SINGAPORE — Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said he is "being forced to leave the country" amid a dispute over the future of the family home of late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at 38 Oxley Road.
In an exclusive interview with TODAY on Wednesday night, Mr Lee added that the dispute is "not just about a house… (but) about the values of my father".
Here is the transcript of the interview:
Lee Hsien Yang (LHY): "I have no desire to leave this country. I am being forced to leave. I have lived here my whole life, I love Singapore and it is my country. Why would I want to move if I did not feel persecuted?"
Could you be more specific about the circumstances that are forcing you to leave?
LHY: Please see (my earlier) press release.
Will your wife be going with you?
LHY: My wife is looking at it. We're looking at what we want to do and what we should do.
Do you have any firm plans?
LHY: No comment.
Are there specific countries you're looking at?
LHY: In due course!
How soon will you be leaving?
LHY: This is not a family spat, it is not just about a house. It is about the values of my father - of putting Singapore first, rather than power and popularity.
What has been the reception to your posts since their release?
LHY: I have been busy at work.
What about your present posts in Singapore? What will happen to them?
LHY: No comment.
What about your chairmanship at CAAS?
LHY: We have accomplished much at CAAS, with the board and the management. There are many major expansion projects ongoing which positions the aviation industry for the future. It would my privilege and of course I would make every effort to continue to serve Singapore.
What is your next step?
LHY: I am looking to move on and wake up from what feels almost like an Orwellian nightmare.
On the fears of the use of organs of state you mentioned, could you tell us more about that fear?
LHY: The cabinet has just put out a note and talked about some of the things. What is the cabinet committee doing on 38 Oxley Road notwithstanding our settlement with Loong? Why is there even a Cabinet committee when PM Lee (Hsien Loong) had announced in Parliament that so long as (younger sister) Wei Ling is living there, nothing needs to be done? Why when the Government says the government of the day will decide when Lee Wei Ling is no longer (living there) ... is the Government of today convening this Cabinet committee?
The Committee said it had asked you and Dr Lee (Wei Ling) some further questions.
LHY: Yes, we had given answers to them last year. They continue to repeat the same questions. Probate has been obtained on the last will. It is final and legally binding. If Lee Hsien Loong had any doubt about the validity of the Last Will, he should have challenged it in court. Frankly it is completely improper to use a cabinet committee to pursue an issue like this when the proper channel was at the court and probate.
What was your wife's role in preparing the last will?
LHY: My wife's role in preparing the Last Will was nothing. The Last Will was going back to a 2011 will - my father said go back to the 2011 will. The 2011 Will was prepared by my cousin, Kwa Kim Li. My wife helped put into words what my father wanted on the demolition wish. He reviewed it carefully and Hsien Loong was in the loop.
The committee had said you indicated that the earliest you would respond would be by the end of June?
LHY: We have had mountains of correspondence over almost a year but the Committee continues to raise the same questions. They have nothing to do with the subject of the Committee which is being used to make trouble. You asked for an example of persecution and here is a prime one.
But you mentioned you had already responded a number of times.
LHY: I responded many times.
You said you and your sister have been persecuted. Can you be more specific?
LHY: The Committee is one very specific example.