering over the years, and fully consistent with his lifelong values".  
Both (b) and (c) took place way after the Final Will had been signed and also after the Final Will was read to the family on 12 April 2015. If he truly had suspicions, why did LHL not suggest earlier that LKY did not want the house to be demolished? Why is the PAP now trying so hard to convince Singaporeans that LKY might not have really wanted his house demolished? The only reason I can think of is that they need popular support to demolish the house without losing too much political capital. Any other suggestions?

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Lee Hsien Yang defends final will of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, says his father gave 'express instruction' to revert to first version
Mr Lee Hsien Yang said his father gave "express instruction" for the last will to follow the first version. FOTO: ST FILE

More questions have emerged over the final will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, after his younger son Hsien Yang asserted that his father gave "express instruction" for the last will to follow the first version.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (Jun 17), Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote: "Lee Kuan Yew's final will in Dec 2013 was engrossed on the basis of his express instruction to revert to his first will from 2011."


He added that his father's final will "was simply Lee Kuan Yew's first will of Aug 20, 2011, re-executed on his instructions".

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Lee Kuan Yew's final will was simply his first will: Lee Hsien Yang
This general view shows the outside the house of Singapore’s late founding father Lee Kuan Yew at Oxley Road / AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

Addressing media queries on the late Lee Kuan Yew’s will, Lee Hsien Yang on Saturday insisted that his father’s final will was the result of the first Singapore prime minister’s instruction to revert to his first will.

In a Facebook post in the wee hours of Saturday (17 June), Lee Hsien Yang also said that his father acknowledged the demolition clause of the family home on 38 Oxley Road in the final will.

“Lee Kuan Yew read the final will carefully and initialled every page, including just below the demolition clause,” he said.

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Lee Hsien Yang June 17 at 1:46pm · LKY's Final Will
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Lee Hsien Yang June 17 at 1:29am · In response to media queries on the will:
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Lee Hsien Yang Yesterday at 7:57am

SMS Indranee Rajah asks "Why is the government being asked to demolish the house now?" We have never asked the Government to allow us to demolish the house now, only after Wei Ling's departure.

In turn, we ask "Why was a secret committee on the house formed in 2016?" On 13 April 2015, PM Lee stated that since Wei Ling intended to continue living in the house, it was for the "government of the day" to decide.

Beyond the committee's opening letters, the committee was focussed primarily on parroting LHL's attacks on our father's will, and in particular, clause 7. (Just as SMS Indranee does now.) This was clearly an abuse of power by LHL.

SMS Indranee is pretending that the secret committee had an open discussion with Lee Kuan Yew's Estate about options for the house. Nothing could be further from the truth. The committee refused to state either the options it was considering or its final deliverable.

Long before the committee was formed, we offered to DPM Teo that the house be demolished after Wei Ling's departure, and a memorial garden be built in its place. DPM Teo was reluctant and did not pursue the discussion further. LHL also rejected this offer.

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Lee Hsien Loong ‘rejected’ offer of Oxley Road memorial garden: Lee Hsien Yang
Wei Ling says it is 'absurd' that minister Shanmugam has no conflict of interest in Oxley house committee

In the latest development in the Lee family feud, Lee Hsien Yang said that he and his sister Wei Ling had offered an alternative use for the Oxley Road site after it was demolished. In a post on Tuesday morning (27 June), he claimed that the offer was turned down. He wrote, “Long before the committee was formed, we offered to DPM Teo (Chee Hean) that the house be demolished after Wei Ling’s departure, and a memorial garden be built in its place. DPM Teo was reluctant and did not pursue the discussion further. LHL (Lee Hsien Loong) also rejected this offer.”

Hsien Yang was writing in response to a Facebook post on Sunday (26 June) by Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah where she asked why Hsien Yang was “asking for an immediate commitment on demolition now”. She also listed four possible options for 38 Oxley Road – demolition, preservation, conservation or compulsory acquisition. “We have never asked the Government to allow us to demolish the house now, only after Wei Ling’s departure,” said Hsien Yang.

He added, “SMS Indranee is pretending that the secret committee had an open discussion with Lee Kuan Yew’s Estate about options for the house. Nothing could be further from the truth. The committee refused to state either the options it was considering or its final deliverable.”

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Sycophants out to support Lee Hsien Loong

So obvious. LHL’s ministers are now putting up a concerted n co-ordinated effort to desperately turn the table such that it looks like LHY n LWL are in fact the main wrongdoing culprits who have the conspired intention to defame their brother, LHL. I am just wondering why the ministers keep on harping on the clause in LKY’s final Will which provide options of whether to demolish 38 Oxley Rd or not. DPM Teo and Minister Shanmugam had done that. Now, we have Minister Lawrence Wong n MP Indranee also referring to that specific clause in the final Will to support their arguments for the PM.

The truth of all truths is that the final Will of LKY shd not be used as the mother of all documents to contest and argue any more because nobody knows who really prepared the final Will for LKY to sign. LHY said his lawyer wife did not prepare it but instead pointed his finger at his lawyer cousin, Ms Kwa of Lee n Lee. But Ms Kwa also denied preparing it. LHL’s ministers who are all experienced bureaucrats shd know how to work on first thing first. The very first thing is to advise the Lee siblings to testify in the court to determine the validity of the LKY’s Will first before anything.

Most Singaporeans are now struggling to survive in this economic stagnation. The last thing we want is for the ministers to waste their time in engaging in some frivolous activities of private matter.

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LEE HSIEN YANG: DPM TEO & MY BRO REJECTED OUR OFFER TO BUILD MEMORIAL GARDEN ON 38 OXLEY RD

SMS Indranee Rajah asks "Why is the government being asked to demolish the house now?" We have never asked the Government to allow us to demolish the house now, only after Wei Ling's departure.

In turn, we ask "Why was a secret committee on the house formed in 2016?" On 13 April 2015, PM Lee stated that since Wei Ling intended to continue living in the house, it was for the "government of the day" to decide.

Beyond the committee's opening letters, the committee was focussed primarily on parroting LHL's attacks on our father's will, and in particular, clause 7. (Just as SMS Indranee does now.) This was clearly an abuse of power by LHL.

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38 Oxley Road dispute: Govt of the day has to be responsible for decision on house, says DPM Teo
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday (Jun 21) defended his decision to set up a ministerial committee to look into the options for Mr Lee Kuan Yew's family home on 38 Oxley Road, saying that the Government of the day "has to be responsible for making a decision on the property"

Mr Teo, who chairs the committee, was responding to a commentary by The Straits Times' editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang, who questioned the need for Cabinet ministers to get involved in the dispute among Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong & his siblings over their late father's will.

PM Lee had expressed "grave concern" over how the will was prepared, in particular, the removal and subsequent re-insertion of a clause stating his late father's wish that the Oxley Road house be demolished after his death.

The ministerial committee to consider the future of the house includes Cabinet members who are responsible for heritage, land issues & urban planning: Minister for Culture, Community & Youth Grace Fu, Minister for Law K Shanmugam, and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

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The Straits Times 4 hrs

Under the law, it is the Government of the day that has to make a decision on the fate of Lee Kuan Yew's house in Oxley Road, said DPM Teo Chee Hean.

"Cabinet cannot outsource decision-making," he added.

He was responding to a commentary by ST editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang.

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Govt 'has to decide Oxley's fate'

Under the law, it is the Government of the day that has to make a decision on the fate of the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's house in Oxley Road, DPM Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

That is why it is "incumbent on the Cabinet to consider & decide on the issues, & I have decided to set up a committee to assist Cabinet to do so". "Cabinet cannot outsource decision-making," he added.

Mr Teo also said "setting up a ministerial committee to study - issues is part of normal Cabinet working processes." His latest remarks on the committee he heads were made in response to a commentary by editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang in The Straits Times yesterday.

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Govt of the day has to be responsible for decision on house, says DPM Teo
Mr Teo, who chairs the committee, was responding to a commentary by The Straits Times' editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang, who questioned the need for Cabinet ministers to get involved in the dispute among Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings over their late father's will

In his commentary, Mr Han wrote that, in retrospect, Cabinet ministers "should have stayed clear of the dispute over the will".

Instead, the committee "now finds itself embroiled in an unwieldy dispute over Mr Lee's actions & wishes", Mr Han wrote, noting that "with fresh revelations & allegations every passing day, Cabinet ministers find themselves more & more deeply involved in the saga". Mr Han suggested reconsidering the necessity of the committee & its remit, saying that the Lee siblings should make another attempt to resolve their disagreements privately.

He also suggested that the Founders' Memorial Committee, which had already been formed to look into how best to commemorate Singapore's pioneer leaders, should decide on the fate of the house. "Why leave out the most important decision from this group of distinguished Singaporeans who were selected to look into the building of an appropriate memorial?" he said.

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Three key issues in the Lee v Lee saga

The Family feud among the Lees is extremely damaging to Singapore

Everyone can see this even if they do not understand all the complew details that have emerged from the sorry saga. PM Lee Hsien Loong recognise this only too well and has apologised to the nation for the grief it caused. The many issues that have been raised can be confusing from the different versions of the will to which lawyer was involved in which deed.

But here's the thing - you do not need to understand every single part of the unfolding drama to know what really matters & is important to S'pore. In fact, you should not let the toing & froing over the details prevent you from getting to the issues of public concern.

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DPM Teo Chee Hean responds to ST editor-at-large about 38 Oxley Road
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has issued a response to The Straits Times editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang

This was after Han wrote an opinion piece in ST on June 21, outlining what he felt were the three key issues surrounding the ongoing Lee family tussle over 38 Oxley Road.

In his piece, Han questioned the rationale of a Ministerial Committee to deal with the 38 Oxley Road house, as well as the somewhat adversarial and legalistic approach of requiring statutory declarations to be made on the part of Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling about the circumstance surrounding Lee Kuan Yew’s writing of his will.

Han also wrote that it is not too late to reverse the decision for a Ministerial Committee to prevent ministers on the committee from being further dragged into the tussle.

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This is DPM Teo’s response in full, published in the Prime Minister’s Office website on the same day as Han’s commentary

Mr Han Fook Kwang in his article “Three key issues in the Lee vs Lee saga” asks about the need to set up a Ministerial Committee. Setting up a Ministerial Committee to study or work on issues is part of normal Cabinet working processes. Even boards of companies set up committees to look into specific issues. He also asked why the issue of what to do with 38 Oxley Road cannot simply be left in the hands of the Founders’ Memorial Committee. Ultimately, it is the Government of the day which has to be responsible for making a decision on the property as this is where the powers reside under the law, specifically the Preservation of Monuments Act and the Planning Act in this case. Mr Han himself acknowledges this. It is therefore incumbent on Cabinet to consider and decide on the issues, and I have decided to set up a committee to assist Cabinet to do so. Cabinet cannot outsource decision-making. But this does not preclude public consultations or the involvement of some memorial committee at an appropriate time. Indeed members of the public have already written in offering suggestions.

Prime Minister Lee has recused himself from government decisions on the property. No decision is required now as Dr Lee Wei Ling continues to live in the house.

Whoever makes a recommendation, the public or some memorial committee, and when Cabinet eventually makes a decision, founding Prime Minister Mr Lee’s thinking is an important factor which we would all want to take into account. The committee invited views from the siblings to understand Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s thinking on this matter. It is only proper that the committee seek their views. Indeed, the Committee had to, since the siblings themselves told us they had different views, and challenged each other’s interpretations of Mr Lee’s wishes. All views were given voluntarily, including those in the form of statutory declarations. Where there were different views, clarifications were sought including the offer for them to be made as statutory declarations. As I have said, the interest of the Committee in Mr Lee’s will is confined to helping us understand his thinking on the matter. This process was conducted through correspondence, and out of the public eye until it was brought out onto a public platform. We should be clear that the difference of views did not arise because there was a Ministerial committee. We still hope that differences of views on private matters can be resolved within the family. But ultimately, the Cabinet of the day and its ministers cannot avoid taking responsibility for making the required decisions on matters where the public interest is involved, and due process is required. Mr Lee Kuan Yew himself understood this and would have expected the government to do so.

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DPM Teo says he set up ministerial committee on 38 Oxley, Hsien Yang labels it 'fundamentally flawed'

Responding to criticisms by Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Sat (Jun 17) said there is nothing secretive about the ministerial committee set up to look into the options for 38 Oxley Road.

Providing details on the committee in a media statement, Mr Teo also gave a glimpse of the various options being studied for the property, & reiterated that the Government has the responsibility to "consider the public interest aspects of any property with heritage & historical significance".

The committee was set up by Mr Teo and includes Cabinet members "responsible for heritage, land issues and urban planning" - Culture, Community & Youth Minister Grace Fu, Law Minister K Shanmugam and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

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DPM Teo: 'There is nothing 'secret' about this committee'

Acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Saturday (Jun 18) refuted allegations that a ministerial committee considering options for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38, Oxley Road was “secret”.

In a statement, Mr Teo said:"There is nothing “secret” about this committee." He added that he set up the commitee, which is “like numerous other committees that Cabinet may set up from time to time to consider specific issues”.

Mr Teo noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had recused himself from all government decisions to be taken on 38, Oxley Road after the late Mr Lee died at the age of 91 on Mar 23, 2015. “I chair Cabinet should any deliberations take place on this property,” he said.

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Oxley Road dispute: Cabinet cannot avoid responsibility on matters of public interest, says DPM Teo

Responding to questions on the need for a Ministerial Committee to consider options for 38 Oxley Road, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Wednesday (June 21) the Cabinet cannot avoid responsibility on matters of public interest, and due process is needed. He added that setting up such a committee is “part of normal Cabinet working processes”, noting that even company boards form committees to examine issues.

Weighing in on the dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings for a second time, Mr Teo also noted that the differences of views over the Lee family’s home did not arise because of the ministerial committee, which he chairs.

“We still hope that differences of views on private matters can be resolved within the family,” Mr Teo said in a statement. “But ultimately, the Cabinet of the day and its ministers cannot avoid taking responsibility for making the required decisions on matters where the public interest is involved, and due process is required. Mr Lee Kuan Yew himself understood this and would have expected the Government to do so,” he added.

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Lee Hsien Yang: No, DPM Teo did not share the options being explored on the house with us
The Lee family’s public feud over the fate of the house on 38 Oxley Road continues

In Hsien Yang’s latest salvo on Tuesday afternoon, he directly contradicted a point made by DPM Teo Chee Hean, who made a statement on Saturday about the Ministerial Committee convened to look into issues regarding 38 Oxley Road.

In particular, it was this point DPM Teo made in his statement:

“The Committee has tasked the relevant agencies to study a range of options for the property. I have shared some of these options with the siblings. For instance, they know that I would personally not support the options at either end of the range: at one end, preserving the House as it is for visitors to enter and see would be totally against the wishes of Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew; and at the other, demolishing the house and putting the property on the market for new private residences. The Committee has also been studying various intermediate options such as demolishing the House but keeping the basement dining room where many important historical meetings took place, with an appropriate heritage centre attached. These studies are ongoing.”

related: LHY reveals 2011 email from LKY saying PM Lee planned to declare house as “heritage site”

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DPM Teo responds to ST’s article, said ministers cannot avoid taking responsibility for making the required decisions on public interest

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has issued a statement in response to an opinion piece by Han Fook Kwang, editor-at-large for Straits Times.

Straits Times earlier published Mr Han's opinion piece, "Three key issues in the Lee vs Lee saga" on Wednesday. The piece asks three pertinent questions in regards to the on-going Lee family saga that have intrigued both local and international community:
  • How involved ministers should be on the issue of the 38 Oxley Road dispute and suggested that the ministers should have stayed clear of the dispute over the will.
  • Do Singaporeans want to know and to participate in the discussion of the saga, given the accusations field by Prime Minister's siblings of him abusing public powers to achieve his personal agenda.
  • How people would want to move forward, beyond the record and achievements of their past leaders.
In his response, DPM Teo addressed to the question of the minister's involvement by saying that the issue of what to do with 38 Oxley Road cannot simply be left in the hands of the Founders’ Memorial Committee and the Cabinet of the day and its ministers cannot avoid taking responsibility for making the required decisions on matters where the public interest is involved.

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38 Oxley Road: DPM Teo, what is your private interest?
Public interest? I did a thought experiment

We saw countless people showed up to say their last good byes to LKY slightly more than two years ago. Imagine with me as you exit parliament house a survey is conducted asking you if you would support tearing down his bungalow 38 Oxley Road because that was what he had repeatedly said publicly he and his wife wanted. Could you say No to him? After all that he had given to us, is a simple request like this too costly for us?

Now imagine many years later when all these are now recorded as history. What would our descendants think of this generation who took the decision to preserve the house? It was a callous generation who could not even grant such a simple request and the value system that went with it as symbolized by his living and leading. That is why I am doing my bit to fight for the last wish of LKY to be honored. It would also be educating future generations right.

I am convinced the public interest is to give LKY what he wanted. Now I must ask the PAP government what is your private interest? I can't imagine any praiseworthy reason they could offer.

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Tharman Shanmugaratnam 22 June at 02:35

Have confidence, folks. I have to say there is no mystery as to why a Ministerial committee was set up to look into the options for 38 Oxley Road. DPM Teo, who chairs Cabinet on matters to do with the house, has explained straightforwardly why he set it up.

We in fact do this often - setting up special committees comprising a group of Ministers. We started the practice many years ago, and it has evolved. It’s how we ensure that important issues are given in-depth attention, and the options are weighed up by the Ministers closer to the issue, before Cabinet makes its decisions and takes collective responsibility. And it’s how we ensure that we are not a Government that operates in silos, that the national interest prevails even when there are valid sectoral or private interests, and that the long view prevails over the short view wherever possible.

That’s a challenge in governance that will never disappear, and is a challenge everywhere in the world. We have never got it perfect in Singapore, and let’s be frank, we’ve had our share of policies that have turned out quite wrong at different points in our history.

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Oh no, Tharman has waded into the Lee family feud

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the man who many Singaporeans regard as Prime Minister material, has waded into the Lee family feud. This was after Tharman put up a Facebook post on June 22, asking Singaporeans to “Have confidence, folks”.

In his post, Tharman sought to assure Singaporeans that Ministerial Committees are as common as air and the public would not know about all of them in their entirety. The crux of his message, though, is that Singapore favours long-term planning, and this set-up involving Ministerial Committees with various ministers putting heads together to sort things out is the legacy the late Lee Kuan Yew left behind.

However, from the public’s perspective, it just looks like the entire Cabinet with the kitchen sink will be thrown into this issue soon, as more ministers look set to come out to have a say in this protracted battle.

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DPM Tharman chips in about the Lee family feud; calls for Singaporeans to have confidence in government
Image result for tharman shanmugaratnam lee family feud

In disconcerting, dramatic times such as these, what we need is the soothing voice of reason by our Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam — the man reluctant to be Prime Minister, despite being the perfect man for it.

Though we initially believed him to be above it all and refrain from diving into the muck that is the current Lee family saga, the man chipped in anyway. Specifically to assure the public that there isn’t any shady business involved with the so-called ‘secretive’ Ministerial Committee.

His remarks arrived in support of fellow deputy prime minister Teo Chee Hean, who issued a statement that there’s nothing secret about said committee, which was formed to deliberate on the fate of 38 Oxley Road. It was issued in response to allegations made by the prime minister’s brother, Lee Hsien Yang, who accused PM Lee of setting up a “secret committee” to challenge a clause in his late father’s will that ensured the demolition of the Oxley Road house.

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'No mystery' as to why ministerial committee was set up over 38 Oxley Road issue: Tharman

Ministerial committees are a means of ensuring that important issues are given “in-depth attention”, and is a practice that started many years ago, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Thursday (22 June).

“I have to say there is no mystery as to why a ministerial committee was set up to look into the options for 38 Oxley Road. DPM Teo, who chairs Cabinet on matters to do with the house, has explained straightforwardly why he set it up.”

In a Facebook post, Tharman noted that there are ministerial committees on a whole range of issues, some of which may sit for years, and that he chairs several of them. “They help us think through difficult choices in Government before they come to Cabinet, and to canvas views outside when appropriate,” he said.

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K Shanmugam Sc 17 hrs

Cabinet Committee, Mr Lee Hsien Yang has questioned my being in the Committee chaired by DPM Teo. There are dozens of Cabinet Committees set up on a variety of matters. Some are permanent, some are temporary. Their composition is not public and they report to the Cabinet.

I am well aware of the rules of conflict, having been in practice for over 22 years. The suggestion that I am in conflict is ridiculous. If Mr Lee Hsien Yang seriously believes that I was in conflict, he can get a lawyer to write to me and I will respond. I was already a Cabinet Minister when I spoke with some members of the Lee family -- at their behest -- and gave them my views. They were not my clients. Nothing that I said then precludes me from serving in this Committee.

I am sure most Singaporeans are sick and tired about these endless allegations, which are quite baseless. The government has serious business to attend to relating to the welfare of Singaporeans.

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Singaporeans 'sick and tired of endless' Oxley Road allegations: Shanmugam

Saying that Singaporeans are "sick and tired" about the incessant baseless allegations that have been throw up amid the Lee family dispute, Law Minister K Shanmugam on Sat (Jun 17) pointed out that the Government has serious business to take care of regarding citizens' welfare.

He also hit back at Mr Lee Hsien Yang for questioning his inclusion in the ministerial committee tasked to look at the options for 38 Oxley Road. Mr Shanmugam said he was "well aware" of the rules of conflict of interest, having been a practising lawyer for 22 years. "The suggestion that I am in conflict is ridiculous. If Mr Lee Hsien Yang seriously believes that I was in conflict, he can get a lawyer to write to me and I will respond," Mr Shanmugam said on Facebook.

He pointed out that he was "already a Cabinet Minister" when he spoke with some members of the Lee family, at their behest, & gave them his views. "They were not my clients. Nothing that I said then precludes me from serving in this Committee," he said.

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K Shanmugam challenges Lee Hsien Yang to send him a lawyer’s letter for his response
“I am sure most Singaporeans are sick and tired about these endless allegations, which are quite baseless,”

K Shanmugam, Minister for Law and Minister for Home Affairs has hit back at Lee Hsien Yang over insinuations that his position in the Ministerial Committee is a “conflict of interest having advised Lee Kuan Yew and us on options to help achieve Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes, and the drafting of the demolition wish”.

Shanmugam, in a Facebook post published yesterday (Jun 17), slammed the suggestion, saying it was “ridiculous”. He added, “if Mr Lee Hsien Yang seriously believes that I was in conflict, he can get a lawyer to write to me and I will respond.”

“I am sure most Singaporeans are sick and tired about these endless allegations, which are quite baseless,” “The government has serious business to attend to relating to the welfare of Singaporeans.”

related: ‘Secret’ Ministerial Committee is ‘fundamentally flawed’: Lee Hsien Yang

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38 Oxley Road committee: Suggestion of conflict of interest 'ridiculous', Shanmugam says

Law Minister K Shanmugam on Sat (Jun 17) hit back the suggestion that his inclusion in the ministerial committee on 38 Oxley Road represented a conflict of interest, saying it was "ridiculous".

He was responding to a Facebook post by Mr Lee Hsien Yang, which said that the composition of the committee was "fundamentally flawed".

"Mr Lee Hsien Yang has questioned my being in the Committee chaired by DPM Teo," Mr Shanmugam wrote.

related:
DPM TCH revealed that the committee members included Cabinet ministers
Mr Lee Hsien Yang: Composition of the committee was "fundamentally flawed"
Mr LHY, took issue with Mr Shanmugam's inclusion on the committee

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Minister K Shanmugan challenges Lee Hsien Yang to have a lawyer to write to him for his response

In yet another episode in the ongoing Lee family saga, Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam has just issued a rebuttal on his Facebook page to Mr Lee Hsien Yang's earlier post, noting that there is a clear conflict of interest by the Minister to be involved in the committee formed to deliberate on the government's decision in regards to the property at 38 Oxley Road, where Mr Lee Hsien Yang's late father,  Lee Kuan Yew once lived.

Mr Lee had highlighted that he and his sister were not given the list of the committee when they had asked for it, and were only informed through Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's statement issued on Saturday late afternoon.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang had written in his post that he and his sister had expressed specific concerns on the possible membership of Mr K Shanmugam and his conflict of interest having advised Lee Kuan Yew and the two on options to help achieve Lee Kuan Yew's wishes, and the drafting of the demolition wish.

related:
LHY: Information that DPM Teo released what the 2 siblings have been asking for
DPM TCH: Nothing “secret” about the committee formed for 38 Oxley Road
LHY: “We have no confidence in Lee Hsien Loong or his secret committee”
PM Lee’s siblings raise concerns regarding present administration of S'pore

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ESM Goh calls on Singaporeans to urge Lee family to settle Oxley home spat behind closed doors

Singaporeans can urge the Lee family to settle their dispute over 38 Oxley Road "amicably in private or through closed-door arbitration", Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Saturday (Jun 17) as he pointed out that this is "not the family legacy" which their father, founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, would have wanted to leave behind.

Mr Goh weighed in on the saga for the second time in as many days - and the third government leader to do so on Saturday. "It is not worth tearing up family bonds built over a lifetime over these differences, however serious they are," he wrote on Facebook.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Law Minister K Shanmugam had given their take on the matter, with Mr Teo issuing a media statement to provide details of the ministerial committee tasked to look at the future status of the Lee family home, including its composition, the considerations behind its setting up and the options on the table.

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Oxley Road dispute 'not the family legacy' Lee Kuan Yew would have wanted: ESM Goh

The dispute involving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings over their father Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road home is not the family legacy that the founding Prime Minister would have wanted to leave behind, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Saturday (Jun 17).

ESM Goh added that he supports the "careful way" in which Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and the Government is handling the issue as public interests are involved.

He made the comments in a Facebook post in response to DPM Teo's statement that explained the setting up of a ministerial committee to study the options for the Oxley Road house.

related: DPM Teo's statement that explained setting up of a ministerial committee

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Singapore will not be dragged down by Lee family's 'petty disputes', says Goh Chok Tong

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Friday (June 16) weighed in on the Lee family spat over 38 Oxley Road, by urging Singaporeans to "not be dragged down by a family's petty disputes".

Writing on Facebook, Mr Goh noted that Singapore has "prevailed through crises and adversity". "We are a hardy people, built our family and nation from humble beginnings," he wrote.

Mr Goh succeeded founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1990 and handed over the baton to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2004. He added: "What is happening in public between Lee Kuan Yew's children is not us and should not be allowed to define who we are. We are bigger than our troubles, stronger than our differences. Whatever damage Singapore may suffer, willfully inflicted or otherwise, I know Singaporeans will not lay meek… We will always look forward, to fight real battles and create a better future for ourselves and our children."

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EX-PM GOH CHOK TONG WEIGHTS IN: S'PORE WILL NOT BE DRAGGED OWN BY PETTY LEE FAMILY DISPUTE

Singapore has prevailed through crises and adversity. We are a hardy people, built our family and nation from humble beginnings. What is happening in public between Lee Kuan Yew’s children is not us and should not be allowed to define who we are.

We are bigger than our troubles, stronger than our differences. Whatever damage Singapore may suffer, willfully inflicted or otherwise, I know Singaporeans will not lay meek. We will not be dragged down by a family’s petty disputes. We will always look forward, to fight real battles and create a better future for ourselves and our children.

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MParader Yesterday at 15:11


Singapore has prevailed through crises and adversity. We are a hardy people, built our family and nation from humble beginnings. What is happening in public between Lee Kuan Yew’s children is not us and should not be allowed to define who we are. We are bigger than our troubles, stronger than our differences. Whatever damage Singapore may suffer, willfully inflicted or otherwise, I know Singaporeans will not lay meek. We will not be dragged down by a family’s petty disputes. We will always look forward, to fight real battles and create a better future for ourselves and our children.

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MParader Yesterday at 08:11

James Tan With all due respect Mr Goh, I think you missed a point here. This is originally a family dispute, which should have been taken to court to resolve. However, according to the siblings' allegations, PM choose to use the government resources to set up a committee to bull doze the way through.

This allegation, together with other such as abuse of power etc, are serious allegations as it questions the Pm's integrity and his conduct . So this is no longer a petty dispute. As a senior statesman, I think it is important for you to take up the responsibility to initiate an investigation into these allegations, as our country reputation and world standing are now at stake. So if these allegations are false, it can help Pm to clear his name.

PAP ministers and leaders has to stand up and do what is right for the stake of the country. They should speak out and not just close one eye and treat this as a petty family dispute.

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MParader Yesterday at 08:11


Martyn See "We have an understanding that if a minister is defamed and he does not sue, he must leave cabinet."
- Goh Chok Tong, Asiaweek, Dec 3, 1999

http://edition.cnn.com/.../interview/goh.chok.tong/goh3.html
ASIANOW - Asiaweek | Interview: Finally, Being His Own Man | Page 3 | 11/25/99
Goh Chok Tong on Singapore, Asia -- and himself.

EDITION.CNN.COM

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MParader Yesterday at 15:11

Harry Yohannan These are very serious allegations made by siblings who are no ordinary man-in-the-street. The siblings are highly educated, held top positions in both private and public sectors, and have even consulted lawyers before putting out these very, very serious allegations. How can you dismiss such serious allegations as just a petty family dispute ? These serious allegations need to have proper investigations done by the authorities and/or a BOI convened. So, is the government going to conduct an investigation, owing to the very, very serious nature of the allegations by the siblings?

These are your own words reported in Asiaweek in 1999, right ? "But if they've defamed us, we have to sue them -- because if we don't, our own integrity will be suspect. We have an understanding that if a minister is defamed and he does not sue, he must leave cabinet.”. So, is this report true ? Are these your own words ? It would be good to get some verification from you on this, because it was so long ago.

Here are links to the Asiaweek report:
http://www.singapore-window.org/sw99/91203aw.htm
http://edition.cnn.com/.../interview/goh.chok.tong/goh3.html

Since the allegations are far worse than simple defamation, there should more reasons for lawsuits to be filed against the siblings, right ? Else, as what you have mentioned and insisted, the Minister has to leave the Cabinet ??
Singapore:Goh Chok Tong: Finally, being his own man.
Singapore, Justice, Human Rights, Politics, Social issues
SINGAPORE-WINDOW.ORG

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The Independent Singapore Page Liked · 6 hrs near Singapore

"We have an understanding that if a minister is defamed and he does not sue, he must leave cabinet."

- Goh Chok Tong, Asiaweek, Dec 3, 1999

http://edition.cnn.com/ASIANOW/asiaweek/interview/goh.chok.tong/goh3.html

"What is happening in public between Lee Kuan Yew's children is not us and should not be allowed to define who we are. We will not be dragged down by a family's petty disputes."

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1672448012797858&id=182873625088645

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Zul Al Yusouf · Co-founder at Soleil Pâtissiére


If all the allegations are wrong, please sue them in court. Bringing the case, as the PM has mentioned as private affair, to parliament is wrong. Bringing in the other ministers to allow them making remarks is another wrong thing to do. They should be remain neutral as this is none of their concerns, it's between the siblings. I say enough of this drama. Just settle it in court. There are better things to worry such as minimum wages, our cpf, our HDB homes where we are co-tenant but we pay property tax while we are not owners, etc. The country has other issues than this house.

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PAP sues opponents 'until your pants drop': Low Thia Khiang

The People’s Action Party may be seen as exercising double standards if Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong does not sue his siblings over their allegations of abuse of power, said Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang.

“By using family, does this not also show that blood is thicker than water? Own siblings cannot sue… but political opponents and critics, sue until your pants drop,” said the Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament on Tuesday (4 July).

“I wonder whether the PM is not worrying that the PAP as a ruling party will be seen as (practising) double standards,” he added.

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To Sue or Not to Sue: Defamation & Double Standards in Singapore’s Family Feud



Singapore has a reputation as a rules-based society, where no one can be above the law. It’s a mantra that has been repeated time and time again, a crucial part of the country’s reputation as a place where everything is above board and done right.

These days, this image is getting a little harder to maintain, particularly with the recent Lee family feud. Over the past two weeks Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s younger siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, have doggedly posted accusations against their big brother on their Facebook pages. They’ve alleged abuses of power, nepotism and favoritism – all claims that Singaporeans would usually hesitate to utter, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of crippling defamation suits. That, after all, is the usual reaction of politicians like Lee Hsien Loong. Lee himself acknowledged this in Parliament on Monday, when he said in his ministerial statement.

One can sympathise with the unpleasantness of having to resort to legal action with one’s own relatives, but the hypocrisy of Lee’s statement was simply too blatant to escape attention. It was best put by Low Thia Khiang, leader of the opposition, in Parliament the next day. The situation was then exacerbated by the response of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who dismissed Low’s speech as “political sophistry," then said, “And as for Tang Liang Hong, he’s not my brother.”

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Lawrence Wong 23 June at 02:14 

I plan to speak on this in Parliament on 3 July, and clear the air on the matter, as I was then the Minister in charge of MCCY. But as there are several misperceptions circulating around, I thought it would be better to put out some facts earlier.

The deed of gift relates to items from the estate of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, for use in a major public exhibition by the NHB concerning Singapore’s founding leaders, including our founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Such a major public exhibition on our founding leaders is a matter for deliberation by the Government.

It would therefore be normal and in order, that the Prime Minister be kept informed about the contents and presentation of the exhibition. The Prime Minister was given the deed in his official capacity.

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PM Lee was given Deed of Gift in his official capacity: Lawrence Wong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was given the Deed of Gift for Lee Kuan Yew's belongings in his official capacity, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong in a Facebook post on Frid (Jun 23).

The Deed of Gift concerns items from the estate of the late founding prime minister, which were loaned to the National Heritage Board (NHB) for a memorial exhibition.

The document was signed in Jun 2015 by Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling - as executors and trustees of the late Mr Lee's estate - forming an agreement to donate some furniture and personal items belonging to their father from his 38 Oxley Road home to the NHB.

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MND Minister Lawrence Wong: PM Lee given the deed of gift in his official capacity

Minister of National Development, Lawrence Wong posted a Facebook post on Friday late afternoon to state that it was normal, and in order, for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to be given the deed in his official capacity.

Just this week, Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY)  posted a letter from PM Lee’s lawyer showing that Mr Lucien Wong, who is PM Lee’s personal lawyer and the current Attorney General, had informed him that his client, PM Lee had received a copy of the Deed of Gift which was earlier denied by him and his sister, LWL on 12 June 2015. According to LHY, it was a matter of just a few hours before Mr Wong, PM’s personal lawyer wrote to inform them, “Our client has since received a copy of the Deed of Gift dated 8 June 2015 from NHB.”

LHY questioned in his post, “Did LHL acquire the Deed of Gift in his public capacity, or his private capacity? If in his public capacity, to use this in his personal legal disputes is a clear abuse of authority. If in his private capacity, how can other private citizens go about acquiring confidential deeds of gift from the NHB?”

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PM Lee Hsien Loong obtained deed of gift for Oxley House items in official capacity: Lawrence Wong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong obtained a deed of gift relating to items from his late father’s estate, which were to be used in a public exhibition by the National Heritage Board, in his official capacity as PM, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday (23 June).

“Such a major public exhibition on our founding leaders is a matter for deliberation by the Government. It would therefore be normal and in order, that the Prime Minister be kept informed about the contents and presentation of the exhibition,” said Wong in a Facebook post.

He added that if PM Lee had asked for the information in his private capacity, “he would have been entitled to know about the exhibition and the items from the estate, given his position as the eldest son of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew and beneficiary of the estate.”

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Lawrence Wong’s Facebook post tries to dispel controversy about PM Lee’s Deed of Gift

National development minister Lawrence Wong has come out with a Facebook statement in a bid to clarify the circumstances surrounding the Deed of Gift issued by the late Lee Kuan Yew’s estate to the National Heritage board.

The controversy surrounding this issue is that PM Lee had managed to obtain a copy of the Deed not from his siblings, but from the National Heritage Board, wearing his Prime Minister hat.

The crux of this issue, according to Wong in his post, is that PM Lee is wearing two hats — both equally important and justifiable as his right to information.

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Minister Desmond Lee: Lee Kuan Yew’s will need government’s permission first

Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee told state media Straits Times today (June 26) that any legal-binding will can easily be override by the “rule of law”:

“The rule of law is something we cherish because we are fortunate to have it. It is about private rights versus the interest of the public. This process is how more than 7,100 buildings are conserved.” Minister Desmond Lee also said that any demolishment work will first need the government’s permission and that the government reserve the right to disallow the demolishment. Citing a factory as example, Minister Desmond Lee said:

“Even though the factory sat on private land, the Government took a stand as it has to represent Singaporeans’ heritage concerns. If the company that owns the building says something like they want to knock it down and do something else there, then there is a process. This process involves the URA’s Conservation Advisory Panel and the National Heritage Board’s Preservation of Sites and Monuments division.”

related: 'Rule of law' followed on heritage decisions: Desmond Lee

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The flawed agenda of the Oxley House Ministerial Committee

I am troubled by the terms of reference for the Oxley House Ministerial Committee.  It looks to me that this Committee may be serving a personal vendetta instead of the public interest. Let me explain - According to a Statement by Cabinet Secretary Mr Tan Kee Yong issued on 14 June 2017, this Committee was set up “to consider the options for 38 Oxley Road (the “House”), and the implications of those options. These included looking into various aspects, including the historical and heritage significance of the House, as well as to consider Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s thinking and wishes in relation to the House.”

According to DPM Teo Chee Hean in his statement release on 17 June 2017, the Government has the responsibility to consider the public interest aspects of any property with heritage and historical significance, and that this applies to the House. - I have no problem with that statement.

But DPM Teo Chee Hean then went on to say: "The Committee has thus been looking at the options available for 38 Oxley Road while paying particular attention to respecting Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes for his house."

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OPINION: Lees behaving badly

You might remember last week we looked at former President Sergio Osmeña and how he lived to a ripe old age, dying in 1961. Let’s return to him for a moment, because Yet his sunset years was marred by a family quarrel that went public. In 1953-54, his son, Sergio Osmeña Jr., tried to have him declared mentally incompetent in an argument over his father’s will leaving most of the estate to his wife. A man can live his life in greatness, but as Charles de Gaulle famously remarked, “old age is a shipwreck,” for everyone. And the tales of the powerful include the destruction of family harmony in the old age, or upon the death, of the family patriarch.

This is the case in Singapore, where the family of the late Lee Kwan Yew has gone public with a fight over inheritance. The cast is a mind-boggling one: all three of LKY’s children, the eldest of whom happens to be prime minister, and the other two, respected individuals in their own right. The cause of the problem is a familiar one: anger and resentment between siblings over their parent’s will. Lee Kwan Yew by all accounts, made seven wills over his long life. Most of them, including his last one, specified that his house should be demolished after his death. The problem was that two of his wills did not specify the demolition of his house, a modest bungalow near Orchard Road which he acquired in 1945, which became not only his family home, but the nerve center for the leadership of the party that has ruled Singapore since independence.

In contrast to nearly all of Southeast Asia’s founding fathers, Lee Kwan Yew was uninterested in memorializing himself. The only monument to himself he allowed during his lifetime was an institution –the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He seems to have genuinely opposed the idea of his home turning into some sort of national shrine after his death.

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Blogger: LKY wills did not specify demolition of house

An unnamed blogger in a post published on ABS-CBN wrote the problem in the Lee family’s public battle over Lee Kuan Yew’s (LKY) inheritance was that two of the Singapore’s forefather’s “wills did not specify the demolition of his house.”

However, the blog post said: It seems he (LKY) felt sorry for his neighbors who, during his long political career, could never build up their properties for security reasons.

Demolishing his house would give the neighbors a big financial benefit by being able to develop their properties at last.

“That’s the mark of a considerate man. But there would be a financial benefit, too, for the children: one estimate pegs the value of the property at 24 million Singapore dollars. Making possible such a windfall is the mark of a pragmatic man.”

The blogger said the modest bungalow near Orchard Road which Lee acquired in 1945, became not only his family home, but the nerve center for the leadership of the party that has ruled Singapore since independence.

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The Lee feud is not about the house – it’s about the story

Ultimately, all this jostling is about the message to be presented to Singaporeans. All sides are claiming to be the true defenders of Lee Kuan Yew: Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang are accusing Lee Hsien Loong of betraying their father’s values, Lee Hsien Loong says their public statement has “hurt our father’s legacy”, Tharman Shanmugaratnam reassures all Singaporeans that Lee Hsien Loong’s government is continuing to do the good work started by Lee Kuan Yew, Ho Ching appeals to her brother-in-law to “remember what papa and mama would have wanted most for the family and for Singapore”.

It’s emotional blackmail writ large across the country. Who loves Ah Kong the most?

The irony, of course, is that we couldn’t possibly get any further from Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes with this public fight. But it’s certainly been useful in surfacing issues that need to be closely examined and openly discussed in Singapore: due process, control, authoritarianism, conflict of interest. These are the matters that we should be focusing on; they matter far more than what Lee Kuan Yew actually wanted to do with his house.

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Lee family’s dispute has nothing to do with Singaporeans

Singapore woke up to the public fight between all 3++ of you. Now dysfunctional families are common. So are fights between siblings. These are usually amplified after the last parent passes away. Most of us keep it in within families; occasionally when it involves money, it ends up in court. Now, family fights are usually none of anybody’s business except the family members involve – and it’s usually complicated and complex and there are sides which relatives take, and outsiders don’t because it’s none of our business.

Except now you’ve made it every Singaporean’s business by taking it public and airing your grievances in such a manner. This is now no longer a private matter, not just a Lee Family matter; it’s not even a public spectacular – more importantly it has now become a Singapore and Singaporean matter. Singapore does not belong to the Lees. Even though Singapore was Lee Kuan Yew’s love and his legacy, and Singapore is defined by him, it still does not make Singapore his or his family’s. By dragging this into the public arena in such a manner, you are dragging Singaporeans not just into it by taking sides, but you are dragging Singapore down at time when we can ill-afford it. China, terrorism, state of the economy, leadership problems – Singapore is facing numerous issues which needs urgent attention. We cannot afford to lose investors confidence or a stock market crash.

So fight if you must, it’s your family’s prerogative – but you are now dragging Singaporeans into it, plus dragging Singapore’s reputation and Lee Kuan Yew, our past Prime Minister; not just your father; into this whole public fracas. It will affect Singapore – not just your family. While concerns in the letter are possibly valid, this public avenue does not benefit anyone and will affect Singapore most. Your father put Singapore first and foremost above everything – you might like to do the same.

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Squabbling Lees Highlight Singapore’s Dynastic Dilemma
Squabbling Lees Highlight Singapore’s Dynastic Dilemma

An extraordinary dispute within Singapore’s ruling family broke into the open on June 14. Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang — the two younger children of the late Lee Kuan Yew — posted a message on Facebook accusing their elder brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, of subverting their father’s last will and testament by avoiding the demolition of the family home.

More seriously for the public interest, they accused Lee Hsien Loong of abusing his position to achieve this end and of trying to engineer a dynastic succession whereby his son Li Hongyi would enter politics as a third generation of Lees. They are particularly concerned that Hsien Loong’s personal solicitor possessed and was using documents that had been made available only to the National Heritage Board for the purposes of organizing a commemorative display.

As a result of this episode, the Lee siblings have discovered to their horror that there are no checks and balances on the power of the prime minister and that the Singaporean press is meek and timid. They seem to think that they are the first to have noticed this. So fearful are the Lee siblings of their elder brother that Lee Hsien Yang.

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Singapore's Family Feud: A 'Secret Committee' and the Problem of Due Process

It’s been a dizzying week-and-a-half for Singaporeans earnestly following the ins and outs of the Lee family feud on social media. Side-stepping the mainstream media – which they see as controlled by their elder brother’s government – the younger Lee siblings have been dropping accusations and nuggets of information daily, as if the entire saga were a serial novel.

There are petty insinuations flying from all sides, but none of them should distract from the troubling issues related to due process that have been surfaced by this dispute. One of Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang’s core accusations have been that their brother, current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has misused his power to get his own way. While their father Lee Kuan Yew has been public with his desire for his home at 38 Oxley Road to be demolished upon his death, the younger siblings claim that Lee Hsien Loong wishes to preserve the home instead, so as to reap the political capital one could get from riding on the much-revered Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy.

It’s since been revealed that an internal ministerial committee – or a “secret committee,” as Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang have been calling it – has been convened to consider the issue of what to do with 38 Oxley Road. The existence of such a committee is a little surprising, considering that the government had previously stated that, since Lee Wei Ling is still living at Oxley Road, there is no need for any immediate decision regarding the house.

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Financial Times most read letter: the Lee’s banana republic?

In a letter, the most read Friday 23rd in the Financial Times, one Frankie Leung from Los Angeles, CA, USA said the Lee family’s feud could not happen in Singapore as it sounded like a ‘banana republic’ saga.

“When the story broke that the prime minister’s younger brother and his wife had to flee the country to avoid political persecution, we thought it could only happen in a banana republic and not the Republic of Singapore,” the letter said.


He also wrote that When the Old Man (as Singapore’s late premier Lee Kuan Yew was fondly called) talked so eloquently about Asian values and propounded his interpretation of a brand of Confucianism, I had to bite my lip to stop laughing.

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Lee Kuan Yew's last will made upon his 'express instruction', says younger son
FILE PHOTO: A view of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road residence in Singapore June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

The prime minister said he had recused himself from all government decisions regarding the house, and in his personal capacity, would also like to see Lee Kuan Yew's wish honored.

His brother Lee Hsien Yang said on Saturday Lee Kuan Yew's final will was engrossed on the basis of Lee Kuan Yew's "express instruction" to revert to his first will, attaching to the statement what appeared to be an email message from Lee Kuan Yew that states his plan to sign it before a solicitor.

"Lee Kuan Yew's final will was simply Lee Kuan Yew's first will of 20 Aug 2011 re-executed on his instruction," Lee Hsien Yang said on his Facebook

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Lee Hsien Yang defends final will of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, says his father gave 'express instruction' to revert to first version

More questions have emerged over the final will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, after his younger son Hsien Yang asserted that his father gave "express instruction" for the last will to follow the first version.

In a FacebBook post on Saturday (Jun 17), Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote: "Lee Kuan Yew's final will in December 2013 was engrossed on the basis of his express instruction to revert to his first will from 2011."

He added that his father's final will "was simply Lee Kuan Yew's first will of Aug 20, 2011, re-executed on his instructions".

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Lee Kuan Yew's last will 'final & legally binding': Lee Hsien Yang

The last will made by Mr Lee Kuan Yew is "final & legally binding", Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the youngest son of Singapore's founding Prime Minister said on Thursday (Jun 15), after his elder brother Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he had "grave concerns" about how their father's last will was prepared.

At issue, in particular, was the removal & subsequent re-insertion of a clause stating the late Mr Lee's wish that his house at 38 Oxley Road be demolished after his death, PM Lee noted in a statutory declaration he submitted to a ministerial committee set up to consider the future of the house. The statutory declaration was made public by PM Lee's lawyers earlier Thursday evening.

In response, the younger Mr Lee noted that his brother had "raised no legal challenge to Lee Kuan Yew's will in the many months after it was read". "Probate was granted in October 2015, so the will is full, final, & legally binding," Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote in a Facebook post shortly after the statutory declaration was made public.

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Will may be challenged after grant of probate, say lawyers

Can you challenge the validity of a will after probate has been granted?
  • Mr Lee Kuan Yew's younger son, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, maintains that his father's will - which is at the centre of a dispute between him and his older brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - is "final and legally binding" as no challenge was lodged.
  • Lawyers whom The Straits Times spoke to said that six months, as spelt out in the Wills Act, is a guideline, but a challenge beyond that is possible depending on the reasons.
  • "If it's after the six months, you have got to give special reasons and it is at the court's discretion," said Dr G. Raman, a veteran probate lawyer.
  • This is the legal process of probate, when the concerned parties prove in court that a will is a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased.
  • Probate for the late Mr Lee's will was granted on Oct 6, 2015.

Lawyers suggest that if new evidence surfaces, it is still possible to mount a challenge.

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Indranee Rajah Yesterday at 07:06

How many Wills did Mr Lee make and what's the difference between them?

Mr Lee made 7 Wills:
  • 1st Will - this had a Demolition Clause. Each child got an equal share of the estate.
  • 2nd - 4th Wills - these had the Demolition Clause.
  • 5th Will - Demolition Clause was removed.
  • 6th Will - No Demolition Clause. Dr Lee Wei Ling was given an extra share of the estate relative to her brothers.
  • 7th Will - Demolition Clause reinserted. The extra share for Dr Lee Wei Ling removed. It reverted back to equal shares for each child.
The first 6 will were prepared by Ms Kwa Kim Li of M/S Lee & Lee.

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PM LEE’S POSITION UNTENABLE

Anyone else who makes such an attack on the Prime Minister and his government would see a swift rebuttal and legal letters served on him. The least one would receive would be a cease and desist letter from the Attorney General’s Chambers, along with threats of defamation suits from the Prime Minister’s personal lawyers. Yet, despite the continuing and frequent new allegations which seem to emerge every other day from the Lee siblings, nothing much has been done by way of conclusively addressing them, to uphold the integrity of our public institutions.

Instead, what we are promised is a parliamentary sitting on 3 July, where the PM said he will deliver a ministerial statement on the matter. Why Parliament? Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang will not be there to offer their side of the story. Neither will the Attorney General, Lucien Wong, whose appointment to the position has been questioned. Nor would Ms Lee Suet Fern, Lee Hsien Yang’s wife, whose role in the making of Lee Kuan Yew’s Last Will is described as “troubling” by Lee Hsien Loong. In short, 3 July will be nothing more than a backslapping fest of PAP MPs pledging support for PM Lee. It will not resolve the very serious allegations made, allegations which can only be dismissed through an independent inquiry, such as a Select Committee or a Commission of Inquiry.

In fact, is it not for precisely such a situation that the Elected President (EP) scheme was created – to preserve the integrity of government? The EP is endowed with certain executive powers, one of which is the power to instruct the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) to carry out an investigation, if the PM refuses to order one.

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Singaporeans weary of prime minister's family spat

Singaporean founding father Lee Kuan Yew, center, celebrates his 80th birthday in 2003. His children have become embroiled in a feud following his death in 2015. © Reuters

The siblings have continued to trade blows via Facebook, with no sign of a truce coming anytime soon. Many Singaporeans, unaware of what caused such distrust among the family in the first place, have started showing signs of weariness with the ongoing drama.

"Parliament is not a forum for siblings' disputes," an internet user believed to be Singaporean said in a comment on a local news website. Concerns have grown that the saga will drag on despite more pressing issues, such as the economy and the growing threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia. Han Fook Kwang, editor-at-large of the influential newspaper The Straits Times, said, "The family feud among the Lees is extremely damaging to Singapore."

The row has invited criticism from overseas, too. "The dispute between [the prime minister] and his siblings might challenge the stability of the country and bring pressure for political reform," wrote the Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party's English-language newspaper.

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Singapore’s Establishment Tries to Wrest Back Control of Lee Family Feud

In his statement, Lee Hsien Loong referred to the making of a Ministerial Statement. The relevant section of the Standing Orders of Singapore’s Parliament states that “[a] statement may be made by a Minister in Parliament on a matter of public importance. Members may seek clarification on the statement but no debate shall be allowed thereon.”

Questions have been sent to both the Prime Minister’s Office and the People’s Action Party to find out if the prime minister will be making such a Ministerial Statement, after which no debate will be allowed, or if motions will be filed to allow for a discussion that goes beyond seeking clarification. The News Lens has not yet received a response.

It’s a stretch to imagine that PAP MPs will hold their own leaders’ feet over the fire when the allegations are so damaging, not just to Lee Hsien Loong personally, but to the government and the party as a whole. If no debate is allowed on July 3, the parliamentary session will run the risk of being interpreted as little more than political theatre, and yet another move by the establishment to yank this whole episode on to their own playing field.

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The Parliamentary Sitting On 3rd July Won’t Solve The Lee Family Dispute
All eyes will be on Parliament this coming Monday (July 3) What About LHY And LWL?

But wait, doesn’t something just feel off about the Parliamentary Sitting? It’s common knowledge that the family dispute largely revolves around the 3 Lee siblings — so shouldn’t LHY and Dr LWL be in the thick of things when discussions are under way?

One may argue that this is a Parliamentary Meeting and as such only the government officials have the right to partake in the assembly. But just think about it for a moment — PM Lee wants to refute allegations of his abuse of power, yet the two people whom have accused him of it will not be present. Wouldn’t that make for a very one-sided and potentially biased discussion? How will the sibling duo defend themselves when allegations are made against them, or clarify things in the event that inaccurate information is presented.

Furthermore, LHY and Dr LWL are aware of all the nitty-gritty aspects of the case that we outsiders are not aware of. They are the ones whose questions need to be answered and they know exactly what to ask. Without the presence of LHY and Dr LWL in Parliament, it’s difficult to envision how the siblings can thrash things out once and for all.

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Historian weighs in on LKY’s legacy and how it contributes to Lee Family Feud

According to Dr Thum, the power Lee Kuan Yew acquired and wielded through this system was what led to the “steady erosion of Singapore’s democratic freedoms and liberty, (and) more importantly the erosion of the independence of state institutions.”

This, Dr Thum argues, is the system that Lee Hsien Loong has inherited – a system where, like his father, he makes a decision in advance and only then does that decision pass through democratic consultation and legislative process where it becomes legitimised. This means that decisions are finalised by Lee Hsien Loong or his advisors, and that despite the facade of democratic deliberation, such decisions are really foregone conclusions.

The historian pointed out that the battle over the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew clearly demonstrates how authority in Singapore still stems from Lee Kuan Yew – not Lee Hsien Loong:
  • “Lee Hsien Loong, of course, is now fighting back using the machinery of the state against them which shows just how much his personal and the national interests have blurred together. Again, this is part of Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy.
  • “His siblings are fighting against him with the only real weapon they have, which is to try and deprive him of the authority of Lee Kuan Yew.
  • “So what we have today is a very brittle system which is still reliant on the personal authority of a dead man.”

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Tan Jee Say to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of The Republic of Singapore

As President, you have the specific duty of safeguarding the integrity of the public service, and it is incumbent on you to get to the bottom of all this, to establish the facts and if true, hold those responsible fully accountable and put into place means and measures to ensure that no one can abuse his or her public position for private gain without the most severe punishment meted out to him or her.

As this is a matter of grave public concern, it is absolutely vital that you direct this inquiry to be conducted by way of open public hearings so as to ensure public confidence that nothing will be swept under the carpet and that every relevant detail will be examined.

This issue is of extreme urgency and the inquiry should be conducted soonest possible. As this matter takes place under your watch, you cannot simply pass the buck to the next President as you still have more than two months left of your presidential term of office. A period of two months is more than sufficient for this inquiry to be conducted and completed in good order as our public service is well-known for its efficiency.

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