PM Lee not sure if dispute with siblings has been resolved

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his younger siblings are involved in a dispute over their late father's house at 38, Oxley Road.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his younger siblings are involved in a dispute over their late father's house at 38, Oxley Road.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is unsure if the dispute with his younger siblings over their late father's house at 38, Oxley Road, has been resolved, saying the matter is "in abeyance" - a state of temporary inactivity.

He also said he has not communicated recently with Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, when asked about the matter in a CNBC interview released yesterday.

The family feud had erupted into the public sphere on June 14, when the younger Lee siblings posted a statement on Facebook to say they had lost confidence in their older brother's leadership and feared the use of organs of state against them.

They also made other allegations against him, such as that he used his position as prime minister to influence a ministerial committee looking into options for founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's house.

PM Lee refuted the charges of abuse of power in a two-day Parliament sitting in July.

He said there was no evidence to back up the claims, and that he and the Government had acted properly and with due process.

In a statement issued after the sitting, his siblings said they would stop making further posts against PM Lee for now, provided their wish, and their father's desire, to demolish the Oxley Road house "are not attacked or misrepresented".

They also said they welcomed PM Lee's desire to settle their quarrel in private, and looked forward "to talking without the involvement of lawyers or government agencies".

Asked about relations with his siblings and whether he hopes to reconcile with them, PM Lee told CNBC: "I think they are where they are. Perhaps one day when emotions have subsided, some movement will be possible. These things take time."

As to whether he is sad about the way things have turned out, he said: "Yes, of course."

The interview prompted a response from Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee, who said on Facebook: "Our brother says he is unsure that the feud is solved. Notwithstanding his public statements, Hsien Loong has made no attempt to reach out to us to resolve matters in private."

They also brought up a contempt of court case involving Mr Lee Hsien Yang's son, Mr Li Shengwu, saying the Attorney-General is "busy prosecuting" him for his "private correspondence".

They added that the letters the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) sent to Mr Li had made repeated reference to the family feud.

The High Court had, in August, approved the AGC's application to continue with proceedings against Mr Li over a Facebook post in which he said Singapore "has a pliant court system".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'PM Lee not sure if dispute with siblings has been resolved'. Print Edition | Subscribe