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Jakarta Post

Singapore PM siblings wade back into family feud


    Agence France-Presse

Singapore   /   Wed, April 4, 2018   /   10:28 am
Singapore PM siblings wade back into family feud This file photograph taken last year shows a woman jogging past the house of Singapore's late prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on 38 Oxley Road in Singapore. A future government should decide the fate of a house belonging to Singapore's founding premier Lee Kuan Yew, a ministerial committee said April 2, 2018, amid a bitter feud between his children over the property. ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP (AFP/Roslan Rahman)

A bitter feud that has rocked Singapore founding leader Lee Kuan Yew's family flared anew Tuesday when his younger children criticised a ministerial committee's findings about a house at the centre of the row.

The century-old bungalow, which Lee Kuan Yew used to live in, has sparked a bitter feud between his children -- including current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong -- since the patriarch's death in 2015. 

The senior Lee, widely credited with transforming Singapore into one of Asia's wealthiest countries, had stated in his will that he wanted the house torn down to avoid the emergence of a personality cult.

But in a row that gripped the city-state last year, Lee Hsien Loong's siblings said their brother is attempting to block the house's demolition to capitalise on their father's legacy for his own political agenda.

A ministerial committee set up to decide on the future of the house released a report Monday, in which it laid out three options and said the fate of the property should be decided by a future government.

The options were: preserving the house as a national monument, demolition for redevelopment, or tearing it down but preserving the most historic portion. 

But the siblings of current prime minister Lee said the alternatives to demolition proposed by the committee go against their father's wishes. 

"[Lee Kuan Yew] made absolutely clear what he wanted done with the house. He and Mama had long decided they wanted it demolished after they were gone," the prime minister's sister Lee Wei Ling wrote on Facebook.

The premier's brother Lee Hsien Yang said in a separate post that Lee Kuan Yew "wanted demolition unwaveringly."

He added that "the committee's statement does not accurately represent Lee Kuan Yew's wishes."

The prime minister, who had recused himself from government decisions about the house, said in a Facebook post Monday that he accepted the committee's decision. 

He denied all allegations by siblings in a public broadcast at the height of the feud last year, while parliament held a special two-day debate on the controversy.