SINGAPORE – Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong had last year explained to Mr Lee Hsien Yang the care being taken by the ministerial committee studying the options for Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38, Oxley Road, however Mr Lee “remained unhappy over the delay and uncertainty in demolishing the house”.
Mr Goh, in a Facebook post on Saturday, said: “It is not worth tearing up family bonds built over a lifetime over these differences, however serious they are. This is not the family legacy which their father would have wanted to leave behind. Singaporeans can urge them to settle their dispute amicably in private or through closed-door arbitration.”
The ministerial committee studying options for the Oxley Road home bore the brunt of the spotlight on Saturday, as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean issued a statement detailing its composition and responsibilities.
Mr Lee and his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling had in the past few days criticised their brother, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, over the committee, which they claim was set up to obstruct them from carrying out their late father’s wish that the house be demolished after his death.
Mr Goh said Mr Teo had spoken to him about the range of options he was exploring for the Oxley Road house.
“I advised him to respect Lee Kuan Yew’s wish but agreed that it would be disrespectful of our own heritage to just demolish the house for it to be replaced by a commercial building or another private residence,” he wrote. “I support the careful way in which DPM and the Government is handling the issue as public interests are involved. He is right to explore options beyond the binary demolish-preserve decision.”
Mr Teo in his statement said that the committee is studying various “intermediate options”, such as demolishing the house but keeping the basement dining room where many important historical meetings took place, with an appropriate heritage centre attached. These studies are ongoing, he added.
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