‘I’ve not thought about what lies beyond demolition’: Lee Hsien Yang on Lee Kuan Yew’s Oxley Road home

SINGAPORE: Mr Lee Hsien Yang on Sunday (Jun 18) indicated that he had no plans for the site of his late father Lee Kuan Yew’s home at Oxley Road, as yet.

In response to a query from Channel NewsAsia, Mr Lee, who is locked in a dispute with his brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, over the house, said: “I purchased the house to fulfil my parents’ wishes. That is my sole aim. I have not thought about what lies beyond demolition if I achieve it.”

He added that he has not made any application seeking approval for demolition of the house and that his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, does not intend to move out.

“My sister is living there and has every intention to live a long life.”

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee are joint executors and trustees of the late Mr Lee‘s will and want the Government to honour his wish to demolish the house immediately after his death, or after Dr Lee moves out.

PM Lee has said in Parliament that he intended to fulfil his father’s wishes on the house and that he would recuse himself from any Government decisions on the property.

It was revealed earlier this week that a ministerial committee is looking into the options for the house on 38 Oxley Road. PM Lee has made public a summary of his statutory declaration on the matter, highlighting “grave concerns” about how his father’s last will was prepared.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Saturday released a statement saying there is nothing “secret” about the ministerial committee and said the Government has the responsibility to consider the public interest aspects of any property with heritage and historical significance. This includes Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house as “many critical decisions on the future of Singapore were made there by Mr Lee and our pioneer leaders”, he said.

DPM Teo also said he has tasked relevant agencies to study a range of options for the house and has shared some of these options with the Lee siblings.

“For instance, they know that I would personally not support the options at either end of the range: At one end, preserving the house as it is for visitors to enter and see would be totally against the wishes of Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew; and at the other, demolishing the house and putting the property on the market for new private residences,” he stated.

He added that the committee has also been studying various intermediate options such as demolishing the house but keeping the basement dining room where many important historical meetings took place, with a heritage centre attached. These studies are still ongoing, DPM Teo said.