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Politics

Family feud involving Singapore's prime minister reignites

Daughter of city-state's founder says Lee Kuan Yew's will has been attacked

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is at odds with his younger sister and brother regarding their father's will. (Getty Images)

SINGAPORE -- The family feud over the will of Singapore's founder has re-emerged, with the sister of current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking to Facebook to air disagreements over their father's will, which is said to call for the demolition of the late Lee Kuan Yew's home.

Lee Kuan Yew died in March 2015.

On Facebook, Lee Wei Ling let her emotions show in a post regarding the Attorney-General's Chambers and its recent filing of over 500 pages to the Law Society. The long complaint calls out the wife of Lee Hsien Yang, the prime minister's younger brother. The wife, Lee Suet Fen, is said to have been involved in preparing Lee Kuan Yew's final will.

"Lee Kuan Yew, a highly regarded lawyer, never complained about his will," Lee Wei Ling said in the post. "Why therefore this new attack on our father's will?"

The post also says Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is "unhappy with [their] father's will and [their] father's wish to demolish his home at 38 Oxley Road." She added that her older brother in 2015 had "accepted the will" as representing Lee Kuan Yew's true wishes. However, in 2016 and 2017, he "sought to attack" the will through a committee of his ministers, the post adds.

The AGC released a statement on Monday claiming there is a "possible case of professional misconduct" by Lee Suet Fen. "Ms Lee appears to have prepared the Last Will of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and arranged for Mr Lee Kuan Yew to execute it, despite the fact that her husband, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, is one of the beneficiaries under the Last Will," the statement says.

Lee Kuan Yew lived at this residence on Oxley Road since the 1940s.   © AP

The family saga began in 2017 when the two younger siblings claimed that Lee Hsien Loong was misusing his position as prime minister and refusing to demolish the Oxley home. Lee Kuan Yew, who had lived in the prime Oxley Road location since the 1940s, on many occasions expressed his wish to have the house torn down after his death.

In his book, "Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going," published in 2011, Lee said, "You know the cost of preserving it? It's an old house built over a hundred years ago. No foundation."

Lee added that the house's presence kept nearby property owners from building taller structures and from allowing the land value to increase.

When Lee Kuan Yew died, his daughter and younger son became executors and trustees of his will. They said their father had given them clear instructions in his last will and testament, written in 2013, to demolish the house immediately after his death or after his daughter, who is living in the house, moves out. Media reports in April said Lee Wei Ling had decided to continue living in the house.

The case gained national notoriety and was even brought to parliament shortly after the dispute began in 2017. In Parliament, Lee Hsien Loong noted he disagrees with his younger brother and sister that the house should be demolished. He also added that his siblings made "entirely baseless" allegations of abuse of power and nepotism against him.

Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore's first prime minister, from 1959 through most of 1990.

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