ESM Goh calls on Singaporeans to urge Lee family to settle Oxley home spat behind closed doors

ESM Goh calls on Singaporeans to urge Lee family to settle Oxley home spat behind closed doors
TODAY file photo
Published: 11:50 PM, June 17, 2017
Updated: 2:05 PM, June 22, 2017

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans can urge the Lee family to settle their dispute over 38 Oxley Road "amicably in private or through closed-door arbitration", Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Saturday (Jun 17) as he pointed out that this is "not the family legacy" which their father, founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, would have wanted to leave behind.

Mr Goh weighed in on the saga for the second time in as many days - and the third government leader to do so on Saturday. "It is not worth tearing up family bonds built over a lifetime over these differences, however serious they are," he wrote on Facebook.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Law Minister K Shanmugam had given their take on the matter, with Mr Teo issuing a media statement to provide details of the ministerial committee tasked to look at the future status of the Lee family home, including its composition, the considerations behind its setting up and the options on the table.

Referring to Mr Teo's statement, Mr Goh said that sometime last year, Mr Teo - who chairs the committee - had shared with him the range of options which he was exploring. "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," Mr Goh said. He added that he supports the "careful way" in which Mr Teo and the Government are handling the issue "as public interests are involved".

"(Mr Teo) is right to explore options beyond the binary demolish-preserve decision," said Mr Goh. He added that he had conveyed Mr Teo's thinking to Mr Lee Hsien Yang last year who, along with his sister Dr Lee Wei Ling, is at odds with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over the matter. However, Mr Lee Hsien Yang "remained unhappy over the delay and uncertainty in demolishing the house", Mr Goh said.