Saturday, 8 July 2017

The famiLEE feud: Demolish the house, end the saga, let's move on


Update 20 Oct 2017: Oxley Road dispute ‘in abeyance’ and Lee siblings haven’t communicated recently - PM Lee

The Oxley Road dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong & his siblings remains unresolved & they have not communicated recently.

Speaking to CNBC ahead of his visit to the United States from Sunday (Oct 22), PM Lee described the spat with his siblings over their 38 Oxley Road family home as being in “abeyance”.

“I’m not sure if it’s solved,” he told the business news outlet in an interview on Thursday (Oct 19).

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Lee Hsien Loong 4 December 2015

My siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, and I have issued the following joint statement:
  • "To honour the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Lee Hsien Yang have each agreed to donate half the value of 38 Oxley Road to the charities named in the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's obituary notice.
  • Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang would like to honour the wish of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew that the house at 38 Oxley Road be demolished after Dr Lee Wei Ling ceases to live in it.
  • Mr Lee Hsien Loong has recused himself from all government decisions involving 38 Oxley Road and, in his personal capacity, would also like to see this wish honoured.
  • Speaking as the children of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang hope the government will allow the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wish for the demolition of the house to be honoured and that all Singaporeans will support their cause." 

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Half the value of Oxley Road house to be donated to charity

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said on Facebook that he and his two other siblings Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling would like to respect their father’s final wishes to demolish the Oxley Rd house.

Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed away on 23 March this year. The outpouring of grief by the young and old alike in Singapore was followed by calls to preserve the Oxley Road house which he lived in.

However, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was always adamant about having the house demolished after his passing and should his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling no longer lived in it. Mr Lee Kuan Yew wrote this in his will:
"I further declare that it is my wish, and the wish of my late wife, KWA GEOK CHOO, that our house at 38 Oxley Road, Singapore 238629 (‘the House’) be demolished immediately after my death or, if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House. I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the House be carried out. If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants. My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged. My statement of wishes in this paragraph 7 may be publicly disclosed notwithstanding that the rest of my Will is private."
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Lee Kuan Yew’s family to donate the value of Oxley Rd house to charity
PM Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling reiterate their request that Singaporeans respect the wishes of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away in March

"To honour the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong & Mr Lee Hsien Yang have each agreed to donate half the value of 38 Oxley Road to the charities named in the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's obituary notice," wrote PM Lee. "Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang would like to honour the wish of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew that the house at 38 Oxley Road be demolished after Dr Lee Wei Ling ceases to live in it.

"Mr Lee Hsien Loong has recused himself from all government decisions involving 38 Oxley Road and, in his personal capacity, would also like to see this wish honoured."

"Speaking as the children of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang hope the government will allow the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wish for the demolition of the house to be honoured & that all Singaporeans will support their cause."

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Irene Ng: “Demolish the house, end the saga now, and let’s all move on”

Former People's Action Party Member of Parliament, Irene Ng has posted a Facebook note calling for the demolishing of 38 Oxley Road in hope for a definitive end to the saga and in light of the statement of Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang on 6 July. The two siblings wrote that the two will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that they and Lee Kuan Yew's wish are not attacked or misrepresented.

Ms Ng believes that as long as the house stands, the saga will not end. She wrote that Singapore should be very proud that it has a founding leader who did not want or need monuments to himself. "He did not want a personality cult built around him. We should honour that. We should respect his wish to demolish his house after his death." She also suggests that the historical significance of the house for future generations can be preserved by siting the Founders’ Memorial there, marked with a plaque explaining why Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted the house demolished, a statement in itself of his style of leadership and that of his team.

Similar to Mr Inderjit Singh, Ms Ng recommends that Dr Lee to evict from 38 Oxley Road now so that the house can be demolished now. She warns that if the government were to gazette the property without the commitment to demolish it, will no doubt be the invitation for the siblings to start their accusations all over again.

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Ex-Tampines PAP MP Irene Ng also calls for demolition of 38 Oxley Road now

Former PAP Member of Parliament Irene Ng has taken to Facebook to share her views about what to do with the 38 Oxley Road conundrum.

Her statement, which appears to have been independently derived but similar to the post by former Ang Mo Kio MP Inderjit Singh also shared on Thursday, July 6, calls for the immediate demolition of the 38 Oxley Road house.

An MP from 2001 to 2015, Ng, a former reporter at The Straits Times, wrote that Lee Wei Ling has to move out of the house immediately to trigger the demolition clause.

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EX-MP IRENE NG: DEMOLISH OXLEY RD HOUSE SO WE CAN ALL MOVE ON!

Former MP Irene Ng has come up with a brilliant idea to resolve the FamiLEE dispute by asking for 38 Oxley Rd to be demolished NOW.

“I believe that as long as the core issue remains – what to do with the house – and as long as the house stands, the saga will not end. It will be a running sore. The Lee family will continue to suffer, and we will not be spared. To end the saga now by demolishing the house, all parties involved have to pay a price:
  • Lee Wei Ling has to forfeit her unfettered right to live there, and move out. Her father has left her his Cluny Road flat.
  • Lee Hsien Yang will have to forfeit the potential profit that can be made from the sale of the land. To be fair, Hsien Yang says he has no desire to profit from the property. Hence, this should not be an issue.
  • PM Lee has to let go of his reservations over the making of the last will, and accept that as representing Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s final wishes.
Demolish the house, end the saga now, and let’s all move on.”

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Former PAP MP Irene Ng: End the saga now and demolish the Oxley Road house

Due process can and should still be carried out. It should factor in the fact that the house will be gutted and renovated entirely, as Mr Lee Kuan Yew has also set that in motion with his approval of an architectural plan. It will not be in its original state. There is lesser historical merit in preserving the house if it has been modified from its original state. If Wei Ling continues to live there till her ripe old age, this process of structural change will likely continue unless the house is gazetted. Yet to gazette it, without the commitment to demolish it, will no doubt be the invitation for the siblings to open fire all over again.

The act of demolishing Lee Kuan Yew’s house itself will carry its own unique historical significance. We are after all dealing with a unique founding leader.

As his Old Guard colleague S Rajaratnam said of Mr Lee at the latter’s 60th birthday in 1983: “Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s greatest achievement is not the physical transformation of Singapore but the transformation of the mind and character of the average Singaporean.”

Referring to Napoleon’s quip that he would rather have an army of rabbits led by lion than an army of lions led by rabbits, Mr Rajaratnam said that Mr Lee’s goal is “not a nation of rabbits led by lions, or a nation of lions led by rabbits, or worse still, rabbits led by rabbits, but as befits the Lion City, a nation of lions led by a lion.“ Lions led by a lion. Demolish the house, end the saga now, and let’s all move on.

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End the saga now and demolish the Oxley Road house

This has been the plaintive cry heard in many corners of Singapore, including in Parliament, on the bitter dispute between the three children of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew over the fate of his Oxley Road’s house.

Since June 14, when the younger siblings Wei Ling and Hsien Yang started their online open warfare against their elder brother Hsien Loong, also our Prime Minister, the entire nation has been dragged into the dispute, and also into some disrepute.

There seems to be a glimmer of hope that the public feud between Mr Lee’s three children might now quieten down. After PM Lee’s statement in Parliament presenting his case and expressing hopes for reconciliation, his younger siblings Wei Ling and Hsien Yang have declared a sort of online ceasefire. It comes, however, with a caveat: “For now, we will cease presenting further evidence on social media, provided that we and our father's wish are not attacked or misrepresented," they wrote in a joint statement on July 6. This is the dreaded sort of truce that comes with guns cocked and reloaded, and there is no telling what can set them off again.

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Ex-Ang Mo Kio MP Inderjit Singh: Lee Wei Ling moves out of 38 Oxley Road now & demolish house
Former PAP Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh has struck again

In no uncertain terms, Inderjit’s most forceful recommendation is for Lee Wei Ling to move out of the 38 Oxley Road house immediately, so that it can be demolished.

This will spare everyone the exchange of statements in public and prevent the future government of the day from having to decide what to do with 38 Oxley Road.

This is so as the house is no longer associated with Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy, but a bitter public struggle that has torn a family apart.

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Inderjit Singh: Way forward for 38 Oxley is for everyone to give up something for all to win

Former People's Action Party Member of Parliament, Inderjit Singh posted a Facebook update yesterday calling for an end of the Lee Family Saga by having the property at the 38 Oxley Road demolished. He urges PM, the government, the Lee siblings and Singaporeans to give up the desire to preserve the house and allow the 38 Oxley house to be demolished today, not in the future.

Mr Singh wrote that Singaporeans will now remember 38 Oxley not just for Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy but for the family feud over the fate of the house and asks if the house is worth preserving given what has has happened. He highlighted that Mr Lee Kuan Yew reminded everyone that he did not believe in monuments as a way of remembering him but that he best remembered for the work he did for Singapore and the values he believed in.

If there is a desire for future generations of Singaporeans to experience 38 Oxley, Mr Singh proposed to have a replica built of some of the key areas like the basement dining room somewhere in Singapore, so that Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house don't have to be trampled over just to experience Singapore's history.

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“Everyone must give up something for Singapore to win” – Ex PAP MP on OXLEY

Adding that though he wishes to preserve the house to remember the late Founding Prime Minister, Mr Singh says he respects Lee Kuan Yew’s desire to demolish the house: “Let him have his wish as our gratitude of what he did for Singapore. Let us remember him in other ways.”

He also asked whether it is worth preserving the house since it will be a reminder of the explosive family dispute that rocked headlines locally and internationally, before offering that an alternative to preserving the heritage the house represented may be to build a replica of some of the key areas of the house in other parts of the country.

“I urge PM, the government, the Lee siblings and Singaporeans to give up the desire to preserve the house and allow the 38 Oxley house to be demolished today, not in the future. We can win and win big for Singapore’s future of we can agree to this.”

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Inderjit Singh: Demolish 38 Oxley Road Today, Singapore is More Important than Individual Desires
redwire-singapore-inderjit-singh-maverick-general-election-62

INDERJIT SINGH: The Way forward for 38 Oxley – To win some we have to lose some – Everyone must give Up Something for all to Win

On the 18th of June, ESM Goh Chok Tong called upon Singaporeans to urge the Lees to settle their dispute amicably (Today “ESM Goh calls on Singaporeans to urge Lee family to settle Oxley home spat behind closed doors” PUBLISHED: 11:50 PM, JUNE 17, 2017).

It is a pity that Singapore and Singaporeans have been in the international limelight over the last 2 weeks. We cannot wish away what has happened but we must try to find an amicable solution to this saga so that the public airing of the Lees’ feud stops immediately and we focus on the challenges the country faces.

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Former PAP MP Inderjit Singh urges government, PM Lee and siblings to compromise

Moreover, Mr Lee Kuan Yew reminded us that he did not believe in monuments as a way of remembering him but that he best remembered for the work he did for Singapore and the values he believed in.

So, if we really want future generations of Singaporeans to experience 38 Oxley lets built a replica of some of the key areas like the basement dining room somewhere in Singapore, so that we don’t have to trample over Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house to experience our history.

I urge PM, the government, the Lee siblings and Singaporeans to give up the desire to preserve the house and allow the 38 Oxley house to be demolished today, not in the future. We can win and win big for Singapore’s future of we can agree to this.

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Inderjit Singh 3 hrs

As expected, the Parliament session on the 3rd and 4th of July did not end the saga as we saw another statement released by Lees Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling, on 6th of July 2017. If we do not end it now, this will have to end up in the courts as I don’t think it will be appropriate to call for another Parliament sitting to answer the statements that may continue to be released by both sides.

I would like to offer a solution. The only way forward for all of us – the Lee family, the government and for Singaporeans - is for each of us to give up something for Singapore to win. We all lose some but we win the bigger picture: Singapore’s image.

The crux of the matter is the fate of the 38 Oxley house; should it be demolished or preserved as a heritage site. Accusations of abuse of power have been made over how this issue has been handled. I will not address the issue of abuse of power but I feel if we can have a conclusion on the 38 Oxley house, we all can move forward.

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Yeoh Lam Keong succinctly explains why Oxley Road should not be considered a memorial site

Yeoh Lam Keong, former chief economist of GIC, and current adjunct professor at National University of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew School of Policy, weighed in on the Oxley Road saga on Jul 6.

His focus was primarily on the notion of “Who built Singapore?”

And whether by building a memorial, or locating a heritage site at Lee Kuan Yew’s residence will undermine the contributions of the other founding members of Singapore.

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Lam Keong Yeoh 11 hrs
“Actually, the issue of a memorial in Oxley to remember the PAPs founding in its basement is not a straightforward one."

Lee Kuan Yew, for all the vital roles he played as party and government leader, was only one of an incredible multiracial team of PAP founders that current popular narrative tends to downplay : men like Goh Keng Swee, Toh Chin Chye, S Rajaratnam, Hon Sui Sen, Lim Kim San, Ong Pang Boon, EW Barker, Devan Nair, Ahmad Ibrahim, Yong Nyuk Lin, Jek Yuen Thong, Othman Wok and many others in government and on the ground.

Singapore’s foundations and the key institutions on which it rests : HDB, EDB, JTC, MAS, GIC, NWC, NTUC, MINDEF, DBS, the civil service, MFA was in fact created by an amazing team effort by a group of national heroes, all of whom contributed immensely and all of whom deserve to be remembered much more than they currently are.

Hence the important heritage idea that such a memorial should not be built centred on the Oxley basement or the Oxley Road house so as not to to over identity our founders achievements with Lee Kuan Yews residence or Lee Kuan Yew alone.

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Kuik Shiao-Yin: Singapore is a country of many people, many families, many interests
“We are no country of one man. We are no country for one man. We are a country of many people, many families, many interests

I have been serving on the Founder’s Memorial Committee since 2015. Please let me share some insights. We’ve gathered views from thousands of Singaporeans – historians, architects, regular people, youths – about what kind of memorial would best honour the legacy of our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and the pioneering team of leaders that built the nation alongside him.

Incidentally, Oxley never came up as a major suggestion. Singaporeans talked of far more public spaces like Fort Canning or Singapore River. What we learnt is that many Singaporeans wanted a Memorial that could go beyond a mere recollection of the past.

They wanted a Memorial to be forward-looking and ever relevant to a new generation, a Memorial that didn’t just centre on particular personalities but powerful principles that could be passed on to endure forever. Many hoped for the Founder’s Memorial, whenever and wherever it does get built, to ultimately stand for unity across the divides.

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It is inarguable that LKY wanted his house to be demolished

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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FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it”

IS 38 Oxley road just a private residence or something more? Many people, including the G, think there is more to the house than just the place where the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew lived.

But many of us, it seems, are late in realising the significance of the house. Last year a thesis paper written by a then-graduate student at Columbia University, Ms Cherie-Nicole Leo, looked into the importance of the house and what it means for Singapore. We found this thesis publicly available online and thought that it was worth summarising. Here are 10 things we learnt.
  • The house isn’t just about Mr Lee Kuan Yew. It’s about colonial history and the foundation of his party.
  • It’s also a key narrative in PM Lee’s upbringing and political career
  • Mr Lee Kuan Yew has publicly expressed hopes for the demolition since 2011
  • There are competing “values” in deciding whether to preserve the house
  • Taken at face value, LKY’s Will may seem incongruous with the principles that he himself espoused
  • But upon closer look, his Will – while personal in nature – might not have been self-serving, as it was aimed at serving the collective national interest
  • There are indications he may have been open to a “surrogate” memorial
  • The outcome of reconciling the competing values has been falsely framed as a demolish vs. preserve dichotomy
  • A possible outcome – and the most effective in reconciling competing values – is the middle way of redevelopment with some form of preservation
  • Such a compromise had been suggested before – reproduced here

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“When I’m Dead, Demolish It”: Contradictions and Compromises in Preserving Values at Lee Kuan Yew’s Oxley Road Home

Since the death of Singapore’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, on March 23, 2015, the fate of his house at 38 Oxley Road remains in question. In spite of its association to this seminal political leader and the fact that historic meetings that led to Singapore’s independence from British rule in 1959 were held in its basement dining room, heritage authorities and the Singaporean public are faced with a dilemma because Lee Kuan Yew had, on multiple occasions, expressed his wish to have the more-than-a-century-old colonial bungalow demolished after his passing and he had included this wish in his last will and testament.

This thesis uses the ongoing debate surrounding 38 Oxley Road as a case study. It aims to address how decision-makers in the heritage conservation field might more effectively negotiate the multiplicity of competing values ascribed to heritage sites in working toward a future common good. Through a discourse analysis, the thesis examines how a values-based approach to heritage conservation can serve as a basis for exploring more robust tools for decision-making through the adoption of a more future-looking, scenario-focused framework. In this way, heritage decision-makers are challenged to look beyond some of the field’s traditional paradigms, as reflective of the broad shift from more expert-driven materials-based approaches to more participatory and contextually aware values-based approaches. In line with a values-based approach that posits that the goal of heritage conservation is to preserve significance and not material for its own sake, this thesis shows how an assessment and prioritization of the broad range of values ascribed to a heritage site can expand the range of potential outcomes that may effectively transfer those values to future generations.

Acknowledging and understanding this spectrum of possible outcomes and evaluating their trade-offs can help to enhance the field’s capacity to creatively work out contradictions and reach compromises in its decisions. In doing so, heritage decision-makers can more effectively engage in dialogue with related planning and policy fields as they work toward shaping the collective future.

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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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RAIST ARITHON · SUNDAY, 25 JUNE 2017


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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The Oxley Property Dream

What would you do with S$24 million? Invest in a property in land scarce Singapore and built up wealth from this asset?

And if you own a house in District 9, Singapore’s most prestigious district, would you transform the land into a condominium project?

Amidst the hoo-ha regarding 38 Oxley Road, we take a look at it from the property value aspect and check out the market rate of property developments near it.

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38, Oxley Road: Demolish, develop or preserve?

If demolished and developed, 38, Oxley Road could transform into a swanky condominium with a trophy address - one its well-heeled residents could boast about.

But if it is kept, the residence of Singapore's 1st prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, will possess a value that goes beyond mere monetary concerns or the gratification of a select few, go other arguments.

The future of the 2-storey bungalow has been the subject of a very public feud among Mr Lee's three children over the last 2 weeks.

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The Lee family does not get to decide if LKY’s home can be demolished
LKY’S WILL VS SINGAPORE’S PRESERVATION LAWS

The family home on 38 Oxley Road is subjected to the Planning Act and the Preservation of Monuments Act, with the latter due to the fact that the building undeniably holds significant historical importance. The decision-making agencies are ultimately the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Urban Redevelopment Board (URA).

In this regard, even if LHL had wanted for the building to be demolished as he has asserted previously, the final decision lies in NHB and the URA. Under the Planning Act, building owners are required to seek the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) approval prior to carrying out works to demolish, redevelop or undertake additions and alterations to their properties.

Under the Preservation of Monuments Act, the National Heritage Board (NHB), under the purveyance of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), can make a preservation order to place any monument under the protection of the Board.

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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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Doubles down on LKY’s wishes for demolition

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

After PM’s hour long speech, Lee Hsien Yang has responded with another Facebook post.

Here is his statement: https://goo.gl/VRhwiC

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Singapore’s ambassador to the United States says no “national crisis” in response to article by New York Times

Mr Ashok Kumar Mipuri, Singapore’s ambassador to the United States has issued a rebuttal to an article that was published by the New York Times about the Lee family saga on 4 July 2017, stating that "there is no national crisis in Singapore."

The NYT article entitled, "Dispute Over Singapore Founder’s House Becomes a National Crisis" covered the allegations that Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had made against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in June and commented that the dispute over the fate of 38 Oxley Road has "shattered Singapore’s image as an orderly authoritarian ideal and hinted at deeper divisions about its political future."

Mr Mipuri's letter criticized the article for promoting the absurd notion that Singaporeans link the legitimacy of their government with the fate of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house. The NYT time had written that "just as it was difficult to separate Mr. Lee from the country he built, it is impossible to erase the politics from the house. Preserving it would provide a physical reminder not only of Mr. Lee, analysts said, but also of the current prime minister’s connection to him." and quoted Li Shengwu, Lee Hsien Yang’s son saying that the People's Action Party viewed the house as a symbol of their legacy and a symbol uniquely associated with them which gives the party legitimacy.


No 'national crisis' over 38 Oxley Road dispute: Ambassador to US rebuts NYT story

Your article “Family Dispute Over House of Singapore’s Founder Erupts as National Crisis” (news article, July 5) promotes the absurd notion that Singaporeans link the legitimacy of their government to the fate of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s house.

In response to accusations by his siblings of abuse of power over the house, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a full statement in Parliament. He explained how he had recused himself from all government decisions concerning the house, and also sold the house to his brother, so that he no longer has any interest or influence over the house.

No member of Parliament made any allegations of impropriety or wrongdoing against the prime minister during the debate, nor has anyone else produced specific evidence to back the siblings’ vague allegations. There is no national crisis in Singapore.


Dispute Over Singapore Founder’s House Becomes a National Crisis
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s residence, center, in Singapore. He did not want it to become a museum after his death. Credit Edgar Su/Reuters

And in a place where criticizing the government can land a blogger in jail, the public airing of these grievances from within the ranks of the revered founding family is nothing short of extraordinary.

“These are allegations of abuse of power, subversion of due process, cronyism and nepotism,” Kirsten Han, an activist and journalist, wrote in a popular blog. “If true, they upend Singapore’s carefully cultivated, squeaky-clean, corruption-free image.

“And, more important for the people of Singapore,” she continued, “they reveal that the ‘A Team,’ who have for decades presented themselves as the best option for the country, are actually using the power the electorate has bestowed upon them for their own personal goals.”


The Lees: Is there a ceasefire?
The ceasefire comes with the sting of even more jibes at Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Meanwhile, PM Lee has already replied to his siblings’ ceasefire offer: “I note my siblings’ latest public statement. I share their wish not to carry on the dispute in public and to manage the disagreement in private. That is exactly what I have been trying to do….My siblings wanted me to call off my Ministerial Statement and the debate in Parliament, disband the  Ministerial Committee, and not respond to their accusations. I could not agree to do any of that. It would have been improper and irresponsible.”

The younger Lee siblings’ latest decision not to present any more evidence on social media, nevertheless, came with very strong words about their brother: “Government agencies intervened in the middle of the night to find excuses for the Prime Minister and Ho Ching….LHL wears two faces. In public, he presents himself as an honourable son, seeking harmony in the family. In private, he uses his official powers and his subordinates to undermine Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes and attack those who speak up.”


This does not sound like a permanent ceasefire.

read more

38 Oxley Road Saga: A Ceasefire, But Just To Reload Ammunition
This probably won’t be the end, but perhaps Singaporeans can finally take a much-needed break from this exhausting saga

We think Singaporeans would rather just not think about this entire saga any more, and just sweep it under the rug.

But it’s unlikely the current impasse between the PM and his siblings will go away anytime soon.

The late Mr Lee was right when he said that this is “not a game of cards”. But without a proper independent trial, we can only watch as his descendants seemingly engage in one, at the expense of Singapore’s reputation.

read more




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