Singapore

Lee Hsien Yang: What did I stand to gain?

Mr Lee Hsien Yang yesterday asked rhetorically what he stood to gain in supposedly deceiving his father, Singapore's first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, over the latter's will.

He was responding to the findings by a disciplinary tribunal set up to examine the role played by his wife, lawyer Lee Suet Fern, over the will.

The tribunal found last week that the couple had misled the elder Mr Lee into hurriedly signing his will while he was frail and in ill health, and before he could be properly advised on it.

It also found that Mr Lee Hsien Yang had cut his father's usual lawyer, Ms Kwa Kim Li, out of communications on the last will.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said: "What in the world did I stand to gain out of my supposed elaborate deception?"

He added that no one had complained about the signing of the will before his father died.

He also pointed out that the will had later been officially proven in court through the probate process after Mr Lee Kuan Yew died in 2015, on the urging of his elder brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and PM Lee's then personal lawyer Lucien Wong, who is now the attorney-general.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew's last will differed from the one before it, and from some changes he had wanted and discussed with Ms Kwa four days earlier.

Among the differences is that the last will contained a demolition clause - relating to the demolition of his 38 Oxley Road house after his death - which had been drafted in previous versions of the will but subsequently deleted in the later versions including the penultimate one.

GAZETTED

Referring to this, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said PM Lee had led him, their sister Dr Lee Wei Ling, and their father to believe that the house had been gazetted and therefore could not be demolished.

But in 2013, the elder Mr Lee "came to a view" that the house would be "degazetted" and therefore discussed this with Ms Kwa, he added.

"If it were degazetted, his unwavering wish for the house to be demolished might be realisable. This wish, as everyone knows, mattered greatly to him and my mother," he said.

The tribunal found that Mrs Lee had misled her father-in-law on the terms of the last will, among other things.

She told him that the draft last will was the same as the first will he executed in 2011, which was untrue.

Neither did she advise him on the differences between the draft last will and the penultimate will, the tribunal said.

The last will also differed in the share of the estate bequeathed to each of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's children.

In his sixth and penultimate will, Dr Lee was to have a larger share of his estate, but in the last will, all his three children got equal shares.

On this point, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said the undisputed evidence provided to the tribunal showed that their father had come to the decision to revert to equal shares after discussions with Ms Kwa.

This rebuts the accusations that he and his wife were behind the move, he added.

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