Why hasn't Lee Hsien Yang ruled out redevelopment of 38 Oxley Road ‘categorically’, Indranee asks

Why hasn't Lee Hsien Yang ruled out redevelopment of 38 Oxley Road ‘categorically’, Indranee asks

30 oxley road afp
File photo of 38 Oxley Road. (Photo: Toh Ting Wei/AFP)

SINGAPORE: Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Monday (Jul 3) questioned if Mr Lee Hsien Yang has firmly ruled out redevelopment of his late father Lee Kuan Yew’s home at 38 Oxley Road.

“Initially, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said he had not thought beyond demolition. If that is true, he could not have ruled out redevelopment,” she said in Parliament. “Mr Lee Hsien Yang now says that he has no inclination to develop the house for profit. ‘Inclination’ is a word that leaves a lot of room for change of mind.

“Why is he being so careful? If he changes his mind, then the land is potentially worth a lot. Why doesn’t he just rule it out categorically?”

She defended the existence of the ministerial committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, to look into options for the house. Ms Indranee pointed to what Mr Lee Hsien Yang said over the weekend. “His exact words were: ‘Preserving the house is trampling on Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s values and it would be an affront to these same values to develop a luxury LKY condominium’,” she said. “Isn’t that the exactly the same thing that DPM Teo had said, leaving aside the bit about values?”

Both agree that extreme ends of the spectrum of options - preserving the house as is, or demolishing it to redevelop it for new private residences – are out, she noted.

“So if the ministerial committee is studying the intermediate options within the range, what is wrong with that? Nothing has been decided. How can studying those options be abuse (of power)?” she said, referring to Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling’s claims that their brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had abused his power to oppose demolition of the house.

Ms Indranee reiterated that it was a serious issue if Mr Lee Kuan Yew was not independently advised on his final will. She previously said there could be questions if the person who helped prepare the will was Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s wife, Lee Suet Fern, noting that they stood to gain.

“Some have said: Mr Lee (Kuan Yew) is a very good lawyer. He was Cambridge-educated. Are you saying he did not know what he was signing?

"No one is saying that at all. That is not the issue. The issue is whether he received independent advice as the law uncompromisingly requires,” she stated.

Source: CNA/ly