38, OXLEY ROAD DEBATE

DPM Teo hopes for Lees to resolve issues

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mr Teo Chee Hean at a Business China dinner celebrating Mr Lee Kuan Yew's 90th birthday. The younger Mr Lee represented his father at the dinner.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mr Teo Chee Hean at a Business China dinner celebrating Mr Lee Kuan Yew's 90th birthday. The younger Mr Lee represented his father at the dinner.ST FILE PHOTO

Minister, who has known Lee siblings for many years, offers them conciliatory words

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday had conciliatory words for the younger Lee siblings, who had over the weeks levelled attacks against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Government.

Drawing on his personal relationships with Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, Mr Teo expressed his hope that the family will find it in themselves to resolve their disagreements.

Mr Teo said he has known both brothers for more than four decades, serving for some of those years as colleagues and comrades in the Singapore Armed Forces.

They have contributed much to Singapore, and he holds them both in high regard.

"It is with deep sadness that the Hsien Yang I see now is not the Hsien Yang I knew. I see hurt and his strong emotions consuming him. I do not understand what underlying deep-rooted reasons there may be for this," said Mr Teo.

"But for Hsien Yang, I hope these strong emotions I see now in his heart will dampen over time, and that he will find peace and solace within himself. He has more to contribute to Singapore if he chooses to do so. I wish Hsien Yang and his family well, as I always have."

As for Dr Lee, whom he has known for many years too, Mr Teo noted that she must have had a difficult time these past few years, looking after her parents when they were unwell, and losing both while facing her own health challenges.

WISHES FOR THE FUTURE

For Hsien Yang, I hope that these strong emotions that I see now in his heart will dampen over time, and that he will find peace and solace within himself. He has more to contribute to Singapore if he chooses to do so. I wish Hsien Yang and his family well, as I always have... For Wei Ling, the Government has said that it will not do anything to affect her right to continue living at No. 38, Oxley Road. I wish her happiness, time to do the things which she enjoys with her friends, now that she has the time, and above all, good health and a long life.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TEO CHEE HEAN

"For Wei Ling, the Government has said that it will not do anything to affect her right to continue living at No. 38, Oxley Road," he said. "I wish her happiness, time to do the things which she enjoys with her friends, now that she has the time, and above all, good health and a long life."

He hoped the siblings can resolve their private disagreements within the family, "with the passage of time, and the cooling of emotions".

"Singaporeans, too, can give the space to Prime Minister Lee and his siblings to work through their disagreements," he added.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat also shared his thoughts on the children of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The former principal private secretary to Mr Lee noted that all three had made their contributions to Singapore: PM Lee, with a lifetime of public service; Mr Lee Hsien Yang at the SAF and at Singtel, where he was chief executive officer; and Dr Lee as a passionate paediatric neurologist.

Dr Lee, he noted, built up the National Neuroscience Institute well when she was heading it.

"I appreciate Dr Lee's care and concern for me when I was hospitalised last year," said Mr Heng, who had suffered a stroke, adding that she visited him and advised him on his condition.

"All of us - the children of Mr and Mrs Lee, as well as fellow Singaporeans - share one goal, which is to honour the legacy of Mr and Mrs Lee."

Mr Heng noted a Facebook post by Mr Lee Hsien Yang, in which he stated that his hope was to ensure his father's wishes were honoured.

" I believe I speak for all members in this House and many Singaporeans when I say we all hope to do the same, to honour Mr Lee's wishes, and furthermore to honour his legacy and the ideals and principles of our founding leaders," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'DPM Teo hopes for Lees to resolve issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe