Singapore

DPM Teo’s press secretary rebuts Lee Hsien Yang

Mr Lee Hsien Yang has presented a selective and inaccurate account of his exchanges with the ministerial committee tasked to consider options for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house at 38, Oxley Road, said Ms Lee May Lin, press secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Contrary to what the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has claimed, she added, the committee had made clear the scope of its work and who it reports to.

It also looked into the circumstances surrounding the late Mr Lee's will only after Mr Lee Hsien Yang asked the committee to refer to a clause in the will, she said.

Her statement followed Mr Lee Hsien Yang's Facebook post yesterday in which he hit out at the "mysterious" committee for being "neither transparent nor proper".

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, have, over the past few weeks, charged that the committee was set up in secret to do the bidding of their brother.

He said yesterday that they were stonewalled when they asked questions about the committee.

He also called the committee "an extra-judicial secret attack, aimed at undermining our father's last will and his unwavering wish".

Ms Lee refuted these claims, releasing two letters to show the committee had sought the two younger Lee siblings' views on their father's wishes and thinking in July 2016.

It had also made clear details to do with the committee's work in its initial letters to the siblings, including why it was formed, who it reports to, what it would look into, and why their input would be useful, she said.

She added that the committee, which was set up by DPM Teo, also told Mr Lee Hsien Yang clearly that it was listing various options for the house to present to Cabinet but was not going to make any recommendations.

It had also said the Government had no intention of making a decision on the house as long as Dr Lee is living there, and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had acknowledged this, she said.

Ms Lee also addressed Mr Lee Hsien Yang's claims about the committee's focus on the will, saying: "It was made clear to Mr LHY that the committee is not the place where decisions on the legal validity of the last will can be made, and this is a matter between him and Mr Lee Hsien Loong."

She added that the last will became relevant only because Mr Lee Hsien Yang had, in his submissions to the committee, relied on a part of the will as the primary evidence of his late father's wish for the house.

"(Mr Lee Hsien Yang) wanted the Committee to focus on one part of the clause relating to Mr Lee's wishes on the House, and not its other part," she said.

The first part expresses the late Mr Lee's wish to demolish the house, and the second part states that if the house cannot be demolished because of changes in laws or regulations, he wanted it closed to all except his children, their families and descendants.

When the circumstances related to the drafting of the last will were brought to the committee's attention, Mr Lee Hsien Yang's views on this were sought.

In the same vein, the committee had posed questions to PM Lee based on representations made by his siblings, Ms Lee said.

She said Mr Lee Hsien Yang was told from the outset that replying to the committee was voluntary, noting that he had proceeded to make various submissions from last year into this year. 

oxley roadTeo Chee HeanLee Hsien Yang