No one is above law of the land

It is important not to see spirits and ghosts where there are none, especially in a fractious dispute such as the ongoing one between the Lee siblings (Three key issues in the Lee v Lee saga; June 21).

Thanks to Mr Lee Kuan Yew's obsession with succession planning, Singapore has already moved into the post-LKY era for some years as our society evolves.

This is clear in the loosening of our political climate over the last couple of decades, and most poignant in the removal of the demolition clause in versions five and six of Mr Lee's will for 38, Oxley Road.

The deletion showed that while Mr Lee might have been unwavering in his desire to see his home demolished, he was also mindful that the government of the day has the final say on its preservation, and that no one, including him, is above the law of this land.

How the demolition clause found its way back into the final will is for the lawyers to investigate, should the disputants wish to take the matter to court. But it is absolutely immaterial in the broader scheme of the Government's right to decide the fate of the property.

Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang can limit the damage to their stature, their father's legacy, and Singapore's reputation by refraining from posing irrelevant questions to their brother and our Prime Minister.

Unlike them, Mr Lee Hsien Loong has to perform the roles of both the dutiful son and the leader of this country.

PM Lee's sentiments about the demolition of the Lee family home as a scion ought to differ from how he performs his duties as our Prime Minister on the matter.

We, the citizens of Singapore, expect no less from him.

The house at 38, Oxley Road is undoubtedly an important monument of Singapore's political history; otherwise the family dispute over its conservation would not have grabbed so much attention across the country and in the international media

The Government is right to treat the estate as an extraordinary piece of local heritage and to form a ministerial committee to explore various options for its future.

Singapore is and must always be bigger than the Lee family.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'No one is above law of the land'. Print Edition | Subscribe