1. LKY was prepared to consider alternatives to demolition.
• PM revealed that before LKY died, he had agreed to a proposal to renovate the inside of the house.
This was a proposal put forth by PM and Ho Ching. It was to demolish the private living spaces to preserve the privacy of the family as Mdm Kwa Geok Choo had wished, and keep the basement dining room which was of historical significance. According to LKY’s wishes, the plan was also to strengthen the structure and create a new and separate living area, so the house could be lived in.
• LKY agreed to this plan. He stated the same in a letter to Cabinet. He also approved an architect’s proposal along these lines, and signed the authorisation to submit the development application to URA.
2. LHY changed his tune after LKY died.
• PM said that he kept the whole family comprising LKY, Lee Wei Ling, Lee Hsien Yang and his wife Lee Suet Fern, informed of the plan to renovate the inside of the house. Lee Hsien Yang did not raise any objections. As far as he knew, this was how the family settled the matter.
• But at the reading of the will, Lee Hsien Yang for the first time objected to the renovation plans that LKY had approved. He wanted the house to be knocked down immediately. PM said, “This was a complete surprise to me.”
3. Insisting on demolition will be the real abuse of power.
• PM said, “Suppose instead that I had decided as PM to knock the house down, and had pushed that decision through without allowing the Government to consider the alternatives, weigh the considerations, and go through due process, just because it was what my father wanted. That would have been a real abuse of power. That would have gone against the whole system of rules and values that Mr Lee Kuan Yew built up.”
• He said that recusing himself is the “standard practice” that leaders take when there are potential conflicts of interest.
4. Correcting Siblings on Deed of Gift
• PM addressed the allegations about why he received the Deed of Gift from NHB.
• As a beneficiary of the estate, his siblings should have consulted him before donating items from LKY’s estate to NHB. They didn’t do so.
• Separately, he received the Deed of Gift to NHB in his official capacity. As PM, he was entitled to be updated on the major exhibition about Singapore’s founding fathers.
• He realised that his siblings had announced publicly that it was a gift. But they set unusual conditions, including that only part of the demolition clause be displayed, and that they could take back all the items for $1. He felt they had misled the public.
• He then wrote to his siblings in his personal capacity to object to what they had done. He likened this to a Minister discovering, in the course of his official work, that a family member is dealing improperly with some government agency, and seeking to take advantage of the Government. He said, “Surely the Minister must take this up with the family member, and get him or her to stop. “
5. Ho Ching accountable to Ministers and President
• PM addressed concerns about his wife Ho Ching being CEO of Temasek Holdings.
• Ho Ching is accountable to many leaders. As CEO, she reports to the Board, chaired by Mr Lim Boon Heng. As a company, Temasek Holdings answers to its shareholder, the Ministry of Finance, under Minister Heng Swee Keat. They both should understand the meaning of good corporate governance.
• It is the Temasek Board which appoints the CEO, and the appointment has to be confirmed by the President, who is advised by the Council of Presidential Advisors. If Ho Ching ever behaves improperly, the Temasek Board, the President and CPA know what their duty is.
6. Waiving Parliamentary Privilege
• Mr Lee Hsien Yang has accused that PM might not be trurthful in Parliament as he is protected by parliamentary privilege, i.e. he cannot be sued for statements said in Parliament. But PM waived his privilege by issuing this statement outside of Parliament, to show that his statements are true.
7. No need to argue about this
• PM said he feels there is “no longer, in substance, anything for” his siblings and him to dispute over this.
• That’s because they all wants their father’s personal wish to be carried out, which is to demolish the house.
• He no longer has any interest in the house financially or politically. He does not take part in in any Government decisions on the house, and anyway the Government does not need to make any decision now.
8. No political benefit from preservation
• PM debunked the allegations that he wants to preserve the house for political reasons. He said his son has no interest in politics, contrary to what Lee Hsien Yang has claimed.
• He concluded: “Regarding the house, and how its continued existence enhances my aura as PM, if I needed such magic properties to bolster my authority even after being your PM for 13 years, I must be in a pretty sad state. And if such magic can work, Singapore, must be in an even sadder state.”