Singapore

'Unusual' conditions set for gift of house items: Lawrence Wong

In Parliament yesterday, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who was at the time Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, clarified why there were issues over the donation of items from 38, Oxley Road, in 2015 for an exhibition on Singapore's founding fathers by the National Heritage Board (NHB).

Mr Wong told the House the artefacts were gifted to the NHB by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, the executors of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's will, with "unusual" conditions:

  • NHB had to display the first part of the demolition clause in the will, which sets out Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wish to demolish the Oxley Road house, but not the second part which sets out his wish should the property not be demolished; and
  • The right to buy back the items at $1 so long as the house was not demolished.

Mr Wong also revealed that Mrs Lee Suet Fern, Mr Lee Hsien Yang's wife, who was a director on NHB's board at the time, was also involved in the discussions between NHB and the executors of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's estate.

He added that Mrs Lee supported the conditions, and her law firm Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC helped in the process of finalising the deed.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, a beneficiary of the estate, had been informed about the exhibition and donation in his official capacity and he told Mr Wong his consent had not been sought for the donation of items. He also felt the conditions set were onerous.

Lawrence Wongoxley roadSingapore