What PM Lee said

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last Thursday issued a six-page summary of his statutory declaration to a ministerial committee. Here are some extracts:

ON THE REACTION OF HIS SISTER, DR LEE WEI LING, TO HER REDUCED SHARE OF THE ESTATE IN THE LAST WILL:

"In other words, Lee Wei Ling (LWL) herself believed that Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and Lee Suet Fern (LSF) did her in by either suggesting or facilitating the removal of her extra share, which happened in the Last Will prepared in great haste by LSF and her law firm. In a letter from their lawyers to mine after disputes arose between LWL and LHY, on the one hand, and me on the other, LWL admitted that she became suspicious as to whether the change in shares was really Mr Lee's decision or one that was instigated by LHY and LSF, but claimed that she no longer held this suspicion. But she did not explain how or why her suspicions had now come to be so conveniently dispelled."

ON WHEN THE FEUD OVER 38, OXLEY ROAD BEGAN:

"It was also during the reading of the Last Will on April 12, 2015 that the dispute between LHY and me arose. At the reading, LHY repeatedly insisted on the immediate demolition of the House. I said that such a move so soon after Mr Lee's passing, when the public's emotions were still raw, might force the Government to promptly react by deciding to gazette the House, and that would not be in the interests of Mr Lee's legacy or Singapore. That discussion only ended when Ho Ching (HC) intervened to ask LWL if she wanted to continue living in the House. LWL said she did, which made the question of demolition moot. LHY then stopped insisting on the immediate demolition of the House.

ON WHY HE DID NOT CHALLENGE THE WILL IN COURT:

"I did not challenge the validity of the Last Will in court because I wished, to the extent possible, to avoid a public fight which would tarnish the name and reputation of Mr Lee and the family. I was also and am still concerned that LWL and LHY want(ed) to drag out probate and the administration and winding up of the Estate so that they can use their position as executors for reasons which are strictly unconnected with the administration of the Estate."

ON HOW HE TRIED TO RESOLVE THE DISPUTE:

"As part of efforts to resolve the family disputes amicably, after LWL and LHY expressed unhappiness that 38 Oxley Road had been bequeathed to me following Mr Lee's passing, I told them that I was prepared to transfer 38 Oxley Road to LWL for a nominal sum of S$1 on the condition that should the property be transacted later or acquired by the Government, all proceeds would go to charity. However, a resolution proved impossible. Matters reached the point where LWL and LHY threatened to escalate their attacks against me, coinciding with the September 2015 General Election. I was not prepared to be intimidated. Their accusations were not only baseless; they were made on the premise that there were no unusual circumstances surrounding the making of the Last Will. I therefore decided to make further enquiries... but, contrary to what my siblings have claimed, my questions (which are included in those which I set out below) went unanswered."

ON THE POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST:

"My concerns are heightened by what appears to be a conflict of interest: LSF was involved in the preparation and/or signing of the Last Will, while her husband, LHY, was a beneficiary under the Last Will and stood to gain by the removal of LWL's extra share in the Estate under the Last Will. It would appear that LHY felt very strongly about LWL not receiving an extra share, which explains why, in April 2015, he told me that there "would have been big trouble" if Mr Lee had not changed the will back to equal shares between the three children".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 18, 2017, with the headline 'What PM Lee said'. Print Edition | Subscribe