PM questions veracity of LKY's Last Will
He raises two key concerns as he responds to siblings' claims in dispute over Oxley Road home
Did former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew initiate a change in his last will that specified that his Oxley Road home is to be demolished upon his death?
And what role did his son, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, and his wife, Mrs Lee Suet Fern, play in making that change - a change that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was not aware of until the will was read to the family after the late Mr Lee's death in March 2015?
These were the two key concerns that PM Lee raised yesterday in his first detailed response in a dispute with his brother Lee Hsien Yang and sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, over what will happen to the Oxley Road bungalow.
The dispute started on Wednesday after Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang issued a statement alleging that their brother had misused his power in handling matters related to their late father's house.
They claimed that PM Lee and his wife, Madam Ho Ching, wanted to preserve the house for their own political gain, when the late Mr Lee had stated in his last will that the house be demolished.
In a Facebook post last night, PM Lee said he had hoped to deal with the matter after he returned from leave this weekend, but had to act sooner because his siblings "have continued to give interviews and make allegations against me".
He added: "This makes it untenable for me not to respond publicly to the allegations and to explain why I have serious questions about how my father's Last Will was prepared."
He released a 41-point document - an edited summary of the statutory declaration he made to a ministerial committee tasked to study the Oxley Road house issue - detailing the events that caused him to have serious concerns over how the late Mr Lee's last will was changed.
PM Lee said his father had made six wills that he knew of initially. While the demolition clause for the Oxley Road house was included in the first will, made on Aug 20, 2011, the late Mr Lee had the clause removed in the fifth and sixth versions of the will.
But the clause somehow reappeared in the late Mr Lee's last will, which was dated Dec 17, 2013.
PM Lee said: "The Demolition Clause in the last will is now being used by Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang to claim that Mr Lee was firm in his wish that the house at 38, Oxley Road be demolished, and that he was not prepared to accept its preservation or contemplate options short of demolition.
"There is no basis for these claims, not least because of the deeply troubling circumstances concerning the making of the last will."
PM Lee said a day before the last will was made, Mrs Lee Suet Fern sent his father an e-mail about making a change to his will. PM Lee said the impression the e-mail gave was that the amendment had to do with giving each of the three siblings equal share in his father's estate. In the previous will, Dr Lee had been given an extra share of the estate relative to her brothers.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang then followed up with another e-mail to his father, saying that he could not contact the lawyer who drafted his previous six wills, and suggested getting lawyers from his wife's firm to help him execute the will.
The next day, lawyers from Mrs Lee Suet Fern's firm, Stamford Law Corporation (now Morgan Lewis Stamford), visited Mr Lee Kuan Yew at Oxley Road to get his signature on the last will and left the property within 15 minutes. PM Lee noted that he was not aware of e-mails leading up to this change until much later.
He said: "I am not aware of any facts which suggest that Mr Lee was informed or advised... (by Mrs Lee Suet Fern's colleagues or any other lawyer)... about all the changes that were made when he signed the Last Will, or that Mr Lee was properly advised about the contents of the Last Will.
"In fact, there is no evidence that Mr Lee even knew that the Demolition Clause had been re-inserted into the Last Will."
He also questioned the motives of Mrs Lee Suet Fern and his brother for their roles in getting their father's will changed.
"My concerns are heightened by what appears to be a conflict of interest: (Mrs Lee Suet Fern) was involved in the preparation and/or signing of the Last Will, while her husband...was a beneficiary under the Last Will and stood to gain by the removal of (Dr Lee's) extra share in the Estate under the Last Will."