Running dispute over Oxley house

The exterior of 38 Oxley Road, home of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
The exterior of 38 Oxley Road, home of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.PHOTO: ST FILE

The dispute over 38 Oxley Road erupted in the public sphere in June 2017, 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.

The two siblings made other allegations against him, such as him using his position as prime minister to influence a ministerial committee looking into options for founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's house.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong responded by releasing a summary of his statutory declarations to the ministerial committee on 38 Oxley Road, in which he set out what he said were the "troubling circumstances" surrounding the preparation of the late Mr Lee's last will.

His siblings hit back via multiple Facebook postings.

PM Lee later refuted the charges of abuse of power in a two-day Parliament sitting in July 2017. He said there was no evidence to back up the claims, and that he and the Government had acted properly and with due process.

After the session, his siblings said in a statement that they would stop making further posts against PM Lee for the time being, 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".

 
 

In an October 2017 interview with CNBC, PM Lee said he was unsure if the dispute had been resolved, saying the matter was "in abeyance" - a state of temporary inactivity. He also said he had not communicated with his siblings recently.

In April last year, the ministerial committee laid out three broad options for the house, but left the final decision on it to a future government. The options ranged from preserving the house as a national monument to demolishing it and letting the owner redevelop it for residential use.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister Lee Wei Ling took issue with the report, saying it did not accurately represent their father's wishes.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline 'Running dispute over Oxley house'. Print Edition | Subscribe