In response to the report published by the Ministerial Committee on Tuesday (3 April), both siblings of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to Facebook to voice their views on the matter.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang in his Facebook post, stressed that their father, late Lee Kuan Yew, wanted the house to be demolished.
“He wanted demolition unwaveringly, and stated his wish repeatedly in private and in public. He wanted a demolition, not only out of the desire for privacy, but because he believe that it would be better for Singapore’s future. He did not want his home made into a shrine. His legacy is Singapore itself and not his old house,” he wrote.
Mr Lee noted that before his father’s death, PM Lee insisted that the gazetting of 38 Oxley Road was inevitable. Reminiscing that by that time, his father wrote to all his children in an email dated 3 October 2011, saying, “Loong as PM has indicated that he will declare it a heritage site.”
Mr Lee then added that in light of this false impression given by the PM, his father was forced to consider options other than demolition.124
He then recalled a letter sent by his father to Cabinet on 3 December 2011, which said, “If 38 Oxley Road is to be preserved, it needs to have its foundations reinforced and the whole building refurbished. It must then be let out for the people to live in.”
Mr Lee then said that his father went along with the renovation plans submitted by Ho Ching to the Urban Redevelopment Authority in March 2012 only because he believed the government already intended to thwart his hopes.
“Discussions on redevelopment have never been on our agenda. Wee seek only to fulfill our father’s last wish. He reiterated and affirmed his wish for demolition in his last will of December 2013,” he wrote.
Mr Lee then noted that his father’s last will and testament only included the two siblings as the executors and trustees of the estate.
The will wrote, “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 of regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others expect my children, their families, and descendants.”
Mr Lee then stressed that the Committee’s claim which said that the statements are evidence that Mr Lee Kuan Yew was prepared to accept other options than demolition is a total misleading.
“In context, it is clear that our father was not endorsing alternatives to demolition, but was forced to consider them because of Loong’s and Chong’s insistence that the government would not respect our father’s dying wish, ” Mr Lee stressed.
As for Dr Lee Weiling, she also wrote a post on her Facebook page.
She wrote, “Papa was as direct as me. He made absolutely clear what he wanted done with the house. He and Mama had long decided they wanted it demolished after they were gone.”
“It would require unbelievable lack of intelligence or determined denial to not understand what Pa and Ma so unambiguously wanted. It seems to me my big brother & his committee have achieved that distinction with amazing ease,” she added.
Following the comments made by the two sibilings, the Ministerial Committee of 38 Oxley Road noted that Mr Lee and Dr Lee’s comments will be lodged with the Cabinet Secretary for a future government’s reference.
“Both Mr LHY and Dr LWL’s earlier statements, as well as their response dated Apr 3, 2018, will be lodged with the Cabinet Secretary, together with this statement, so that these too can be referred to by a future government,” the ministerial committee said in a statement.