SINGAPORE: On the second day of the debate in Parliament on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's alleged abuse of power, People's Action Party (PAP) MP Lim Biow Chuan said that that no-one should be above the law, regardless of whether it is the prime minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s children or anyone related to the family.
He said this in the session on Tuesday (Jul 4) as he raised questions surrounding the drafting of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s final will, which calls for the demolition of 38 Oxley Road immediately after his passing, or after his daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, moves out.
The will and the family home have emerged as crucial points in an ongoing dispute between PM Lee and his siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee, after they alleged that the PM used his position to prevent the demolition of the house, against their father’s wishes.
Mr Lim asked if the elder Mr Lee was independently advised on the contents of his will, which Mr Lee Hsien Yang's wife lawyer Mrs Lee Suet Fern was involved in. If there has been any “misconduct” in the drafting of the will, it is no longer a private matter, and he hoped that it will be treated with “proper seriousness” by the authorities, he said.
“This is of legal significance because it may mean that the demolition clause in the will may not be valid. And it will affect the way the Government assesses the intent of MM Lee about the demolition clause,” he said.
He called into question the choice of words by Mr Lee Hsien Yang that his wife “put into language” Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s final will.
“Is this a roundabout way of saying that the will was drafted by his wife? Did she then ask her firm’s lawyers to witness MM Lee’s execution of the will?” he asked.
Mr Lim, who is also a lawyer, said that professional conduct rules prohibit a lawyer from acting on behalf of a client who intends to make a gift to a family member of the lawyer.
The Government has an obligation to understand what the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes were with regards to his family home, Mr Lim said.
Still, he questioned PM Lee’s decision not to challenge the final will, given that he doubts the circumstances surrounding it, as PM Lee laid out on Jun 19.
He said, however, that he “felt a sense of dismay” that MPs on Monday suggested that the PM sue his siblings.
"How many of us would want to sue our family members? Is not blood thicker than water?" he asked.
PAP MPs ASK ABOUT PUBLIC SERVICE DIVISION POLL, SALE OF HOUSE, DEED OF GIFT
Also in Tuesday's session, PAP MP Charles Chong asked about a Public Service Division poll that was done during the dispute. He asked for its results, what the data collected will be used for, and what concrete action will be taken with the data.
Raising another question, Mr Liang Eng Hwa asked if the Cabinet of the day in 2011 exerted pressure on Mr Lee Kuan Yew to give up his idea of demolishing the family home. He referred to Dr Lee saying that her father was “anguished and despondent” after the meeting.
"Did they mislead Mr Lee Kuan Yew into thinking the Government intended to demolish the house regardless of his views?" he asked.
Cheng Li Hui asked about the conditions around the PM’s sale of the house to his brother, and Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s decision to buy the house.
“Why did he offer to transfer the house to his sister for S$1 and why did he sell it to his brother at full value?” she asked.
She also asked if Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who set up a ministerial committee to consider options for the house and also delivered a ministerial statement on Monday, suggested to Mr Lee Hsien Yang that the Government was “okay to demolish the house.”
Mr Zainal Sapari raised questions about whether there had been any abuse of power in the handling of the Deed of Gift from the Lee family and the unusual terms that came with it.
"If there were National Heritage Board officers who were instructed to accept the terms although they were unusual, this can be considered as abuse of power," he said.
MP Joan Pereira asked DPM Teo's ministerial committee to disclose and provide updates publicly on the options considered for the house and its implications as residents there "would be directly impacted".
FURTHER CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE
Nominated MP Azmoon Ahmad suggested an independent committee be established for the accusers to present their case, and for the allegations to be further investigated.
"Any allegations on our Prime Minister shall not be downplayed nor dismissed, and it must be substantiated with evidence of such," he said.
He said that he believes the issue warrants attention because the accusers, the PM's siblings, are figures of authority who hold respected positions in their own fields.