Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted Oxley Road home demolished as stated in will; children ask public to respect wishes

SINGAPORE - First prime minister Lee Kuan Yew had asked for his house to be demolished after his death, and the executors of his will on Sunday asked Singaporeans to respect this wish.

Mr Lee died on March 23, aged 91.

Mr Lee’s only daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, and younger son, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, said in a statement that their father had made this wish public.

Their parents also expressed the same wish regarding the family home to their children in private on numerous occasions, the siblings added.

“Our father has given his life in service to the people of Singapore,” they said. “We hope that the people of Singapore will honour and respect his stated wish in his last will and testament.”

Both siblings said Mr Lee had appointed them as executors and trustees of his last will, dated Dec 17, 2013. The statement comes amid calls to turn Mr Lee’s home for over six decades into a museum or a heritage site.

The Straits Times understands that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will speak on the subject of his father’s wishes regarding the house at 38, Oxley Road, in Parliament on Monday afternoon.

In their statement, his siblings thanked Singaporeans for sharing in their grief and said they were touched by the outpouring of affection and respect for him.

They noted that in his will, Mr Lee Kuan Yew spelt out his wish, and that of his wife Kwa Geok Choo, who died in 2010, that the house “be demolished immediately after my death or if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House”.

“I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the House be carried out,” he added.

The statement cited Mr Lee as saying in his will: “My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged.”

It added that Mr Lee was well aware of calls to preserve his home, but his wish “was unwavering, and was for the house to be torn down upon his passing”.

Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang said their father was also concerned that an order might be issued against his wishes, and had added in his will: “If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants.”

They said they had a duty as executors and trustees of the will, and a moral obligation as children, to ensure his will “is administered strictly as stated”.

PAP MP Alex Yam said Mr Lee’s wishes and those of his family should be respected, adding: “His legacy lies beyond the confines of 38, Oxley Road.”

"We find it in the streets of a peaceful, stable and united Singapore. His memory will be better served in our collective efforts to carry Singapore forward to the next 50 years".