Mr Lee Hsien Yang had earlier today asserted that PM Lee escalated grievances on ‘private family matter’ to committee of subordinates to bypass court system. He said that the “mysterious ministerial committee refused to list the options it was considering for 38 Oxley Road, even after repeated requests from Lee Kuan Yew’s Estate.”
DPM Teo is responding to the accusations by Mr Lee through his press secretary, said that the allegations were a “selective and inaccurate account of his exchanges with the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road”. DPM Teo said “just because (Mr Lee) found some questions inconvenient to answer, that does not mean that the Committee abused its power or did wrong.”
The following is the response by DPM Teo’s press secretary in full.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY)’s statement on 2 July 2017 presents a selective and inaccurate account of his exchanges with the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road (the House).
The Committee sought Mr LHY and Dr Lee Wei Ling (LWL)’s views on the late Mr Lee’s wishes and thinking in July 2016. In its initial letters, the Committee had made clear to Mr LHY and Dr LWL the purpose and scope of the Committee’s work. This includes (1) Why the Committee was formed; (2) Who it reports to (namely Cabinet); (3) What it would look into; and (4) Why Mr LHY’s input would be useful.
The Committee told him clearly that:
- It was listing the various options for the House, to present to Cabinet;
- the Committee was not going to make any recommendations;
- the Government had no intention of making any decision on the House, as long as Dr LWL resides there. Mr LHY himself had acknowledged this, in one of his subsequent replies.
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 following are the) letters dated 27 July 2016 and 24 August 2016 to Mr LHY which make these points clear.
The Committee has no power to decide on the validity of the Last Will. It was made clear to Mr LHY that the Committee is not the place where decisions on the legal validity of the Last Will can be made, and this is a matter between him and Mr Lee Hsien Loong (LHL).
The Committee also made clear to Mr LHY from the outset that his provision of any reply was purely voluntary. On this basis, Mr LHY proceeded to make various submissions to the Committee, both last year and into this year.
The circumstances of the Last Will became relevant because Mr LHY’s representations to the Committee placed reliance on one part of the Last Will as the primary evidence of Mr Lee’s intent. He wanted the Committee to focus on one part of the clause relating to Mr Lee’s wishes on the House, and not its other part.
When the circumstances related to the drafting of the Last Will were brought to the Committee’s attention, Mr LHY’s views on this were sought. In the same vein, the Committee had also posed questions to Mr LHL, based on representations made by Mr LHY and Dr LWL.
Just because Mr LHY found some questions inconvenient to answer, that does not mean that the Committee abused its power or did wrong.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will provide a fuller explanation in Parliament on 3 July 2017.