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Formation of 38 Oxley Road Ministerial Committee followed 'due process' by govt agencies: Lawrence Wong

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IN following a due process that is concerned with properties with architectural or heritage merit for the late Lee Kuan Yew's former residence, the Ministry of National Development (MND) tabled a proposal to set up the Ministerial Committee on the future of 38 Oxley Road, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

In revealing these details in Parliament on Monday, Mr Wong also stressed that the government has the final say in the conservation or preservation of a property.

Read More: Late Lee Kuan Yew pondered all options for 38 Oxley Road with family

"The government undertakes a rigorous assessment process for all such properties before deciding whether or not to conserve or preserve them," said Mr Wong.

He was responding to concerns raised in the past few weeks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's siblings over the future of the house at 38 Oxley Road.

Several government agencies have been studying its significance, said Mr Wong, even before a Ministerial Committee was formed to look at the future of the house. The Committee is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean.

"Later, in discussing the matter with DPM Teo, and various ministerial colleagues, we agreed that it would be useful to have a Ministerial Committee to coordinate the work across agencies and to oversee the matter," said Mr Wong. "And that's why MND (Ministry for National Development) tabled the proposal at the Cabinet meeting chaired by DPM Teo on June 1 to set up the Ministerial Committee."

Their decision follows a due process to study the historical, cultural, social and religious significance of a property of interest, its national importance, as well as its architectural merits and rarity, said Mr Wong.

Read More: PM Lee speaks in Parliament

Next, agencies will look into the planning considerations for the property and its surroundings. This includes examining whether there are any technical regulatory requirements which may have an impact on the form of preservation or conservation proposal for the property. Agencies will also review the allowable uses of the site.

Arising from the planning studies, agencies may also review the need for the government to acquire the property for conservation or preservation, said Mr Wong.

Armed with such "important baseline information", the government will then ponder the next step for all such property, said Mr Wong. At this stage, it will seek views from the relevant stakeholders.

And if the government decides to conserve or preserve a property, the property owner will be given the opportunity to respond.

"But the final decision for conservation or preservation lies with the Government," said Mr Wong.

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