SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed his disappointment and sadness over a statement issued by his siblings "publicising private family matters".
"I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate allegations that they have made. Ho Ching and I deny these allegations, especially the absurd claim that I have political ambitions for my son," said Mr Lee, in response to a six-page public statement issued by his siblings on Wednesday (June 14).
Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had said in their statement that they had lost confidence in their brother, PM Lee.
Titled "What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew's values?", their statement centres around the long-running dispute over the demolition of their father's house at 38 Oxley Road.
In response, PM Lee said: "While siblings may have differences, I believe that any such differences should stay in the family. Since my father's passing in March 2015, as the eldest son I have tried my best to resolve the issues among us within the family, out of respect for our parents."
He said his siblings' statement "has hurt our father's legacy".
In their statement, which they publicised on their Facebook pages around 2am, the two siblings said they felt closely monitored and fear the use of organs of state against them and Mr Lee Hsien Yang's wife, Suet Fern.
DPM Teo on Oxley Road dispute
Asked about the dispute over the late Mr Lee's Oxley Road home, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told reporters at an iftar, or breaking of fast, on Wednesday (June 14): "Well, I feel very sad about what has happened. I know Hsien Yang very well, and PM must be going through a terrible time.
"There are so many issues and problems and challenges that we are facing now as a country, we need to focus and work on them.
"PM has my full support, as he needs us to tackle these important problems that we have."
They also said the situation is such that Mr Lee Hsien Yang felt compelled to leave Singapore "for the foreseeable future".
The two siblings allege, among others, that since their father Lee Kuan Yew's death on March 23, 2015, there have been changes in Singapore that do not reflect what the late Mr Lee stood for.
The two siblings are joint executors and trustees of the estate of the late Mr Lee.
In their statement, they reiterated their father's wish that the house be demolished upon his passing, and said PM Lee and his wife Ho Ching had opposed this wish as "the preservation of the house would enhance his political capital".
The two siblings alleged that preserving the house would allow their brother "and his family to inherit a tangible monument to Lee Kuan Yew's authority".
The two siblings also alleged that "based on our interactions", PM Lee and his wife harbour political ambitions for their son, Hongyi.
PM Lee called this an "absurd claim" and denied that he had any such ambitions for his son.
He added: "I will do my utmost to continue to do right by my parents. At the same time, I will continue serving Singaporeans honestly and to the best of my ability. In particular that means upholding meritocracy, which is a fundamental value of our society."
The statement from the siblings came 1½ years after Dr Lee, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, and PM Lee issued a joint statement in December 2015 saying the brothers had each agreed to donate half the value of 38 Oxley Road to charities named in their father's obituary notice.
Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had said they would like to honour their father's wish for the house to be demolished after Dr Lee ceases to live in it.
PM Lee had said he had recused himself from all government decisions involving the house and, in his personal capacity, would also like to see this wish honoured.
This morning, he ended his response by saying: "As my siblings know, I am presently overseas on leave with my family. I will consider this matter further after I return this weekend."