Even after he has been put in his final resting place, the late Lee Kuan Yew, who was firmly anti-populist when alive, can still push for things against everyone's wishes.
The first prime minister of Singapore has channelled his last wishes via his two children, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling, who issued a statement through their law firm reiterating their father's stand to have his house on Oxley Road demolished once he is gone.
Following Lee's passing on March 23, 2015, outpouring of grief from the masses have resulted in calls to preserve the home of Singapore's first-generation leader for its historical significance and symbolism.
However, the statement cited Lee as saying in his will: “My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged.”
It added that Lee was aware of calls to preserve his home, but his wish “was unwavering, and was for the house to be torn down upon his passing”.
His two children also said their father was concerned that an order might be issued against his wishes, and had added in his will: “If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants.”
Both The Straits Times and Channel News Asia said that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be expected to speak on the subject of his father’s wishes regarding the house at 38 Oxley Road in Parliament on Monday afternoon.
This is the statement in full:
We would like to thank Singaporeans for sharing in our grief on the passing of our late father, Lee Kuan Yew, on 23rd March, 2015. We have been deeply touched by the huge outpouring of affection for and respect of our father. We humbly thank each of you.
Our late father, Lee Kuan Yew, appointed the two of us as the executors and trustees of his last will and testament dated 17th December 2013 (“Lee Kuan Yew Will”).
In his Lee Kuan Yew Will, he stated, “I further declare that it is my wish, and the wish of my late wife, KWA GEOK CHOO, that our house at 38 Oxley Road, Singapore 238629 (“the House”) be demolished immediately after my death or if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House. I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the House be carried out.”
Our father has made public this wish on many occasions, including in his book Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going. In addition, both our parents have expressed this same wish with respect to our family home to their children in private on numerous occasions. Indeed, he stated in his Lee Kuan Yew Will that “My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged.”
Our father was well aware of calls to somehow preserve his home. His wish both expressed to us privately, and publicly was unwavering, and was for the house to be torn down upon his passing. He was concerned an order might be issued against his wishes.
He therefore added in his Lee Kuan Yew Will that “If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants.”
We have a duty (as executors and trustees of his Lee Kuan Yew Will) and a moral obligation (as his children) to ensure that his Lee Kuan Yew Will is administered strictly as stated. He has given us clear instructions directly and in his Lee Kuan Yew Will to demolish the house either immediately after his death, or if Wei Ling continues to live in the original house, then immediately after she moves out of the House.
Our father has given his life in service to the people of Singapore. We hope that the people of Singapore will honour and respect his stated wish in his last will and testament.
Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang
12th April 2015