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Late Lee Kuan Yew pondered all options for 38 Oxley Road with family
SINGAPORE'S late founding leader, Lee Kuan Yew, had explored all kinds of permutations for his home at 38 Oxley Road with his whole family before he died, his oldest son and Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament on Monday.
PM Lee said after the late Mr Lee met with the Cabinet to convey his wishes for the house to be demolished, he "continued to ponder over how to deal with the house".
These included discussing with the family how to go about demolishing the house and redeveloping the site; who to inherit the property, whether it should be one or several of the children; whether to demolish the house before or after he died as well as whether to donate the proceeds to charity after the site was redeveloped, and if so which children would share in the donation, and which charities to donate to.
PM Lee said at one point, his brother, Lee Hsien Yang, suggested that Mr Lee gift the property to Singapore, subject to the condition that the house be demolished and a small public park be built in its place.
"I said that I thought this was worth considering, but I offered another option: to demolish the house and redevelop the site as my father wanted, but then to sell off the property and donate the proceeds to charity," PM Lee said.
"I asked my father between the two which he preferred, and he replied the latter, ie demolish the house, redevelop and sell off, and donate the proceeds to charity. He was a practical-minded man."
In his ministerial statement, PM Lee explained why he chose not to sue his two siblings over their allegations, despite his belief that he has a "strong case" against them.
"At the end of the day, we are brothers and sister, and we are all our parents' children. It would also drag out the process for years, and cause more distraction and distress to Singaporeans. Therefore, fighting this out in court cannot be my preferred choice," he said.
He also tackled their allegations of nepotism concerning his wife, Ho Ching, and his son, Li Hongyi.
"Hongyi, my son, has publicly said he is not interested in politics. Nor have I pushed him to enter politics," PM Lee told Parliament.
Ho Ching, PM Lee noted, is CEO of Temasek Holdings and reports to its board, which is chaired by Lim Boon Heng. Temasek Holdings in turn answers to its shareholder, the Ministry of Finance, under Minister Heng Swee Keat.
PM Lee also stressed that in Singapore, everyone is equal before the law. "When the dust has settled on this unhappy episode, people must know that the Government operates transparently, impartially, and properly,'' he said.
More stories from Monday's Parliamentary sitting:
- S'pore government has robust processes for dealing with and avoiding conflicts of interest: DPM Teo
- WP's Low questions conflicts of roles, says Lee family saga not Korean drama show
- NHB caught in 'difficult position' over deed of gift: Lawrence Wong
- Formation of 38 Oxley Road Ministerial Committee followed 'due process' by govt agencies: Lawrence Wong
For more stories on the Lee family feud, go to bt.sg/leefeud.