Oxley Road: PM Lee and siblings agree to resolve differences in private

The house of Singapore's late prime minister Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road in Singapore.
The house of Singapore's late prime minister Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road in Singapore. PHOTO: AFP

The possibility of reconciliation between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings emerged yesterday, with both sides agreeing to try and iron out their differences in private.

Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang issued a statement saying they welcomed PM Lee's desire, expressed in Parliament on Tuesday, to manage the quarrel outside the public arena.

In the seven-page statement, they offered a truce, saying they would cease making further accusations against PM Lee on social media "provided that we and our father's wish are not attacked or misrepresented".

Responding in a statement last night, PM Lee said he shares his younger siblings' wish not to carry on their dispute in public.

"That is exactly what I have been trying to do," he said.

The public feud between the three children of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew started on June 14, when Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang issued a statement on Facebook accusing PM Lee of blocking their father's wish to demolish his 38, Oxley Road home, so that PM Lee could gain political capital from it.

 

They also charged that PM Lee had abused his power by hijacking organs of state and forming a ministerial committee to preserve the house.

Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang are joint executors and trustees of the estate of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who died on March 23, 2015, at the age of 91.

PM Lee had denied and refuted their allegations in a Ministerial Statement during a two-day Parliament sitting this week.

No MPs had produced additional charges or substantiated the claims made by his siblings, PM Lee noted, saying this showed he and his Government had acted properly and with due process.

He also told the House that it was unrealistic to hope the matter, which had affected the country's reputation, would be put to rest.

But he said he hoped to reconcile with his siblings one day.

Yesterday, Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang also provided a 10-page summary of allegations they had made against PM Lee, saying there is "evidence we have yet to show", some of which is "too complex" to be presented online. "We reserve this to show to a truly open and independent investigation, if there ever is one," they said .

PM Lee noted that his siblings had repeated their previous allegations against him, adding: "I have already refuted these and stand by what I have said."

His siblings also claimed yesterday that their attempts at reconciliation, after their initial statement on June 14, were rebuffed.

On this ceasefire offer, PM Lee said: "They wanted me to call off my Ministerial Statement and the debate in Parliament, disband the ministerial committee and not respond to their accusations. I could not agree to do any of that. It would have been improper and irresponsible."

In a separate statement, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the remarks by Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang on managing the disagreement in private were a "positive development".

"With this development, I hope that we can all work together and focus our energy on taking Singapore forward."

As for their allegations against the ministerial committee and public agencies and officers, DPM Teo said: "The Government has already responded comprehensively to all of them in Parliament."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2017, with the headline 'PM Lee and siblings agree to resolve differences in private'. Print Edition | Subscribe