Oxley Road dispute: Ho Ching had no right to take late Lee Kuan Yew's items, says Lee Hsien Yang

Mr Lee Hsien Yang continued to accuse Ms Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, of interfering with his father's estate, on June 24, 2017. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Lee Hsien Yang has questioned again his sister-in-law's role in the loaning of items belonging to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew to the National Heritage Board, saying that she had no "license" to take the items.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (June 24), he continued to accuse Ms Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, of interfering with his father's estate.

His latest missive came after Ms Ho had on Friday given her account of how the items were found, how she discussed their significance with PM Lee and how she arranged for the donation to NHB, with the siblings kept updated.

He said in response to this: "The executors of LKY's (Lee Kuan Yew's) estate never authorised Ho Ching to remove the items she admits to removing. Informing the executors after the fact does not give her the right to intermeddle."

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling are joint executors and trustees of their late father's estate.

Ms Ho had been dragged into the dispute between the two siblings and PM Lee over their family home at 38 Oxley Road, after Mr Lee Hsien Yang accused her in a Facebook post of removing their father's items from the house on Feb 6, 2015, while he was gravely ill.

But Ms Ho was not in Singapore at that time.

She explained in a comment left on Mr Lee Hsien Yang's Facebook page that she had come across the late Mr Lee's documents in April 2015, after his death in March, while tidying the house and organising items.

She said during this time, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife Lee Suet Fern had gone for a break abroad after the funeral.

When she told PM Lee about the items, he immediately recognised their significance and picked out some that he thought would be useful to lend to the NHB for the exhibition on the late Mr Lee's life

Ms Ho said she arranged to lend the four items to NHB through the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), emphasising that the items belonged to the estate and must be returned.

In his latest comments on the matter, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said: "We again note that the estate's residual items fall under the executors of our father's estate...not the beneficiaries or the PMO."

He also said that neither Ms Ho nor PM Lee were named executors in "any of the seven drafts" of the late Mr Lee's will.

He added: "Ho Ching somehow believes that acting on behalf of the "PMO" gives her license to take LKY's personal belongings and interfere with the estate....Moreover, the personal items do not belong to the PMO and are not theirs to loan. This oversteps the legal rights of the PMO."

He also questioned how she could "act on behalf of PMO, despite having no official position in PMO".

The items, included: A telegram sent by Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1958; a letter from J Laycock, founder of law firm Laycock and Ong, where Mr Lee had worked as a young lawyer; a memo from the director of posts dating to the 1950s; and a document from Cambridge University Reporter, a journal of the university's official business.

These were displayed at the In Memoriam: Lee Kuan Yew exhibition held at the National Museum of Singapore.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang said he and Dr Lee do not object in principle to the lending of their father's personal items to the NHB and had given away many of their late father's belongings to the NHB.

But he added that it was "a gift that the NHB tried to return after 'someone senior' ordered them to unwind the gift", referring to what he alleged was an attempt by the NHB not to proceed with a component of a Lee Kuan Yew exhibition.

Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong, who was in charge of the Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth when the exhibition was held, said in a statement on Friday that Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee had imposed "several unusual conditions" for the use of the items in the exhibition.

He said this included a request to prominently display the first part of a demolition clause from Mr Lee's will, but to leave out the second part.

But Mr Wong said his ministry eventually decided not to pursue the matter and to let NHB proceed with the exhibition, which opened in September 2015 and has been extended until now.

PM Lee had said Friday in a Facebook post: "The loan was openly done, and for a good cause - an exhibition remembering my father soon after he died."

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