Lee Hsien Yang says Ho Ching 'helped herself' to Lee Kuan Yew's papers; records show she was abroad

Lee Hsien Yang says Ho Ching 'helped herself' to Lee Kuan Yew's papers; records show she was abroad

Mr Lee Hsien Yang says PM Lee's wife "helped herself" to Mr Lee Kuan Yew's papers on Feb 6, 2015, before she handed them to the National Heritage Board. However, Mdm Ho Ching was abroad at the time.

ho ching, lhy
Mdm Ho Ching, Mr Lee Hsien Yang. (Photos: Calvin Oh, AFP) 

SINGAPORE: Mr Lee Hsien Yang on Thursday (Jun 22) accused Mdm Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, of accessing some of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's documents on Feb 6, 2015 while the elder Mr Lee was "gravely ill" in hospital, even though records show she was abroad at the time.

Mdm Ho Ching had been accompanying Prime Minister Lee on a week-long official visit to Germany and Spain and was in Madrid on the date Mr Lee Hsien Yang mentioned. She returned to Singapore on Feb 7, 2015.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang had alleged in his Facebook post on Thursday: "LKY was admitted gravely ill into the ICU on Feb 5, 2015. The next day, Ho Ching helped herself to a number of LKY's papers. These she handed to the NHB (ostensibly on loan) under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office," Mr Lee wrote. 

"She had no business doing this when LKY was in ICU and it is deeply troubling that someone can represent the PMO despite holding no official position." 

Mr Lee later amended his post to acknowledge that Mdm Ho Ching was overseas, as pointed out by Channel NewsAsia.

The papers mentioned in the post included a letter and a telegram dating back to the 1950s. There was also a memo from the director of posts dated Feb 11, 1952, which told postal workers that the British government had no objection to Mr Lee Kuan Yew representing them in their dispute. 

Lee Kuan Yew memo
A memo from the director of posts to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew that was loaned to NHB for a memorial exhibition. (Photo: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Facebook page.)

In response to queries on Mr Lee Hsien Yang's Facebook post, the National Heritage Board (NHB) said the list showed items on loan from PMO to NHB.

"For items numbered 2 to 5, the items were received on Apr 6, 2015 instead of Feb 6, 2015 as indicated. This was a clerical error. NHB has a receipt for the items on loan from PMO dated Apr 6, 2015," an NHB spokesperson said. "All the items were loaned to NHB after the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away, to be displayed at the In Memoriam: Lee Kuan Yew exhibition held at the National Museum of Singapore."

Mr Lee Hsien Yang responded to NHB's clarification in a Facebook post. "This is even more troubling," he wrote.

Mr Lee said that according to his late father's will, the estate's "residual items", such as personal documents, fall under the "absolute discretion" of the executors - his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling and himself.

"Unapproved removal of these items, even by a beneficiary, constitutes both theft and intermeddling," he wrote.

"Ho Ching is not an executor or a beneficiary to our father's estate. We also still do not understand how she is a proper contact representative for the PMO."

The Lee siblings have been locked in a dispute over the house of their late father at 38 Oxley Road, with PM Lee's two siblings issuing a statement on Jun 14 accusing their brother of abusing his position in Government to deal with the matter.

PM Lee has denied the allegations and said he will refute the charges in a ministerial statement when Parliament sits on Jul 3.

Source: CNA/gs