Lee Hsien Yang might own 38 Oxley Road, but he won’t have the final say on what happens to it if the government decides to acquire the house.
Instead, the fate of the late Lee Kuan Yew’s home will rest on the shoulders of the National Development Minister – currently Lawrence Wong.
The committee tasked with looking into options for 38 Oxley Road has come up with 5 options for the house.
One of those options is for the government to preserve the property as a national monument, which would see the state legally acquiring the house.
38 Oxley Road was willed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, but he transferred ownership of the house to his brother Lee Hsien Yang at market value in 2015, with both brothers each donating half the value of the house to charity.
Under the Planning Act, an owner has the right to appeal against a decision to conserve the property, but the final decision rests with the National Development Minister.
Other possibilities explored by the 38 Oxley Road committee, led by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, include preserving the dining room of the house, or demolishing it for redevelopment or the building of a memorial park.
The committee released its 21-page report today, but no immediate decision on the property is needed at this time the late LKY’s daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, is still living in the 2-storey bungalow.
However, the committee said that the various options outlined in the report are “drawer plans to help a future Government make an informed and considered decision about the property when it becomes necessary.”
The committee said that the late LKY preferred that 38 Oxley Road be demolished, but he was prepared to accept options other than demolition”, provided that arrangements were made to ensure that the house was kept in a habitable state, and the family’s privacy was protected.
In his last will drafted in December 2013, the late LKY set out his wish for the property to be “demolished immediately after (his) death” or after Dr Lee moves out.
However, the same clause also states that if his children are unable to demolish the property “as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them”, it should not be open to public.
Dr Lee and Lee Hsien Yang however insists that their father’s express wish was for 38 Oxley Road to be torn down.
The Lee siblings accuse their elder brother, PM Lee, of dishonouring their father’s wishes, and using the “organs of the state” to “threaten” them.