SINGAPORE - Law Minister K. Shanmugam has hit back at Mr Lee Hsien Yang's suggestion that his inclusion in a ministerial committee considering options for 38 Oxley Road is a conflict of interest, calling the notion "ridiculous".
He was responding on Facebook to Mr Lee, who had expressed concerns about Mr Shanmugam's involvement in an earlier post on Saturday (June 17).
Mr Lee Hsien Yang noted that Mr Shanmugam had advised his family on options to help achieve Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wishes and the drafting of a clause in which the late Mr Lee stated that he wanted the house demolished after his death.
Mr Shanmugam being on the ministerial committee "represents a clear conflict of interest", Mr Lee wrote.
In response, Mr Shanmugam said he is "well aware" of the rules of conflict, having been in practice for more than 22 years.
"The suggestion that I am in conflict is ridiculous. If Mr Lee Hsien Yang seriously believes that I was in conflict, he can get a lawyer to write to me and I will respond," he added.
Mr Shanmugam said he was already a Cabinet minister when he spoke to some members of the Lee family - at their request - and gave them his views.
"They were not my clients. Nothing that I said then precludes me from serving in this committee," he said.
There are, he added, dozens of Cabinet committees on a variety of matters - some temporary, others permanent.
Their composition is not public, and they report to the Cabinet.
Mr Shanmugam added: "I am sure most Singaporeans are sick and tired about these endless allegations, which are quite baseless.
"The government has serious business to attend to relating to the welfare of Singaporeans."