Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee We Ling have claimed that the ministerial committee set up to “explore” options into the use of 38 Oxley Road was a “secret inquisition” that was initiated by Big Bro PM Lee Hsien Loong to block the demolition of the house as Lee Kuan Yew had wished.
In a statement today, they said:
“In December 2015, the estate of Lee Kuan Yew reached a settlement agreement with Lee Hsien Loong. In this settlement agreement, Lee Hsien Loong confirmed Lee Kuan Yew’s final will, and specifically endorsed the demolition clause in the final will. Lee Hsien Loong also promised to recuse himself from all government decisions on the house. All three children of Lee Kuan Yew made a joint public statement proclaiming the demolition wish. By entering into this settlement agreement, Hsien Loong accepted Lee Kuan Yew’s final will as conclusive and legally binding.
We believed this was a good conclusion, and were surprised in 2016, when we were informed by Lawrence Wong that the Singapore Cabinet convened a committee to study Lee Kuan Yew’s thinking on his house. Disregarding his contractual and publicly announced ‘recusal’, Lee Hsien Loong made extensive submissions to this committee.
It rapidly became clear that the Ministerial Committee was just a way for Lee Hsien Loong to secretly attack Clause 7 of our father’s will. In doing so, he tried to undermine our father’s wish to demolish the house, as well as Wei Ling’s unfettered right to stay in the house.”
The Lee siblings also claim that the ministerial committee had been shady in their dealing with them despite them legally being executors of LKY’s estate:
“We were no more than responding to Lee Hsien Loong’s attacks on us and on our father’s last will, that were parroted by the Committee. We never expected any exemptions or preferential treatment. The committee approached us, and not the other way around. We responded to the committee’s queries, in accordance with our duties as executors of Lee Kuan Yew’s estate.
There are claims that we objected to the committee because its questions were “inconvenient”.
The siblings said that they had answered the committee’s ‘inconvenient’ questions in detail, several times, only to have it ignore the answers and keep parroting Lee Hsien Loong.
They have accused the committee of hiding its members from them in the past, and only revealing this detail once their allegations against PM Lee were made public.
“Our objection was not that the committee’s questions were inconvenient, but that they were deeply improper. When a secret committee of ministers tries to ‘re-examine’ or ‘go beyond’ a legally-binding will, that disregards the rule of law and the separation of powers.”
There are claims now that the committee’s purposes were entirely innocent. If this was truly so, why was the committee so secretive? For almost a year, we asked simple questions about the identity of the committee members, the options under consideration, and its final deliverables.
These were not answered. As owners of the property and executors of Lee Kuan Yew’s estate, we had a right to know these basic facts. If the committee’s purposes were as innocent as it claims, it would have answered our questions promptly and transparently.”
They have also invited the committee to release a full correspondence from both sides if it feels it has been maligned.
“The assertion now is that the committee had a broad-ranging mission to ‘examine options’ for 38 Oxley Road, and that it discussed the options with us. This conflates the committee’s work with conversations we had long before the committee was formed, in which options were discussed with us only in a “personal capacity”. The committee’s correspondence with us focused almost entirely on Lee Hsien Loong’s attacks on Lee Kuan Yew’s will. (If the committee disagrees with our characterisation, we welcome it to release the full and unredacted correspondence from both sides.) If the committee had instead genuinely engaged on options, we would have gladly offered our input.”
The Lee siblings claim that together with the ministerial committee, PM Lee used other “organs of the state” against them, and is now trying to “paper over” his alleged abuse of power.
This, they say, includes the Attorney-General’s chambers.
PM Lee’s personal lawyer, Lucien Wong, is the current AG, and his PAP cadre Hri Kumar Nair has recently been made Deputy AG.
“Lee Hsien Loong’s attacks escalated in 2017, when he made his accusations by way of statutory declarations. It became clear, as the Committee pushed us for statutory declarations and involved the Attorney-General’s Chambers, that this was a secret inquisition, a way for Lee Hsien Loong to side-step the court ruling on our father’s will. Because of his relentless attacks through the Committee, and behind closed doors, we were pushed to take this public.”
Read more on Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee’s joint statement issued today:
Lee Siblings: We have Much More Evidence to Show to an Independent Investigation
Lee Siblings Claim Parliament and State Media were Biased and Out to Fix Them
So Much Bad Blood Lee Hsien Loong Invited All Relatives to CNY Reunion Dinner but Us, Say Lee Siblings