A last salvo hours before Parliament on 3 July?

singapore-parliament

I refer to the article “DPM takes Hsien Yang to task over ‘selective, inaccurate’ post” (Today, Jul 3).

It states that “Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s latest statement was a “selective and inaccurate account” of his exchanges with the 38 Oxley Road ministerial committee, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean’s press secretary said on Sunday evening (July 2).”

In my humble opinion.- I think both sides may have been guilty of being “selective” – with Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling releasing stuff almost on a daily basis, and the government responding as and when they are released.

Why not disclose all the communications between the ministerial committee and whoever it has communicated with?

As to “She released letters dated July 27 and Aug 24 in which she said the committee “had made clear” to the two siblings the “purpose and scope” of its work.

This included why the committee was formed, who it reported to, namely the Cabinet, what it would look into and why Mr Lee’s input would be useful” – Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling did say that the terms of reference of the committee was never revealed to them, and remains a secret now.

With regard to “She said: “The Committee told him clearly that: (1) It was listing the various options for the House, to present to Cabinet” – “Mr Lee Hsien Yang, who on Saturday refuted claims that he was pushing for the site of his late father’s house to be redeveloped for profit, reiterated that the “mysterious” ministerial committee refused to list the options being considered for the house.

This was despite repeated requests from Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s estate. He and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, are the estate’s executors.

The younger Mr Lee said a paragraph from an email exchange with National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, dated Aug 24, 2016, was the “closest hint” given in any discussion about options for the house.

In the email, Mr Wong cited an example: Were the property to be converted into a park, the committee would like to examine the implications for other properties nearby — including zoning and planning options — and the extent to which the treatment of the neighbourhood would be consistent with the late Mr Lee’s wishes.

Mr Wong had highlighted this by “way of illustration”, and the younger Mr Lee noted in his Facebook post that this paragraph “avoids confirming” whether the possibility of converting 38 Oxley Road into a park was under sincere consideration.

“The option is discussed only ‘by way of illustration’ — without confirming or denying that this is a concrete option on the table,” he said.

Mr Lee also highlighted two subsequent e-mails he had sent to Mr Wong, on Dec 20 and Feb 28, asking the committee to state the various options under consideration relating to 38 Oxley Road and the time frame within which the committee will perform its work.

However, Mr Lee said the committee did not respond to those queries, and instead spent most of its time repeating PM Lee’s “relentless attacks on our father’s demolition wish”” (“Cabinet committee on Oxley Road an ‘extra-judicial secret attack””, Today, Jul 3).

So, one side is saying that the other side “refused to list the options being considered for the house … despite repeated requests”, whilst the other side is saying “it was listing the various options for the House, to present to Cabinet”.

Well, saying that one was listing the options to Cabinet is arguably, quite different from actually listing what exactly are the options.

So, is it reasonable for the estate’s executors to ask for the options, or unreasonable to still not be able to tell them after such a lomg time?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong
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.