TL;DR – Mark this date, 3rd July 2017 (Mon)
Finally, PM Lee Hsien Loong has personally made an apology and a statement on 38 Oxley Road. The video has been uploaded on his Facebook, on Youtube and copies of it were also released to the mainstream media.
Here are the three main points of the statement.
1. He tried to keep it private
PM Lee’s siblings were not happy that Lee Kuan Yew left him the house at 38 Oxley Road as part of his equal share of his estate. To placate them, PM did the following:
- He offered to transfer the house to his sister for a nominal $1. That offer failed.
- He sold the house to his brother at fair market value and donated all the proceeds to charity.
PM Lee thought that would satisfy his siblings. But it did not. They went on to make serious allegations publicly. Specifically, PM Lee highlighted:
“These allegations go beyond private and personal matters, and extend to the conduct of my office and the integrity of the Government.”
2. The baseless accusations must not go unanswered
PM Lee announced that he will make a Ministerial Statement to refute the charges when Parliament sits on 3 July 2017.
Beyond that, PM Lee encouraged MPs to question him. He even went as far as announcing that the PAP party whip will be lifted. This means that there isn’t an official PAP position, and the PAP MPs don’t need to toe the party line. They can be as vigorous and critical as they want.
Indeed, that’s what PM Lee wants. He said:
“I urge all MPs, including the non-PAP MPs, to examine the issues thoroughly and question me and my Cabinet colleagues vigorously.”
PM Lee hopes the full, public airing of all the issues in Parliament will show that the government has nothing to hide. He hopes that it will lay to rest the baseless accusations and strengthen confidence in our institutions and our system of government.
3. The government will uphold strict standards
PM Lee emphasized that his ministers and him will always protect the integrity of Singapore’s public institutions. He stressed that they will always uphold the strict standards separating private affairs from their public duties.
Most importantly, PM Lee assured Singaporeans that this issue will not distract the government from their responsibility to govern Singapore.
Mark that date: 3rd July
We hope that MPs will ask PM incisive questions regarding this issue when Parliament next sits. If there is anything that we need to be concerned about, we hope the questions will ferret them out. If not, we hope that the questions and answers will prove conclusively that the government has nothing to hide, the government’s integrity has been, and will be, upheld, and assure Singaporeans that the government will remain focussed on dealing with important national issues.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has also uploaded the statement in full.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the statement on 38 Oxley Road on 19 June 2017.
Good evening. Over the last week, Singaporeans have been disturbed and confused by news of the private dispute between my siblings and me. I deeply regret that this dispute has affected Singapore’s reputation and Singaporeans’ confidence in the Government.
As your Prime Minister, I apologise to you for this. And as the eldest of the siblings, it grieves me to think of the anguish that this would have caused our parents if they were still alive.
I had done everything possible to avoid this state of affairs. My father left the property at 38 Oxley Road to me as part of my equal share of his estate, but my siblings were not happy about this. I tried to deal with their unhappiness privately. I offered to transfer 38 Oxley Rd to my sister for a nominal $1. Unfortunately that offer failed. I then sold the house to my brother at a fair market valuation, and donated all my proceeds to charity.
I had hoped that this would satisfy them. There should be no reason for any further quarrel, since I no longer own the house and I do not take part in any Government decisions on the house. However, my siblings have decided to go out and make serious allegations publicly. For example, they say that I am using my position as Prime Minister to influence the Ministerial Committee chaired by DPM Teo Chee Hean. These allegations go beyond private and personal matters, and extend to the conduct of my office and the integrity of the Government.
Much as I would like to move on, and end a most unhappy experience for Singaporeans, these baseless accusations against the Government cannot be left unanswered. They must be and will be dealt with openly and refuted.
When Parliament sits on 3 July 2017, I will make a Ministerial Statement to refute the charges. All MPs will then have the opportunity to raise questions for themselves and their constituents. I have instructed that the PAP party whip be lifted. I urge all MPs, including the non-PAP MPs, to examine the issues thoroughly and question me and my Cabinet colleagues vigorously. I hope that this full, public airing in Parliament will dispel any doubts that have been planted and strengthen confidence in our institutions and our system of government.
I want to assure all Singaporeans that this matter will not distract me and my Cabinet colleagues from our responsibility to govern Singapore, and to deal with more important national issues, including the pressing economic and security challenges we face.
As public servants, my Ministers and I will always protect the integrity of our institutions, and uphold the strict standards separating private affairs from our public duties. We are determined to repair the damage that has been done to Singapore. We will continue to lead our nation and serve you to the best of our ability.