Mr Lee Hsien Yang has responded to the statement issued by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean about 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.
DPM Teo wrote,
“I set up a Ministerial Committee to consider the options for 38 Oxley Road and the implications of these options. This was explained in the statement by the Cabinet Secretary of 14 June 2017.
There is nothing “secret” about this committee. It is a committee like numerous other committees that Cabinet may set up from time to time to consider specific issues.
I chair this particular committee, and included cabinet members responsible for heritage, land issues and urban planning, i.e. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, Minister for Law K Shanmugam, and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.”
Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote that the information that was revealed by DPM Teo about the composition of the “secret” committee was what he and his sister, Dr Lee Weiling, have asked for repeatedly from the outset for almost a year and had been denied.
He wrote that it is clear that a committee of one’s subordinates, should not be sitting arbitrating an issue related to their boss. And pointed that is the reason why the committee is fundamentally flawed.
“As the subordinates of the PM, how can they possibly be in a position to deal in this private disagreement? This is the wrong forum.” wrote Mr Lee.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote that he and his sister had expressed specific concerns on the possible membership of 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.
He attached a screenshot of an email which shows Dr Lee writing to Minister K Shanmugam on the matter of 38 Oxley Road in July 2011.
“This represents a clear conflict of interest. When we raised this in writing, we were brushed off by Lawrence Wong with “Nothing you have stated precludes any member of the Cabinet from taking part in the Committee’s work or its deliberations, with the exception of the Prime Minister.” wrote Mr Lee
In the Joint Statement by the two siblings that was published on Wednesday, it was stated, “However, we were disappointed that despite the settlement and Hsien Loong’s undertakings, in July 2016, Minister Lawrence Wong wrote to inform us that a Ministerial Committee had been set up to consider options with respect to 38 Oxley Road and their implications. This also directly contradicted Hsien Loong’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.”
Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote that it is only because of DPM Teo’s statement that they are aware Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam is a member of the committee. “We found the refusal to identify the members of the committee, and to confirm Shanmugam’s recusal particularly troubling as he is an experienced Senior Counsel and Minister for Law who should well understand the problem of conflicts of interests. Only now do we find out that he is indeed a member of this Committee.”