Lee Hsien Yang statement a 'selective, inaccurate account of exchanges' with 38 Oxley Road committee: DPM Teo's press secretary

Lee Hsien Yang statement a 'selective, inaccurate account of exchanges' with 38 Oxley Road committee: DPM Teo's press secretary

38 Oxley Road 2
38 Oxley Road. (Photo: Howard Law)

SINGAPORE: Mr Lee Hsien Yang's statement on Sunday (Jul 2) was a "selective and inaccurate account" of his exchanges with the 38 Oxley Road ministerial committee, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean's press secretary said later that day. 

In his Facebook post over the dispute regarding Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said the committee was "neither transparent nor proper" and accused his brother, Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong, of an "extra-judicial secret attack" by seeking to bypass the court system. 

Mr Lee said PM Lee had taken "his grievance on a 'private family matter' to a committee of his subordinates", adding that these subordinates "cannot be the judge of a matter in which (PM Lee) has a direct personal interest". 

In a statement issued on Sunday evening, Ms Lee May Lin said the ministerial committee, chaired by DPM Teo, had sought Mr Lee and his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling's views on their father's wishes and thinking in respect of the house in July last year. 

She enclosed letters dated Jul 27, 2016 and Aug 24, 2016, in which she said the committee "had made clear" to the two siblings the "purpose and scope" of its work. 

Oxley Road letter 1

Letter Oxley
Letters show that the Lee siblings were kept informed on the purpose and scope of the ministerial committee on 38 Oxley Road in mid-2016, says the press secretary to DPM Teo Chee Hean. 

The statement read: "The Committee told him clearly that: (1) it was listing the various options for the House, to present to Cabinet; (2) the Committee was not going to make any recommendations; (3) the Government had no intention of making any decision on the House, as long as Dr LWL (Lee Wei Ling) resides there."

In the statement, Ms Lee said that Mr Lee himself acknowledged this and said: "As such, it was clear to all parties involved that the Government was not making an immediate decision on the House, and that no decision may be necessary for another 20-30 years." 

The statement reiterated that the ministerial committee is powerless to decide on the validity of the last will and that it is a "matter between (Mr Lee Hsien Yang) and Mr Lee Hsien Loong".

Ms Lee said the circumstances of the last will became relevant because of one part that Mr Lee Hsien Yang was relying on as primary evidence of his father's intent for the house. Both the Lee brothers' views were sought with regard to these circumstances, said the statement. 

"Just because Mr Lee Hsien Yang found some questions inconvenient to answer, that does not mean that the Committee abused its power or did wrong," it said. 

DPM Teo will provide a fuller explanation in Parliament on Monday, when PM Lee and himself are due to issue ministerial statements on the dispute.

Source: CNA/am/hs