ESM Goh Chok Tong: Oxley house issue a ruse to bring PM Lee Hsien Loong down

The dispute over 38, Oxley Road is "a fig leaf for the deep cracks" in the Lee family, which perhaps started decades ago, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong told Parliament yesterday.

Mr Goh, who was Singapore's prime minister from 1990 to 2004, said he had full confidence in the integrity of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and asked his accusers what the motive was for their attack. "Are they whistle-blowing in a noble effort to save Singapore, or waging a personal vendetta without any care for the damage done to Singapore?

"I have kept my ears open. From what Lee Hsien Yang and his wife are freely telling many others, it is clear that their goal is to bring Lee Hsien Loong down as PM, regardless of the huge collateral damage suffered by the Government and Singaporeans," he said.

Speaking during the debate on allegations of abuse of power by PM Lee in relation to the Oxley Road house, Mr Goh reaffirmed his confidence in the integrity of PM Lee as well as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and other Cabinet ministers in the ministerial committee looking into options for the house.

Mr Goh said the dispute, which erupted into the public sphere on June 14 when Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling issued an online statement making many accusations against their brother, has been "blown out of proportion". But their allegations are given weight as they are PM Lee's siblings, he said.

"I have come to the conclusion that neither money nor the house is the real issue. The dispute over 38, Oxley Road is only a fig leaf for the deep cracks within the family, cracks which perhaps started decades ago. What then is the agenda of PM's accusers?" he said.


Parliament also heard yesterday how PM Lee had been given an ultimatum by his siblings on the eve of the 2015 General Election, saying they would go public with their dispute if he did not agree to their demands.

They set a deadline of Sept 1, which happened to be Nomination Day for the polls on Sept 11.

PM Lee told MPs, among other things, his siblings wanted him to undertake to help them get their father's 38, Oxley Road house knocked down. But, he added, he was not prepared to be intimidated on the eve of the polls, and told them so.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'ESM Goh: Oxley house issue a ruse to bring PM Lee down'. Print Edition | Subscribe