“The will is final and binding. We have no confidence in Lee Hsien Loong or his secret committee.” writes Lee Hsien Yang on his Facebook page in a recent post.
The post came with an image which shows different stances taken by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in public domain and allegedly in private quarters on the property at 38 Oxley Road, formerly owned by late founding minister, Lee Kuan Yew and father of the two Lees.
“When was he lying?” is captioned in the photo, implying that PM Lee was not consistent on his stance on the matters of the 38 Oxley Road.
This follows an earlier post by Dr Lee Weiling, sister of the two, who wrote that private family matters do not involve setting up secret committees of ministers to get one’s way, stating that there is no way that a committee was set up without PM Lee’s tacit consent and approval.
On the same day that Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang published harsh criticisms of PM Lee, saying that they are disturbed by his character, conduct, motives and leadership, it was made known that there was an internal committee formed to consider the options for 38 Oxley Road and the implications of those options. According to the two’s joint statement, this committee was formed no later than July 2016.
When asked who are the members of the Ministerial Committee, the Prime Minister’s Office said it would not be providing additional information.
Committee on 37 Oxley Road formed despite the settlement and Hsien Loong’s undertakings
In the six-page statement issued on Wednesday, it was said that PM Lee initiated a settlement with Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang in May 2015. The agreement was that the sale of the house will give the two the rights to demolish the property as according to the wishes of their father.
PM Lee insisted that Mr Lee Hsien Yang pay him full market value for the house and donate an additional half the value of the house to charity.
In exchange for this, the two asked for and obtained a joint public statement issued by all three children of Lee Kuan Yew in December 2015. The two had hoped that the Government would allow the demolition wish to be fulfilled and that all Singaporeans would support this cause. They also obtained an undertaking from PM Lee that he would recuse himself from all government decisions involving 38 Oxley Road and that, in his personal capacity, would like to see the wish honoured.
However, in July 2016, Minister Lawrence Wong wrote to inform the two that a Ministerial Committee had been set up to consider options with respect to 38 Oxley Road and their implications.
This directly contradicted PM Lee’s statement in Parliament in April 2015 that there was no need for the Government to take a decision in respect of 38 Oxley Road until Wei Ling no longer resided there, and that it would be up to the Government of the day to consider the matter.
The joint statement notes that PM Lee, despite his undertakings to recuse himself, proceeded to make extensive representations to the Committee. It further claims that as PM Lee’s political power is related to being Lee Kuan Yew’s son and thus he has every incentive to preserve Lee Kuan Yew’s house to inherit his credibility and that he also sits in a direct position of power over the Committee comprised of his subordinate ministers, thus wielding considerable influence for any outcome he desires