Whatever is happening now in the most famous Lee family in Singapore has been a long time coming.
According to the 3,882-word statutory declaration summary by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, matters were already coming to a head from as early as September 2015.
From paragraph 35 in PM Lee's statement -- which is the equivalent of a statement given under oath -- it has been revealed that the prime minister was not only doing electoral battle with political opponents on a national stage, he had to fight a familial battle quietly on the side that could upstage his fight on the political front.
PM Lee's statement mentioned in passing that Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang had previously threatened to escalate their attacks against him -- which is what we are seeing now -- to coincide with the September 2015 General Election.
35. As part of efforts to resolve the family disputes amicably, after LWL and LHY expressed unhappiness that 38 Oxley Road had been bequeathed to me following Mr Lee’s passing, I told them that I was prepared to transfer 38 Oxley Road to LWL for a nominal sum of S$1 on the condition that should the property be transacted later or acquired by the Government, all proceeds would go to charity. However, a resolution proved impossible. Matters reached the point where LWL and LHY threatened to escalate their attacks against me, coinciding with the September 2015 General Elections. I was not prepared to be intimidated. Their accusations were not only baseless; they were basedmade on the premise that there were no unusual circumstances surrounding the making of the Last Will. I therefore decided to make further enquiries into those circumstances through my solicitors in September 2015, but, contrary to what my siblings have claimed, my questions (which are included in those which I set out below) went unanswered.
PM Lee's response?
"I was not prepared to be intimidated."
To better understand the contents of paragraph 35, it is best to read paragraphs 31 to 38 to contextualise matters.
Throughout this eight paragraphs, PM Lee stated his doubts over how the making of the last will was done -- as the contention now is that the late Lee Kuan Yew might not have knowledge of what went into it when he signed off on it.
Paragraph 31 stated that PM Lee personally compared the six wills and reviewed their changes.
Paragraph 32 stated that Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern might have a hand in the seventh and final will.
Paragraph 33 stated that PM Lee was concerned.
Paragraph 34 stated that PM Lee wanted to settle the issue privately and prevent a public fight to preserve the Lee family reputation.
Paragraph 35 stated that PM Lee was bequeathed with the 38 Oxley Road house and the other two siblings were unhappy and threatened to escalate matters in the run-up to GE2015.
Paragraph 36 stated that ownership of 38 Oxley Road was transferred after the election and is now wholly owned by Lee Hsien Yang.
Paragraph 37 stated that the late Lee Kuan Yew might not have been cognisant about what went into the last will and that the Demolition Clause had been re-inserted.
Paragraph 38 stated that PM Lee believed Lee Hsien Yang stood to gain from the last will prepared by his wife Lee Suet Fern, as all three Lee children received equal shares as no extra share was given to Lee Wei Ling.