Commenting on her brother-in-law, Lee Hsien Yang’s Facebook about how she chanced upon some of the items from Lee Kuan Yew’s house (which were later loaned to National Heritage Board), Madam Ho Ching said that she was only “tidying up the house, cleaning up stuff in the basement, and organizing items, (work) which I couldn’t see Ling or Fern doing.”
Madam Ho took leave in late March 2015 after the death of her father-in-law, and extended her sabbatical until October of that year. She pointed out that Lee Hsien Yang’s wife not only not clean and tidy up the house but also went off with her husband to Japan for a break after Lee Kuan Yew’s funeral.
Madam Ho did not say if her husband or Lee Hsien Yang helped clean, tidy up and organise items in Lee Kuan Yew’s family home at 38 Oxley Road after the passing away of Singapore’s first Prime Minister. She however reminded Lee Hsien Yang that she did the same kind of ‘dogsbody work’ after his mother, Kwa Geok Choo, passed away.
Lee Hsien Yang on 22 June accused the Prime Minister’s wife, of overstepping her role and acting as a contact for the Prime Minister’s Office in lending items that belonged to Lee Kuan Yew to the National Heritage Board (NHB).
Mr Lee claimed that Madam Ho helped herself to a number of Lee Kuan Yew’s papers and said that it is “deeply troubling that someone can represent the PMO despite holding no official position.”
LKY was admitted gravely ill into the ICU on 5 February 2015. The next day, Ho Ching helped herself to a number of LKY'…
She did not address Mr Lee’s question about what her authority is in instructing Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) staff to handle the items.
PM Lee Hsien Loong, also referred to his wife’s response to his younger brother and acknowledged that questions had been raised about her role in the loan of some of these items to NHB. He added that the loan was openly done, and for the good cause of remembering his father, soon after he died.
The Prime Minister did not address Mr Lee’s queries if the PM’s wife had any authority in instructing his staff.
Ho Ching explains how my father’s items were handled after he passed away, with my siblings kept in the loop. Questions…
Mr Lee however responded to Madam Ho’s post in his Facebook and said: “Ho Ching somehow believes that acting on behalf of the “PMO” gives her license to take LKY’s personal belongings and interfere with the estate. (How does she act on behalf of PMO, despite having no official position in PMO?) Moreover, the personal items do not belong to the PMO and are not theirs to loan. This oversteps the legal rights of the PMO.”
He added: “The executors of LKY’s estate never authorized Ho Ching to remove the items she admits to removing. Informing the executors after the fact does not give her the right to intermeddle.”
Ho Ching somehow believes that acting on behalf of the "PMO" gives her license to take LKY's personal belongings and…
The following is Madam Ho Ching’s post in Lee Hsien Yang’s Facebook.
I was away from 31 January night till 7 Feb evening, when I went with Loong to Germany and Spain for his official and working visits. I was not in Singapore on 6 Feb.
In any case, there would not be any reason for me to rummage or tidy up papa’s things when he was in the hospital – that is not me nor my values.
However, you may remember that after papa’s funeral, you went off with Fern for a break in Japan or somewhere. I began tidying up the house, cleaning up stuff in the basement, and organizing items, dogsbody work as I mentioned to you before, which I couldn’t see Ling or Fern doing. This was what I had also done at papa’s request after mama’s death. Ling was in Oxley, and I had kept her posted, while trying not to intrude into her grieving.
It was in the middle of those two first weeks of April, tidying up the house after papa’s death, that I came across small interesting items which I thought were significant in papa’s life. I explained to Loong about a puzzling telegram about a Battleship arrival. Loong immediately knew its significance, and identified 4 items that he thought it would be useful to lend to NHB which was organizing an exhibition on papa’s life. These included the Battleship telegram and the John Laycock letter, which would be related to what papa did during the Postmen’s strike. I arranged to do so through the PMO, emphasizing to NHB that these items belonged to the estate and must be returned.
During that period, I had also done things like organising papa’s ties, and you confirmed that you were agreeable for NHB to come and pick what they wanted – they mostly wanted the relevant ties to match what papa wore during various historical events.
After the will was read on 12 April, I again kept both you and Ling posted on all that I had done including the 4 items loaned to NHB. In fact, I was in the basement working with the maids, when I was asked to join you and Fern, as well as Loong and Ling, for the reading of the will.
You may wish to check your email records to refresh your memory on the various updates that I had given you during those 2 weeks.
I hope that whatever you are upset about, you will have the heart to remember what papa and mama would have wanted most for the family and for Singapore.