What was in Lee Hsien Yang’s mind when he bought 38 Oxley Rd?

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I refer to the article “38 Oxley Road dispute: A look at the key issues” (Sunday Times, Jun 18).

It states that “Mr Lee Hsien Yang owns the house.

The property was initially bequeathed to PM Lee. His siblings were unhappy about this, so he proposed transferring the house to Dr Lee for a nominal sum of $1, he said in the statement. This was on condition that if it was transacted later or acquired by the Government, all proceeds should go to charity.

But an agreement could not be reached until late 2015, when PM Lee transferred ownership of the house to his brother instead at market value. In addition, the brothers each donated half the value of the house to eight charities named in Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s obituary notice.

Separate from the agreement, PM Lee said he also gave to charity an additional amount worth half the value of the house. The sum was not disclosed, but conservative estimates in 2015 put the value of the plot at $24 million.

As part of the agreement, all three siblings issued a joint public statement in December 2015, saying they hoped the Government would allow their father’s wish for the demolition of the house to be honoured. That statement also said that PM Lee had recused himself from all government decisions involving the house, and, in his personal capacity, hoped to see his father’s wish honoured.”

I think there may be one possible issue that arguably, may have been missed by the Straits Times in their subject article “38 Oxley Road dispute: A look at the key issues“.

When Lee Hsien Yang bought 38 Oxley Road from Lee Hsien Loong in December 2015 and issued a joint statement (on 38 Oxley Road) by Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling – did he know or expect that a ministerial committee may be in the works later and was then set up later in July 2016?

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.