Oxley Road: 8 quotes from PM Lee's speech in Parliament

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his Ministerial Statement in Parliament on July 3 on the "alleged abuse of power on 38 Oxley Road".
PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking in Parliament on July 3, addressing the Oxley Road dispute.
PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking in Parliament on July 3, addressing the Oxley Road dispute.SCREENGRAB: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - In Parliament on Monday (July 3), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed his siblings' accusations that he has abused his power.

He said that he will resolve privately the dispute with his brother Lee Hsien Yang and sister Lee Wei Ling, but responded to allegations that he had used his office as PM to advance personal interests.

Here are eight quotes from his ministerial statement:

1. PM expresses anguish at the strife

I know many Singaporeans are upset by this issue. They are tired of the subject, and wish it would end. I, too, am upset that things have reached this state.

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As your Prime Minister, I deeply regret that this has happened and apologise to Singaporeans for this. As a son, I am pained at the anguish this strife would have caused my parents if they were still alive.

2. Why is there still an argument?

There is no longer, in substance, anything for my siblings and me to dispute over on the matter of the house.

We all want our father's personal wish to be carried out, which is to demolish the house. I no longer have any interest in the house, my brother now owns it. I do not take part in any Government decisions on the house.

So why is there still an argument? I really am not sure, but one possible factor may be a difference in views between me and my siblings.

And the difference is over this question: what did my father think about the house, apart from demolition? Was his view black and white, all or nothing - demolish the house no matter what? Or was he prepared to consider alternatives should demolition not be possible?

 

3. Deciding to knock down the house without due process "real abuse of power"

Suppose instead that I had decided as PM to knock the house down, and had pushed that decision through without allowing the Government to consider the alternatives, weigh the considerations, and go through due process, just because it was what my father wanted. That would have been a real abuse of power.

4. Duty to stop any wrongdoing, even if it is family

It is nonsensical to say that because I saw the deed in my official capacity as PM, I could not raise the matter with a family member. If I come across anyone doing something wrong, even family, especially my family, it is my duty to put a stop to it and set them right.

5. Debunking the house's "magic properties"

Regarding the house, and how its continued existence enhances my aura as Prime Minister, if I need such magic properties to bolster my authority even after 13 years as your Prime Minister, I must be in a pretty sad state. And if Singaporeans believe that such magic can work, Singapore must be in an even sadder state.

6. Why he is not filing a defamation suit

In any other circumstance other than this, I would have sued immediately... But suing my own brother and sister in court would further besmirch my parent's names. At the end of the day, we are brothers and sister, and we are all our parents' children. It would also drag out the process for years, and cause more distress to Singaporeans.

7. The "house" that Mr Lee built

In Singapore, everyone is equal before the law. Mr Lee understood this most of all. When the dust has settled on this unhappy episode, people must know that the Government operates transparently, impartially, and properly. That in Singapore, even Mr Lee's house and Mr Lee's wishes are subject to the rule of law.

That the Government he built is able to withstand intense and sustained attacks on its reputation and integrity, and emerge not just untainted but in fact strengthened. This is the "house" that Mr Lee built, not 38, Oxley Road.

8. Hopes to resolve unhappiness within the family

When Mr Lee was asked what were the most important things to him in life, he said "my family and my country". It pains me that this episode has put both under a cloud, and done damage to Singapore. I hope one day I will be able to resolve the unhappiness within the family.

But today I stand here before you to answer your questions, clear any doubts, and show you that you have every reason to maintain your trust in me and my Government.

 

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