June 25, 2017

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YOU may be up to date with the latest famiLEE news, but are you up to speed on what else is happening in Singapore? The past few days also had news on the arrest of two Singaporean auxiliary police officers under the ISA, a report that long-term unemployment rates have increased, a Singaporean teenager setting a world powerlifting record, report that obesity rates have increased and the G said that new laws to battle fake news will be out next year.

We’ve summarised these developments in bite-sized form:

1. Terrorism: Two more Singaporeans arrested under ISA; radical publications banned

Two Aetos auxiliary police officers were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in May, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) revealed yesterday (Jun 20). Muhammad Khairul Mohamed, 24, has been detained for planning to fight against Shi’ites alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA) militia in Syria. His colleague Mohamad Rizal Wahid, 36, has been issued a Restriction Order (RO) for failing to report Khairul and suggesting ways to get to Syria.

Separately, the G has banned nine publications by extremist Singaporean preacher Rasul Dahri under the Undesirable Publishing Act, the Ministry for Communications and Information announced yesterday. In some of his works, the preacher called for Muslims to reject secularism and establish an Islamic state. The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) called Rasul Dahri “exclusivist” and “hardline”, advising Muslims to “avoid such teachings”.

2. Economy: 2017 growth forecast raised, exports shrunk, no improvement in long-term unemployment

There’s mixed news in the economic sphere. The job market remains tough as long-term unemployment is at an eight-year high of 0.8 per cent in March, up by 0.1 percentage point from a year ago. The majority of those retrenched are professionals, managers, executives and technicians, who are also finding it difficult to re-enter the workforce.

There are some silver linings though. Unemployment in the first quarter was lower than projected by the Ministry of Manpower. Some 4,000 workers were laid off between January and March, down by nearly 1,500 from a year ago. And projections for economic growth are up, with private sector economists predicting 2.5 per cent growth, up from their forecast of 2.3 per cent in March.

3. Sports: Singapore Athletics feud; SG teen sets powerlifting record

Disputes between Singapore Athletics (SA) and track and field coach Ms Margaret Oh over the schedule for Ms Shanti Pereira’s training sessions and participation in events have been resolved. Ms Margaret Oh is the coach of 200m champion Ms Pereira, who won gold at the 2015 SEA games. Ms Pereira told The Straits Times on Monday (Jun 19) that “they had a good, positive discussion.” Both Ms Oh and Ms Pereira have agreed to join the pre-SEA Games centralised training camp next month. Ms Pereira will be competing in the Women’s 100m and 200m at this year’s SEA Games.

On a happier note, 17-year-old Mr Matthew Yap set a new world squat record at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Minsek, Belarus on Sunday. He lifted 208kg in his third attempt, overtaking Kazakhstan’s Mr Dmitriy Chebanov on the leaderboard to win a Gold medal. In addition to the win, Mr Yap has also won a bronze medal in the bench press and a silver medal for the overall standing in the competition.

4. Health: Obesity and STIs

Singapore is a makan paradise for the foodies. But overeating can take a toll on the health of the average Singaporean. Findings from the Health Promotion Board (HPB) showed that while Singaporeans are exercising more, they are also eating more. Six in 10 are exceeding the recommended food intake.

What’s worrying is that obesity rates could reach 15 per cent in seven years. ST reported that on average, the median body mass index (BMI) score for adults last year was 23.15 – outside of the healthy range.

In other health news, the Department of Sexually Transmitted Infections Control (DSC) Clinic recently released figures that showed an increase in adolescents getting diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STI). In 2015, 421 boys and girls aged 10 to 19 contracted STIs. The year before there were 391 cases. This is an increase of 8 per cent from the year before, reported The Straits Times. The highest number of cases occurred in 2007 with 820 adolescents contracting STIs. Since then, the figure had been on a steady decline. Experts suggest that while adolescents here are generally aware that condoms are used as protection against STI, many simply choose to forgo using condoms.

5. Law: Fake news laws likely out next year

The G has decided to come up with new laws to battle fake news, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam said on Monday at the opening of a two-day conference on fake news. Mr Shanmugam cited a poll by the G which showed the need for such laws. He said:“Around two-thirds [of Singaporeans] could not recognise fake news when they first saw it. And only around half are confident of their own ability to recognise fake news.”
In an ideal case, “most misinformation will be dealt with through a resilient society, responsible and effective media, and the innovation of Internet companies”. But in reality, the Minister said: “We cannot always rely on the content standards of the Internet giants… The Government will also need to update our toolbox.”

To achieve this, Minister Shanmugam said the G had surveyed the positions of three other jurisdictions: the European Union, Germany, and Israel. These jurisdictions are considering laws to compel social networks to take down illicit content.

 

Text by Sharanya Pillai, Danielle Goh, and Johannes Tjendro.

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Suhaile Md and Sharanya Pillai

MUSLIM sectarianism has reached Singapore.

AETOS Auxiliary Police Officer Muhammad Khairul bin Mohamed wanted to fly to Syria to “fight against the Shi’ites” there by “joining the Free Syrian Army (FSA)”, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earlier today (Jun 20). The 24 year-old was issued with an Order of Detention (OD) under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Khairul’s colleague Mohamad Rizal bin Wahid was issued with a Restriction Order (RO) for “supporting” his “intentions” added MHA. Rizal is 36 years-old.

Khairul’s duties in Traffic Enforcement Division did not require him to be armed. Rizal, however, was an armed officer who conducted general security duties. “Rizal did not share Khairul’s desire to participate in armed violence”, said MHA. Both were deployed at Woodlands checkpoint.

An OD allows the G to detain Khairul without an open court trial for up to two years. The order can be “extended for a further period or periods not exceeding two years at a time”, as stipulated by the ISA. Under the RO, Rizal will not be allowed to change his residence and employment, or travel abroad without the prior approval of the Director of the Internal Security Division. He will also have to undergo compulsory religious counselling. It is not clear what Rizal’s job status is currently.* Khairul and Rizal were fired from AETOS on Jun 1. 

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Khairul’s radicalisation began online in 2012. He wanted to know more about the conflict in Syria after reading about it on mainstream media.

Said MHA: “He developed the view that the conflict in Syria was a sectarian struggle between Sunni Islam and Shi’ite Islam, and being a Sunni Muslim, he wanted to fight against the Shi’ites in Syria.”

Khairul saw the Syrian conflict as a “holy war” and he was prepared to die fighting in a bid to “receive divine rewards”, added MHA. So he planned to join the FSA, a group that aims to overthrow the “Syrian government led by President Bashar Al-Assad, who is backed by the minority Shi’ite Alawite sect”. In 2014, he “tried to reach out” to a foreign militant and “two other individuals whom he believed to be FSA supporters”, to figure out how to reach Syria.

Rizal had known about Khairul’s intentions since 2015 when Khairul confided in him. But Rizal did not report his colleague to AETOS management and instead “suggested to Khairul various ways to get to Syria and to die there as a ‘martyr’.”

“As an Auxiliary Police Officer, [Rizal] should have been aware of the prevailing terrorism threat and his failure to dissuade Khairul and report him to his superior officer was a serious lapse of judgment,” MHA said.

But Rizal was not the only one who knew of Khairul’s intentions. “Several relatives and friends knew of his intention to fight in Syria, but none of them came forward.” It’s not clear if MHA will take any actions against them. Neither is it clear if his family knew about his radicalisation.

MHA added that it takes seriously “anyone who supports, promotes, undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence” regardless of where the violence takes place and especially if the individual is a public servant or a uniformed officer. This extends to anyone who “supports or abets another person’s radicalisation or intention to undertake violence”.

Over 457,000 Muslims reside here according to the G’s 2010 population census, the vast majority of whom are Sunni. Globally, up to 13 per cent of Muslims are Shi’ite. There are no firm numbers in Singapore, but a 2009 Pew report estimated less than 1 per cent of Muslims here are Shi’ites. According to a 1988 fatwa (ruling) issued by the Islamic Religious council of Singapore (Muis), Shi’ites are Muslims. The fatwa remains valid to this day.

It’s not clear what Khairul’s thoughts are on the minority Shi’ite community in Singapore. But a TMG investigation in May revealed that Shi’ite-Sunni relations in Singapore could be better. Read more here.

To report concerns about someone who seems to be radicalised, call the Counter-Terrorism Centre hotline at 1800-2626-473 (1800-2626-ISD).

Other ISA arrests since 2016:

On Jun 12, 2017, MHA revealed that it had arrested the first radicalised woman in Singapore. Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari (Izzah) was planning to take her 4 year-old daughter with her to war-torn Syria and marry an ISIS fighter.

On August 19, 2016, MHA said that four self radicalised individuals were arrested for their intention to move to Syria and fight there.

On July 29, 2016, MHA said that Zulfikar Shariff was arrested and detained for joining the hardline Hizbut Tahrir organisation in Australia, among other things like showing support for extremists online.

On May 3, 2016, MHA announced the arrest of eight other Bangladeshis who were planning to overthrow the government in Bangladesh.

On March 16, 2016, four more people were arrested under the ISA. Three of them took part in the sectarian conflict in Yemen, although one of them only did “sentry duties” and “did not fire” said MHA. The fourth was arrested for intending to join Kurdish militia to fight against ISIS in the Middle East.

On January 20, 2016, MHA said that 27 Bangladeshis were arrested in late 2015 for recruitment attempts as well as possessing materials that taught how to kill.

*The MHA update that Khairul and Rizal had lost their jobs on Jun 1 was received after publication.

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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FINALLY some light is shed on the ministerial committee. It was set up and chaired by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean. (The Straits Times, Jun 17) The committee includes Minister for Culture and Community and Youth Grace Fu, Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

And now, there’s the revelation that the Mr Shanmugam had previously corresponded with the younger Lee siblings on the house and is now sitting on the committee. In a brief Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam shot down Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s suggestions of a conflict of interest as “ridiculous”. DPM Teo Chee Hean has also said that there is “nothing secret” about the committee.

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The developments have drawn even more high-profile names into the saga, joining a motley mix including Singapore’s new Attorney-General (A-G), several lawyers and a personal aide. If you’re losing track of who’s who, we’ve got a list of the key actors and some questions that can be asked of them right here:

Cabinet ministers: Mr Lawrence Wong, DPM Teo Chee Hean and Mr K Shanmugam

In a joint statement on Jun 14, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling raised a serious allegation against PM Lee that also involved Minister Wong.

They said: “We were shocked to see that Hsien Loong had used his position as Prime Minister to obtain a copy of the Deed of Gift from Minister Wong, which Hsien Loong then passed to his personal lawyer to advance his personal agenda.” Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had executed a Deed of Gift in 2015 with the National Heritage Board for a public exhibition of items from their family home. PM Lee has denied all allegations, while Minister Wong has not responded to this.

After PM Lee posted his summary of Statutory Declarations on Facebook, Dr Lee Wei Ling promptly responded by sharing three screenshots of private correspondences involving Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mrs Lee Suet Fern, and Mr Shanmugam, amongst others. One of the emails shows an intriguing email from Mrs Lee Suet Fern to Minister Shanmugam about persuading Dr Lee Wei Ling to reconcile with her father (read about it here).

Even DPM Teo was briefly mentioned in the PM’s summary of his Statutory Declarations. PM Lee said that: “I was so struck by the sequence of volunteered statements that on 23 April 2015, 11 days later, I recounted to DPM Teo Chee Hean in my office what had happened at the reading of the Last Will, including what LSF had said.”

And now, there’s the DPM’s latest announcement of his and the two other Cabinet ministers’ role in the ministerial committee. In response to this, Mr Lee Hsien Yang questioned if Mr Shanmugam had a “conflict of interest” in advising on the “options to help achieve [Mr] Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes, and the drafting of the demolition wish” while being part of the committee. Mr Shanmugam has blasted his allegation: “I was already a Cabinet Minister when I spoke with some members of the Lee family — at their behest — and gave them my views. They were not my clients. Nothing that I said then precludes me from serving in this Committee.”

It has not been confirmed that a copy of the Deed of Gift was handed over to Minister Wong. Would there be a paper trail to indicate the handover? Is there any documentation to show on what grounds the G took over the Deed of Gift?

Ms Kwa Kim Li

Managing partner of Lee&Lee Advocates and Solicitors, and the niece of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wife Mrs Kwa Geok Choo. She prepared the previous six versions of the will.

Previously, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said in a Facebook post: “Stamford Law did not draft any will for LKY. The will was drafted by Kwa Kim Li of Lee & Lee. Paragraph 7 of the Will was drafted at LKY’s direction, and put into language by Lee Suet Fern, his daughter in law and when he was satisfied he asked Kim Li to insert into his will.” However, Ms Kwa has told The Straits Times that she did not prepare the last will. (Jun 16)

To this date, it is still unclear who drafted the final will. At around 2pm today (Jun 17), Mr Lee Hsien Yang explained that “My father’s Final Will of December 2013 was a reversion to his 2011 will on his express instructions. The 2011 will was drafted by Ms Kwa Kim Li of Lee & Lee[…]” PM Lee and Ms Kwa have not responded to this.

According to PM Lee’s Statutory Declarations, Mrs Lee Suet Fern sent an email on Dec 16, 2013, 7.08pm to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and copied Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Ms Kwa. The email contained a previous version of the will stating that all three children would receive equal shares. Mr Lee Kuan Yew gave each child an equal share in the estate under the first will. Ms Kwa was allegedly out of the loop, and replaced by Ms Wong Lin Hoe, Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s private secretary, after LHY emailed Mr Lee Kuan Yew that Ms Kwa was “away” and that it’s not “wise to wait till she is back.” PM Lee claimed that the next day, Ms Kwa told Mrs Lee Suet Fern that “she did not seem to have received this email.” This has not been confirmed by Ms Kwa.

If Ms Kwa did not receive the email from Mr Lee Hsien Loong about the changes for the last will, was she in Singapore during that time or overseas? Were there any other attempts to contact her? Since Ms Kwa drafted previous versions of the will except for the last one, it would be relevant to ask her this: Why did Mr Lee Kuan Yew remove the Demolition Clause in the fifth and sixth will?

Ms Wong Lin Hoe

Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s long-time private secretary. She helped to make arrangements for the last will after Ms Kwa was out of the loop on Dec 16, 2013. The last will included the Demolition Clause that was previously removed from the fifth and sixth wills.

The clause is the most contentious part of the will. PM Lee said that Mr Lee Kuan Yew “gave instructions to remove the Demolition Clause.” In a speech to the parliament, PM Lee said that in Dec 2011, Mr Lee Kuan Yew attended a “special Cabinet meeting” to “discuss 38 Oxley Road.”

After the meeting, Mr Lee Kuan Yew wrote to the Cabinet: “Cabinet members were unanimous that 38 Oxley Road should not be demolished as I wanted. I have reflected on this and decided that if 38 Oxley Road is to be preserved, it needs to have its foundations reinforced and the whole building refurbished. It must then be let out for people to live in. An empty building will soon decline and decay.”

However, in a joint statement released by Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, Mr Lee Kuan Yew was reportedly “despondent” and told Dr Lee Wei Ling that: “I should not have listened to Loong and gone to meet Cabinet.”

PM Lee said that he “only learnt about the contents of the last will on April 12, 2015, when it was read out to the family.”

PM Lee also claimed that at 8.12pm, Dec 16, 2013, Mrs Lee Suet Fern sent an email to Ms Wong and copied Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mr Bernard Lui, a lawyer from Mrs Lee’s law firm, Stamford Law Corporation [now Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC]. In the email, Ms Wong was reportedly informed that Mr Lui “had the will ready for execution” and that Ms Wong could contact Mr Lui “to make arrangements for the signing of the will.” The next morning (Dec 17), two lawyers from Stamford Law Corporation, Mr Lui and Ms Elizabeth Kong, witnessed Mr Lee Kuan Yew signing the last will. PM Lee claimed that Ms Wong was not present at the signing of the last will.

Later in the afternoon, Ms Wong emailed Mr Lee Kuan Yew stating that “We have received a faxed copy of the signed document for Mr Lee to re-read in the office”. Questions were raised by PM Lee on how Ms Wong would know that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had read the will, if she was supposedly not present when Mr Lee Kuan Yew signed the last will. It is not confirmed if Ms Wong was there to witness the signing.

Mr Lucien Wong

At around 7am today (Jun 17), Mr Lee Hsien Yang once again retaliated in a Facebook post. This time, he showed a comparison of contradictory statements by PM Lee on how Mr Lee Kuan Yew felt about having monuments to himself after his death. What’s noteworthy is the second quote from a letter by A-G Wong to the lawyers of Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling. A-G Wong was PM Lee’s personal lawyer at that time. He was recently sworn in as A-G on Jan 16, this year, and will be serving a three-year term. The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is led by the A-G, and is the principal legal adviser to the government.

Along with this picture, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said in the post: “Lucien Wong was LHL’s personal lawyer, and now the Attorney-General of Singapore.”

And from the younger siblings’ joint statement referencing the Deed of Gift: “However, after the gift’s acceptance we soon received letters with spurious objections from Hsien Loong’s then personal lawyer, Lucien Wong. Lucien Wong was made Singapore’s Attorney-General in January 2017.”

There’s an insinuation that A-G Wong may not have been appointed for purely meritocratic reasons (read more here).

It behoves the AGC to issue a public statement to clear his name and office. Why is A-G Wong still silent?

Stamford Law Corporation lawyers

Mr Bernard Lui is a partner in Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC, formerly known as Stamford Law Corporation. In an email Mrs Lee Suet Fern sent to Ms Wong, which she copied to Mr Lui, it was mentioned that Mr Lui “had the [last] will ready for execution.” The email also instructed Ms Wong to contact Mr Lui directly to “make arrangements for the singing of the will.” Mr Lui, together with another lawyer from Stamford Law, Ms Elizabeth Kong, went to 38 Oxley Road on Dec 17, 2013 to witness Mr Lee Kuan Yew signing the will.

Mr Lui and Mr Ng Joo Khin, also a lawyer from Stamford Law Corporation, were present for the reading of the last will on April 12, 2013. At the reading, PM Lee reported that Mrs Lee Suet Fern said that while Mr Lee Kuan Yew had asked her to prepare the last will, she did not want to be “personally involved”. Thus, she got Mr Ng to handle the preparations for the last will instead. However, while reading the email correspondence on the preparation of the final will, PM Lee said that “there was nothing to show that Mr Ng Joo Khin [NJK] had been involved in the preparation of the Last Will as LSF had claimed during the reading of the Last Will.”

According to Ms Lee Suet Fern’s email, Mr Lui had the final will ready. Surely he should know who drafted it? Or the other lawyer who witnessed. Do either of them know who drafted the will? And finally, a question for all who were involved: Have any of them been summoned by the internal ministerial committee to give statements?

More questions are raised as both sides continue to hurl allegations at each other. So far, PM Lee has raised suspicions about the involvement of Mrs Lee Suet Fern in preparing the last will. While Mr Lee Hsien Yang has maintained that Stamford Law did not draft the final will. More significantly, we now know more about the ministerial committee.

 

Updated June 18: The famiLEE affair has been brewing for a while now. Read our articles on the issue:

  1. FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it” (Jun 18)
  2. FamiLEE saga: Who’s involved (Jun 17)
  3. FamiLEE saga: Is a grant of probate really final? (Jun 17)
  4. FamiLEE saga: Somebody should just sue (Jun 17)
  5. FamiLEE saga: PM Lee’s version of events (Jun 16) 
  6. FamiLEE saga: Let a third party tell all (Jun 16)
  7. FamiLEE saga: The past three days (Jun 16)
  8. FamiLEE saga: How Lee Suet Fern got LWL her inheritance, according to leaked emails (Jun 15)
  9. FamiLEE saga: Singaporeans react with confusion, humour and CSI skills (Jun 15)
  10. FamiLEE saga: From 38 Oxley Road to 1 Parliament Place, not just a family affair (Jun 15)
  11. FamiLEE saga: Headlines around the world (Jun 15)
  12. FamiLEE saga: Now about that mysterious ministerial committee (Jun 15)
  13. Not just a famiLEE affair (Jun 14)
  14. Third generation Lee weighs in (Jun 14)
  15. “We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.” (Jun 14)

 

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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by Deanna Nabilah and Sharanya Pillai

IN A recent salvo against the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Yang insisted that the last Will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew is “final and legally-binding”, because it had been granted probate in Oct 6, 2015. Since then the word “probate” has dominated the news, being frequently used by the younger Mr Lee and his sister as a defence of the need to demolish 38 Oxley Road.

But is it impossible to challenge the probate in court? Lawyers TMG spoke to noted that it is possible to mount a challenge, just that there would be significant challenges.

1. What exactly is a grant of probate?

Wills are meant to be relatively straightforward documents, laying out the division of assets of the deceased. But not everything always goes to plan. This is where probate – a court process establishing the validity of a will – comes in handy.

According to lawyer Alyssa Mundo, who focuses on family law at Yeo & Associates, a will may not be fully recognised if it is not properly executed as per the Wills Act – for instance, if “there wasn’t any witness to the will” or the will was not carried out proper. Applying for a grant of probate in such cases would then require the will to be “proved” as valid and accepted as reflective of the deceased’s final wishes.

Corporate litigation lawyer Ronald Wong, from Covenant Chambers, explained that there are two different ways to prove a will in probate applications. The “common form” is a “straightforward application”, while the “solemn form” involves calling on witnesses to testify that the will represents the intentions of the deceased testator, and that the testator had the capacity to make a will.

The latter is an option for Executors of a will who foresee that the validity of the will might be questioned or challenged in future, he noted. If a will is proved by solemn form, this means that it becomes harder to challenge the grant of probate. It is not clear which form of probate was granted for Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will.

2. Under what circumstances can probate be challenged?

The grant of probate can be revoked or amended if there are “sufficient causes”, according to the Probate and Administrative Act. However, Ms Mundo said that even that would be hard to prove because the “part on ‘sufficient causes’ is not defined in the act [Probate and Administration Act]”. The court also has discretion in such cases.

She added that the courts have, through previous cases, regarded “sufficient causes” as “undue and improper administration in total disregard of the interests of the beneficiaries.” The test is an objective one, which means that the court will evaluate if a reasonable person in the Executor’s position may have acted a certain way.

Some possible grounds for challenging probate include arguing that the will was forged, that the deceased lacked “mental capacity”, or that someone had exercised “undue influence on [the] deceased [such] that he or she was not really operating out of their free will at that time”, Mr Wong noted.

The Wills Act provides a guideline that probate can be challenged up to six months after it is granted. But lawyers interviewed by The Straits Times noted that one can still challenge a probate beyond that time frame, if “special reasons” are provided. (Jun 17) The final decision however, still depends on the discretion of the court.

3. Could conflicts of interest be an issue in this case?

Lawyers TMG spoke to declined to comment on the specifics of the Lee siblings’ dispute. But when asked if getting a relative to draft a will may present a conflict of interest, Mr Wong said that may not necessarily invalidate the will.

“[Beneficiaries] and certain immediate family members of the beneficiaries under the will are not supposed to be witnesses to the will,” he said. “But there is no necessary impairment of the deceased’s intention or will-making power as it were, just because the person drafting the will was a family member of a beneficiary, or there is some so-called potential interest in it.”

“However, a beneficiary or immediate family member of a beneficiary drafting the will may raise suspicious circumstances which make it harder for the party proving the will.”

Ultimately, challenging a probate still “goes back to the question of whether the will reflect the deceased person’s intention, and whether he was under any undue influence, or duress or whatever that impairs that intention”, Mr Wong added.

Much of the Lees’ public spat now centres on who drafted the final will. In his Facebook note, the PM raised suspicions about how the final will was drafted by Stamford Law, as Mrs Lee Suet Fern’s firm was then known. Mr Lee Hsien Yang then shot back neither his wife nor his company were involved in drafting Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will.

It remains to be seen how this conflict of interest element of the case might play out, as the saga continues to unfold.

 

Updated June 18: The famiLEE affair has been brewing for a while now. Read our articles on the issue:

  1. FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it” (Jun 18)
  2. FamiLEE saga: Who’s involved (Jun 17)
  3. FamiLEE saga: Is a grant of probate really final? (Jun 17)
  4. FamiLEE saga: Somebody should just sue (Jun 17)
  5. FamiLEE saga: PM Lee’s version of events (Jun 16) 
  6. FamiLEE saga: Let a third party tell all (Jun 16)
  7. FamiLEE saga: The past three days (Jun 16)
  8. FamiLEE saga: How Lee Suet Fern got LWL her inheritance, according to leaked emails (Jun 15)
  9. FamiLEE saga: Singaporeans react with confusion, humour and CSI skills (Jun 15)
  10. FamiLEE saga: From 38 Oxley Road to 1 Parliament Place, not just a family affair (Jun 15)FamiLEE saga: Headlines around the world (Jun 15)
  11. FamiLEE saga: Now about that mysterious ministerial committee (Jun 15)
  12. Not just a famiLEE affair (Jun 14)
  13. Third generation Lee weighs in (Jun 14)“We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.” (Jun 14)

 

Featured image from Google user Nick Youngson. CC BY-SA 3.0 

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by Danielle Goh, Johannes Tjendro and Sharanya Pillai

IN REBUTTING his siblings’ allegations, the Prime Minister held back on neither the severity of his words nor the word count. In a 3991-word Facebook note, PM Lee Hsien Loong summarised the Statutory Declaration he made to the ministerial committee overseeing the fate of 38 Oxley Road, ending with a list of questions about what he said were suspicious circumstances surrounding the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s final Will.

PM Lee’s account is filled with anecdotes of email exchanges and allegations of curious behaviour, spanning across a total of two years. Perhaps more significantly, the statement was made under Oath, which means it can’t be easily dismissed. We lay out the sequence of events he described in chronological order:

 

Aug 20, 2011 – Demolition Clause’s origin

The Demolition Clause first appeared on Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s first Will. This Will gave each child an equal share of his Estate.

Date unspecified – Removal of Demolition Clause

The Demolition Clause remained in the second, third, and fourth wills. Mr Lee Kuan Yew had then given instructions to remove the Demolition Clause. It was absent in the fifth and sixth wills.

Nov 2, 2012 – The sixth Will

The sixth Will was signed, which gave Dr Lee Wei Ling an extra share of the Estate.

Dec 16, 2013, 7.08pm – Lee Suet Fern into the picture

Mrs Lee Suet Fern sent an email to Mr Lee Kuan Yew discussing the will, copying Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Ms Kwa Kim Li [who is a cousin of the Lee siblings]:

Dear Pa Pa

This was the original agreed Will which ensures that all 3 children receive equal shares, taking into account the relative valuations (as at the date of demise) of the properties each receives.

Kim Li

Grateful if you could please engross.

Mrs Lee appeared to have attached a file titled <LAST_WILL-LKY-Draft of 19 August 2011.DOC>.

Dec 16, 2013, 7.31pm – Kwa Kim Li out of the loop

Mr Lee Hsien Yang replied to the email. But this time, he replaced Ms Kwa with Ms Wong Lin Hoe (WLH), his private secretary:

Pa

I couldn’t get in touch with Kim Li. I believe she is away. I don’t think it is wise to wait till she is back. I think all you need is a witness to sign the will. Fern can get one of her partners to come round with an engrossed copy of the will to execute and witness. They can coordinate it with Lin Hoe for a convenient time.

PM Lee was not clear with “what efforts LHY or LSF had made to get in touch with KKL”. Neither was he clear with “why LHY thought there was an urgency to the matter”. It was nevertheless interesting to PM Lee that Mr Lee Hsien Yang “suggested that his wife, clearly an interested party, and her partners would prepare the new will”.

Ms Kwa subsequently told Mrs Lee the following afternoon (Dec 17), having learnt what had happened, that “she did not seem to have received LSF’s Email.”

Dec 16, 2013, 8.12pm – Wong Lin Hoe to make arrangements for signing of the Will

Mrs Lee Suet Fern sent an email to Ms Wong, copying Mr Lee Hsien Yang and a colleague at Stamford Law Corporation [today known as Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC], Mr Bernard Lui, to “inform WLH that BL had the will ready for execution and that WLH could reach BL directly to make arrangements for the signing of the will”. PM Lee believes that this was done before any response from Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

Dec 16, 2013, 9.42pm – LKY agreed to sign the new Will

Mr Lee Kuan Yew replied the email and “acquiesced to LHY’s suggestion not to wait for KKL and agreed with LHY’s suggestion to sign the new will”.

Dec 17, 2013, 11.05 am – LKY signed his last Will

Mr Bernard Lui and Ms Elizabeth Kong, lawyers from Stamford Law sent by Mrs Lee Suet Fern, arrived at 38 Oxley Road.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew signed his final Will. Unlike his previous six wills, this one was not prepared by Ms Kwa. The final Will includes the Demolition Clause, which had been removed from the previous two versions. PM Lee said that Mr Lee Kuan Yew might not have been aware that the Clause was reinstated.

Dec 17, 2013, 11.20am – Lawyers from Stamford Law witnessed the signing

The two lawyers were only at the house for 15 minutes and “plainly came only to witness Mr Lee signing the Last Will and not to advise him”.

Dec 17 2013, afternoon – Wong Lin Hoe received fax copy of the last Will

Ms Wong received a fax copy of the last Will, and then sent Mr Lee Kuan Yew an email saying: We have received a faxed copy of the signed document for Mr Lee to re-read in the office”.

PM Lee thinks that this is suspicious because Ms Wong “was not present when Mr Lee signed the Last Will and could not have known whether he had read it in the first place”, and there was no indication that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had asked her for a copy.

Dr Lee and PM Lee were not copied in the emails on Dec 16 and 17.

Jan 3, 2014, 10:30am – Wong Lin Hoe sent email with LKY’s codicil attached

Ms Wong sent an email to Mrs Lee Suet Fern copying Mr Lee Kuan Yew, PM Lee, Dr Lee, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, Ms Ho Ching, and Ms Kwa, attaching a copy of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s codicil. A codicil is a legal document containing additional clauses to a will. The codicil dealt with the bequest of carpets, and thus PM Lee “did not feel that there was any need” to read the whole email chain.

PM Lee revisited this email thread after he spoke in Parliament on May 13, 2015. He “looked up old family emails” only after hearing the last Will and a dispute between PM Lee and siblings on making the full Demolition Clause public had escalated.

July 2014 – Dr Lee emailed Ho Ching about her extra share of the Estate

Dr Lee emailed Ms Ho Ching that “Mr Lee [Kuan Yew] had told her [LWL] a couple of years ago that he had left her an extra share of the Estate”.

“Many months later”, Dr Lee raised suspicions about Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee to Ms Ho. He quoted messages from Dr Lee:

If that is what Pa wants, so be it. But I don’t trust Fern, n she has great influence on Yang”; “Later, Fern sent a “sweet” email to kim li about what had been done”; “If it is Pa’s decision, I am ok with it. But I hv a sense that Yang played me out”; “I was very upset that Yang did it to me”; and “I would hv preferred that it was 3 equal lots all along without needing to suspect Yang and Fern. The money I don’t get does not upset me. It is that yang and fern would do this to me”.

Thus, it appeared to PM Lee that: “LWL herself believed that LHY and LSF did her in by either suggesting or facilitating the removal of her extra share, which happened the Last Will prepared in great haste by LSF and her law firm.”

PM Lee recounted that later on: “LWL admitted that she had been suspicious as to whether the change in shares was really Mr Lee’s decision or one that was instigated by LHY and LSF but claimed that she no longer held this suspicion. But she did not explain how or why her suspicions had now come to be so conveniently dispelled.”

PM Lee was of the opinion that: “LSF’s Email distinctly and clearly gave Mr Lee [Kuan Yew] the impression that the new will would change only the division of shares, with the result that each child would have an equal share, just like in the First Will. Yet, the Last Will that LSF and her law firm prepared and got Mr Lee [Kuan Yew] to sign went beyond that.”

Significantly, the demolition clause was re-inserted.

Apr 12, 2015 – Last Will read out to the family

PM Lee heard the contents of the last Will when it was read out to the family. The three siblings, Mrs Lee Suet Fern, Ms Ho and two lawyers from Stamford Law, Mr Lui and Mr Ng Joo Khin, were present. PM Lee was struck by how Mrs Lee voluntarily said that Mr Lee Kuan Yew had asked her to prepare the last Will, but to avoid conflicts of interest, she had gotten Mr Ng to do it. Mr Lui then said that he had been a witness at the signing of the Last Will. PM Lee further alleged that their statements looked “rehearsed”.

Mr Lui checked the will and confirmed it was the one he had witnessed. Mr Ng read out the will.

At the reading, Mr Lee Hsien Yang “repeatedly insisted on the immediate demolition of the house”. PM Lee disagreed, saying that the announcement might make the G gazette the site. The dispute ended when Ms Ho asked Dr Lee if she wanted to continue living in the house – to which the latter said “yes”.

Apr 13, 2015, between 1:30pm – 5:41pm –  PM Lee’s statement in Parliament

PM Lee read out in Parliament Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s letter dated Dec 27, 2011, and the Demolition Clause of the final Will. Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang had “strenuously objected” to the Clause being made public, claiming of the Official Secrets Act. The Official Secrets Act is an act to prevent the disclosure of official documents and information.

PM Lee “also told Parliament that the Government would only consider the question of what to do with the House as and when LWL ceased to live in it”.

Apr 23, 2015 – DPM Teo in the loop

Because PM Lee was “so struck” by the volunteered statements, he recounted it to Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean.

May 13, 2015 – Codicil resurfaced

PM Lee asked Mr Lee Hsien Yang about the codicil, and he replied that PM Lee had been copied in a previous email thread. PM Lee was unable to locate it, and obtained a forwarded copy of Ms Wong Lin Hoe’s email containing the codicil, dated Jan 3, 2014, from Mr Lee. PM Lee claimed that Mr Lee “cut out and did not send me [PM Lee] the incriminating exchanges in the email chain that followed which showed LHY’s and LSF’s involvement in the making of the Last Will in December 2013.”

It therefore appeared to PM Lee that Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife had “believed that I [PM Lee] had not paid attention to these matters [the different wills and the varying terms each of them contained], nor fully appreciated the import of the 16 and 17 December 2013 emails.”

Looking for the codicil led PM Lee to review the 16 and 17 December 2013 emails between Ms Lee Suet Fern and Ms Wong Lin Hoe in preparation for the last Will. PM Lee claimed that “there was nothing to show that Mr Ng Joo Khin [NJK] had been involved in the preparation of the Last Will as LSF had claimed during the reading of the Last Will.”

He added that: “I am also not aware of anything which shows that NJK had met or communicated with Mr Lee on the Last Will. I therefore do not understand how Mr Lee could have given instructions to NJK on the preparation of the Last Will.

June 2015 – PM Lee obtained first six wills

Ms Kwa provided PM Lee with the family copies of the first six wills, with explanations from Mr Lee Kuan Yew on why he executed these wills. It was only then that he was able to compare the previous wills to the final one.

End of Aug 2015 – Ho Ching found old emails from Dr Lee

Amid the dispute, Ms Ho Ching went to check old emails and found the Jul 2014 emails where Dr Lee raised suspicions about Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern.

By this time, PM Lee felt “very troubled by the circumstances surrounding the Last Will”.

Even then, PM Lee “was prepared not to delve further into those circumstances if the disputes within the family could be resolved amicably and privately”. Thus, to address Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s expressed unhappiness that 38 Oxley Road was bequeathed to PM Lee, he then offered to transfer it to Dr Lee for a nominal $1, under the condition that if the property were to subsequently be transacted or taken over by the G, all proceeds should be donated to charity. But the siblings did not reach a consensus.

Furthermore, PM Lee claimed that: “Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang threatened to escalate their attacks against me, coinciding with the September 2015 General Elections. I was not prepared to be intimidated.”

Sept 2015 – “My questions… went unanswered”: PM Lee

PM Lee made enquiries into circumstances surrounding signing of the last Will, but says that “contrary to what my siblings claim, my questions… went unanswered”.

Sept 2015 (after the General Elections) – Consensus reached to transfer 38 Oxley Road

Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang agreed to PM Lee’s latest proposal to transfer 38 Oxley Road to Mr Lee Hsien Yang at full market value, with the same condition that both brothers donate half the value to charity each. PM Lee proceeded to donate half of the value of 38 Oxley Road to charity. He further claimed that: “Although not required under the agreement, I also donated a sum equivalent to the other half of the value of 38 Oxley Road to charity.” However, PM Lee believed that “LHY was and continues to be unhappy about” PM Lee’s insistence not to retain proceeds from the house. PM Lee noted that Dr Lee now appeared to be unhappy as well.

 

At the end of his statement, PM Lee then summarises his main contentions with the signing of the last will, and expresses “grave concerns” over the Demolition Clause. However, what is also noteworthy is that in Dec 2015, the three siblings released a joint statement announcing the brothers’ donations and expressing hope that the 38 Oxley Road will be demolished.

Mr Lee says that he acted to keep a family dispute private, but his siblings argue otherwise. The saga continues.

 

Updated June 18: The famiLEE affair has been brewing for a while now. Read our articles on the issue:

  1. FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it” (Jun 18)
  2. FamiLEE saga: Who’s involved (Jun 17)
  3. FamiLEE saga: Is a grant of probate really final? (Jun 17)
  4. FamiLEE saga: Somebody should just sue (Jun 17)
  5. FamiLEE saga: PM Lee’s version of events (Jun 16) 
  6. FamiLEE saga: Let a third party tell all (Jun 16)
  7. FamiLEE saga: The past three days (Jun 16)
  8. FamiLEE saga: How Lee Suet Fern got LWL her inheritance, according to leaked emails (Jun 15)
  9. FamiLEE saga: Singaporeans react with confusion, humour and CSI skills (Jun 15)
  10. FamiLEE saga: From 38 Oxley Road to 1 Parliament Place, not just a family affair (Jun 15)
  11. FamiLEE saga: Headlines around the world (Jun 15)
  12. FamiLEE saga: Now about that mysterious ministerial committee (Jun 15)
  13. Not just a famiLEE affair (Jun 14)
  14. Third generation Lee weighs in (Jun 14)
  15. “We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.” (Jun 14)

 

Featured image from PM Lee’s Facebook page.

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by Suhaile Md and Johannes Tjendro

Scroll past the interactive timeline for an old school list.

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June 14, about 2:10am – “We do not trust Hsien Loong”

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling publish their damning joint statement on their respective Facebook pages. PM Lee is unfilial, self-serving, and “has deliberately misrepresented Lee Kuan Yew’s clear intentions” to demolish the family house on Oxley Road for PM Lee’s personal political agenda, said his siblings. Added the younger Lees: “We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.”

The statement also painted PM Lee’s wife, Ms Ho Ching, as a power hungry matriarch who had too much influence on civil servants.

Read more here.

June 14, 2:20am – Third generation Lee weighs in

Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s son, Mr Li Shengwu, shares the joint statement on his Facebook page. Said Mr Li: “[My] immediate family has become increasingly worried about the lack of checks on abuse of power.” He is the only third generation member of the Lee family to comment publicly so far.

Read more here.

June 14, about 9:40am – The Prime Minister responds

“Ho Ching and I deny these allegations”, said PM Lee on Facebook. He added: “I am very disappointed that my siblings have chosen to issue a statement publicising private family matters…. As my siblings know, I am presently overseas on leave with my family. I will consider this matter further after I return this weekend.”

Ms Ho Ching maintains radio silence, only resharing PM Lee’s post a few hours later. See his Facebook post here.

What does it all mean so far? Well, it’s more than just a famiLEE affair. Read our article here.

June 14, around 2:10pm – Hsien Yang: “This is not where I can continue to live”

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and wife Mrs Lee Suet Fern said that they were “preparing to leave” but did not say when or where they were heading, reported The Straits Times (ST). Added Mr Lee: “This is my home. I wouldn’t do this unless I really felt there is a serious issue. And I’ve felt this is not where I can continue to live, the way I’ve been living in the last two years.”

Read the ST article here.

June 14, 5:20pm – The Mysterious Ministerial Committee

Cabinet Secretary Tan Kee Yong sheds light on the internal Ministerial Committee set up by the Cabinet to look into Oxley Road house. The existence of the committee had first came to light about 15 hours earlier in the joint statement by the Lee siblings.

Mr Tan’s official response, by way of a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, is that the purpose of the Committee was to list out the various courses of action that could be taken with regard to the house to “help a future Government when a decision needs to be taken about the house’’. Mr Tan added that PM Lee had recused himself and is not involved in the Committee.

Read the Cabinet Secretary’s statement here.

June 14, 11:10pm – Hsien Yang: “Feels almost like an Orwellian nightmare”

In response, said Mr Lee Hsien Yang in a TODAY interview: “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?”

He declined to comment on any firm plans but later when asked about the next step, Mr Lee said he wants to move on and “wake up from what feels almost like an Orwellian nightmare”.

June 15, around 12:20am – Wei Ling rubbishes Cabinet Secretary’s comments

“Private family matters don’t involve setting up secret committees of ministers to get your way. There is no way that this committee was set up without LHL’s [Lee Hsien Loong’s] tacit consent and approval.” Said Dr Lee in a Facebook post. She was responding to the Cabinet Secretary’s statement that PM Lee had recused himself from the Committee.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his son Mr Li Shengwu both shared her Facebook post soon after.

June 15, around 1:20am – Wei Ling: “Hsien Loong and Ho Ching are finally showing their true colours.”

An hour after her short comment on the Ministerial committee, Dr Lee said that because PM Lee could not do with the family house as he wished, he had punished his brother Mr Lee Hsien Yang by making him pay 150 per cent of the market value of the Oxley road house when it was sold to him. In punishing Mr Lee, PM Lee and Ms Ho Ching are “showing their true colours”. Dr Lee added: “The most important point I want to put across is if PM can misuse his official power to abuse his siblings who can fight back, what else can he do to ordinary citizens.” Dr Lee said she was on holiday in Scotland.

Read her full post here.

June 15, 7am – Hsien Yang: “What did he [Lee Kuan Yew] want?”

It’s clear Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted the house demolished if Dr Lee Wei Ling moved out or passed on, said Mr Lee Hsien Yang in an interview with Yahoo news . It was stated so in the late Mr Lee’s Will, which had been officially certified in court in 2015. Said Mr Lee Hsien Yang: “If Hsien Loong had any doubts [about the will], that was the time to come out and say, ‘Hey, there are some questions here, please, let’s address them in court’. He never raised them… And yet now, he goes to the cabinet committee and says ‘Oh, my father wasn’t quite so unwavering in his wish'”.

June 15, 12pm – Some questions that need to be answered

By now the Cabinet Secretary has said something, so have the PM and the two Lee siblings in response. But questions remain and there’s still more that should be revealed. Read our article to put things in context.

With everything going on, two other points might have been missed in the FamiLEE saga: Minister Lawrence Wong and Attorney General Lucien Wong. Read more here.

The FamiLEE saga also hit headlines around the world. Read our headline round up here.

And how have Singaporeans been reacting? Have a look for yourself.

June 15, around 3:10pm – Another third generation Lee weighs in

“For what it is worth, I really have no interest in politics.” said Mr Li Hongyi in a Facebook post. He is the firstborn of PM Lee and Ms Ho Ching. Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang claimed that the PM and his wife were setting the stage to make their son the future Prime Minister.

Ms Ho Ching “liked” Mr Li’s post.

June 15, around 4:10pm – Hsien Yang casts doubt on LHL’s integrity

Mr Lee Hsien Yang published a photo on Facebook comparing what PM Lee’s said in public with what he allegedly said in private.

Dr Lee and Mr Li Shengwu shared the post soon after.

June 15, around 9:20pm – PM Lee responds

PM Lee addressed the accusations by his siblings on his representations to the Ministerial Committee and publishes a summary of his Statutory Declarations on Lee Kuan Yew’s Will.

June 15 around 9:30pm – Hsien Yang: Hsien Loong’s speech in parliament contradicts his Statutory Declaration

Mr Lee Hsien Yang replied that “Stamford Law attended to the attestation of the Will at Lee Kuan Yew’s explicit request.” He added that probate was granted in Oct 2015. He also accused PM Lee about giving contradictory statements to parliament and to the “secret committee”.

He then shared a photo of the will with Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s initial right under the Demolition Clause, to prove that the late Mr Lee would have known about the Clause.

Dr Lee and Mr Li Shengwu shared both posts soon after.

June 15, around 10:20pm – Wei Ling: Hsien Loong and Ho Ching dishonest for selective use of quotes

Dr Lee accused PM Lee for being “mischievious and dishonest to selectively use quotes from me out of context to suggest that Hsien Yang and his wife were trying to cheat me in our father’s final Will.”

Mr Lee Hsien Yang shares her post not long after.

June 15, around 10:30pm – Wei Ling had a fall-out with Pa: email screenshots revealed

Dr Lee posted 3 screenshots of private correspondences involving Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Suet Fern, and K Shanmugam, amongst others. She deleted them about 15 minutes after.

More than an hour later, the emails were reposted in a compiled PDF format; not on her personal Facebook profile, but rather on a public page titled “Dr Lee Wei Ling”. Lee Hsien Yang shared this post not long after.

June 16, around 3:40am – Li Shengwu: “The country must be bigger than one family.”

Mr Hsien Yang’s son, Mr Li Shengwu said in a Facebook post: “Today we are going to learn… whether [as I hope] the ruling party is still full of men and women of quality and strong character.”

Dr Lee shared this post.

June 16, around 7:30am – Hsien Yang: “Secret committee ignored” our reply

Mr Lee Hsien Yang fired the first shot in the morning in reply to PM Lee’s claims.

Dr Lee and Mr Li Shengwu shared this post.

June 16, around 1:10pm – Demolition Clause – Hsien Yang’s version

Mr Lee Hsien Yang claimed that the Demolition Clause “was drafted at LKY’s direction, and put into language by Lee Suet Fern his daughter in law and when he was satisfied he asked [Kwa] Kim Li to insert it into his will”.

He added: “On LKY’s express instructions in writing, two lawyers from Stamford Law were called upon to witness his signing of the will. The Estate of LKY [Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee] instructed Stamford Law to extract probate. Ng Joo Khin’s role in that was to read the will to the beneficiaries.”

Dr Lee shared his post soon after.

Updated June 18: The famiLEE affair has been brewing for a while now. Read our articles on the issue:

  1. FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it” (Jun 18)
  2. FamiLEE saga: Who’s involved (Jun 17)
  3. FamiLEE saga: Is a grant of probate really final? (Jun 17)
  4. FamiLEE saga: Somebody should just sue (Jun 17)
  5. FamiLEE saga: PM Lee’s version of events (Jun 16) 
  6. FamiLEE saga: Let a third party tell all (Jun 16)
  7. FamiLEE saga: The past three days (Jun 16)
  8. FamiLEE saga: How Lee Suet Fern got LWL her inheritance, according to leaked emails (Jun 15)
  9. FamiLEE saga: Singaporeans react with confusion, humour and CSI skills (Jun 15)
  10. FamiLEE saga: From 38 Oxley Road to 1 Parliament Place, not just a family affair (Jun 15)
  11. FamiLEE saga: Headlines around the world (Jun 15)
  12. FamiLEE saga: Now about that mysterious ministerial committee (Jun 15)
  13. Not just a famiLEE affair (Jun 14)
  14. Third generation Lee weighs in (Jun 14)
  15. “We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.” (Jun 14)

Featured image by Sean Chong.

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THREE Facebook posts appeared from Dr Lee Wei Ling soon after her brother PM Lee Hsien Loong posted his long Facebook note summarising his statutory declarations.

Dr Lee shared private emails on her Facebook page a few minutes before 10.30pm but deleted them soon after at 10.42pm on Jun 15. Lucky for you, we have the screenshots right here.

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A few minutes past midnight (Jun 16), Dr Lee released the emails yet again on her Facebook page; this time, compiled neatly in a PDF file uploaded on google drive.

 

 

Mr Lee Hsien Yang shared her post three minutes after.

 

Updated June 18: The famiLEE affair has been brewing for a while now. Read our articles on the issue:

  1. FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it” (Jun 18)
  2. FamiLEE saga: Who’s involved (Jun 17)
  3. FamiLEE saga: Is a grant of probate really final? (Jun 17)
  4. FamiLEE saga: Somebody should just sue (Jun 17)
  5. FamiLEE saga: PM Lee’s version of events (Jun 16) 
  6. FamiLEE saga: Let a third party tell all (Jun 16)
  7. FamiLEE saga: The past three days (Jun 16)
  8. FamiLEE saga: How Lee Suet Fern got LWL her inheritance, according to leaked emails (Jun 15)
  9. FamiLEE saga: Singaporeans react with confusion, humour and CSI skills (Jun 15)
  10. FamiLEE saga: From 38 Oxley Road to 1 Parliament Place, not just a family affair (Jun 15)
  11. FamiLEE saga: Headlines around the world (Jun 15)
  12. FamiLEE saga: Now about that mysterious ministerial committee (Jun 15)
  13. Not just a famiLEE affair (Jun 14)
  14. Third generation Lee weighs in (Jun 14)
  15. “We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.” (Jun 14)

 

Featured image by Jacklee from Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.

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by -
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by Danielle Goh & Sharanya Pillai

FEELING Hsien over the Lee siblings’ public spat? But some can’t stop Wei Ling over it. The news cycle has hit the accelerator pedal, as Singapore reacts to the deepening dispute between the Prime Minister and his disgruntled siblings over the fate of 38 Oxley Road. With the saga unfolding over social media in real time, reactions have run the gamut from disbelief to dismissing the issue as a “private matter”.

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The top comment on Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s public statement post, “What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew’s values”, thought of an efficient way for Singaporeans to decide if the Lee’s residence on Oxley Road should be demolished…

 

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SOCIAL MEDIA BATTLE

Some painted Dr Lee as a filial daughter, fighting a noble, arduous battle to safeguard her father’s dying wishes. There was also speculation that there’s more than meets the eye…

Meanwhile, others took the side of the older Lee brother…

 

BRING ON THE MEMES

But with the lemons the Lees are hurling at each other, some are choosing to make lemonade. Playbuzz user Ozzy Lee created a tongue-in-cheek questionnaire for Singaporeans to find out which Lee they are. Expect questions like whether you fear that “organs of the state will one day be used against you” or whether you harbour political ambitions for your son.

Screenshot from Playbuzz quiz “Which Lee are you?”

 

Some Singaporeans bemoaned that Mr Lee Hsien Yang is planning to leave the country, and tried to come up with a Plan B for his future career here.

Others brought out their CSI skills and tried to imagine what led to the odd timing of the Lee siblings’ statement.

 

And it may not be election season yet, but Singaporeans are already rolling out the creative memes to eternalise the saga. This movie poster, for one, also carries a cheeky reference to another recent outburst over local films:

 

Amid all the buzz generated, there was one rallying cry that resounded across all the camps: Why was the PM’s vacation disrupted?

While Singaporeans may disagree on many things, it seems like the sanctity of holidays is not in dispute.

 

Updated June 18: The famiLEE affair has been brewing for a while now. Read our articles on the issue:

  1. FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it” (Jun 18)
  2. FamiLEE saga: Who’s involved (Jun 17)
  3. FamiLEE saga: Is a grant of probate really final? (Jun 17)
  4. FamiLEE saga: Somebody should just sue (Jun 17)
  5. FamiLEE saga: PM Lee’s version of events (Jun 16) 
  6. FamiLEE saga: Let a third party tell all (Jun 16)
  7. FamiLEE saga: The past three days (Jun 16)
  8. FamiLEE saga: How Lee Suet Fern got LWL her inheritance, according to leaked emails (Jun 15)
  9. FamiLEE saga: Singaporeans react with confusion, humour and CSI skills (Jun 15)
  10. FamiLEE saga: From 38 Oxley Road to 1 Parliament Place, not just a family affair (Jun 15)
  11. FamiLEE saga: Headlines around the world (Jun 15)
  12. FamiLEE saga: Now about that mysterious ministerial committee (Jun 15)
  13. Not just a famiLEE affair (Jun 14)
  14. Third generation Lee weighs in (Jun 14)
  15. “We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.” (Jun 14)

 

Featured image from Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page

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DR LEE Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger sister and brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (PM Lee), released a joint statement in the early hours of Wednesday (June 14) denouncing PM Lee for his actions concerning the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38 Oxley Road. The Prime Minister is currently on overseas leave until June 17.

 

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They said that PM Lee had betrayed the values of the late Mr Lee, and desired power and personal popularity by trying to preserve the house against his father’s wishes.

The statement outlined the steps that PM Lee had taken to try and change or thwart Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s decision to demolish the house. It also named PM Lee’s wife Ms Ho Ching for being ambitious and for overstepping her boundaries.

The joint statement also said that the younger Mr Lee was leaving Singapore “for the foreseeable future” and “against his desires” because there was a fear that organs of state would be used against him, his wife Mrs Lee Suet Fern, and Ms Lee. It did not go into detail about what they experienced.

The statement said that the younger Mr Lee and Ms Lee were “hugely uncomfortable and closely monitored” and that they felt their “big brother omnipresent”.

The younger Mr Lee and Ms Lee are the executors of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will. They said in the statement that PM Lee was removed as executor in 2011.

Ms Lee had previously gone public with criticisms of PM Lee, and the siblings have been publicly at odds over the issue of the Oxley Road house since Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s death in 2015.

 

Read Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s and Dr Lee Wei Ling’s joint statement in full here.

 

Updated June 18: The famiLEE affair has been brewing for a while now. Read our articles on the issue:

  1. FamiLEE saga: 10 things from the academic paper “When I’m dead, demolish it” (Jun 18)
  2. FamiLEE saga: Who’s involved (Jun 17)
  3. FamiLEE saga: Is a grant of probate really final? (Jun 17)
  4. FamiLEE saga: Somebody should just sue (Jun 17)
  5. FamiLEE saga: PM Lee’s version of events (Jun 16) 
  6. FamiLEE saga: Let a third party tell all (Jun 16)
  7. FamiLEE saga: The past three days (Jun 16)
  8. FamiLEE saga: How Lee Suet Fern got LWL her inheritance, according to leaked emails (Jun 15)
  9. FamiLEE saga: Singaporeans react with confusion, humour and CSI skills (Jun 15)
  10. FamiLEE saga: From 38 Oxley Road to 1 Parliament Place, not just a family affair (Jun 15)
  11. FamiLEE saga: Headlines around the world (Jun 15)
  12. FamiLEE saga: Now about that mysterious ministerial committee (Jun 15)
  13. Not just a famiLEE affair (Jun 14)
  14. Third generation Lee weighs in (Jun 14)
  15. “We do not trust Hsien Loong as a brother or as a leader. We have lost confidence in him.” (Jun 14)
  16. Mystery deepens over secret tapes of Lee Kuan Yew (Sep 30, 2016)
  17. Time for the famiLEE to end the public spectacle (Apr 10, 2016)
  18. Dr Lee Wei Ling gagged? (Apr 2, 2016)

 

 

Featured image cropped from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter greets Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong during a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, Aug. 1, 2016 by Flickr user Jim Mattis. CC BY 2.0.

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MICROSOFT unveiled the Xbox One X at E3 on Sunday, June 11. Can the new, powerful console grab market share back from Playstation? Watch Microsoft’s press announcement here.

Broadcast for the first time in 4K UHD on Mixer, Xbox showcased a record 42 games in its briefing including 22 with console exclusivity from creators large and small. It will be available in Singapore and other selected markets from Nov 7 and will retail for $499, 449 pounds, 499 euros, CA$599 and AU$649.

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Xbox One X was designed to be the best console to create and play games on, putting the greatest graphic fidelity in the hands of the world’s best game creators to create true 4K games. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer underscored that every game will play great across the Xbox One family, and Xbox One X also makes your existing library even better, with better textures, smoother frame rates and faster load times.

Xbox One is the only console system designed to play the best games of the past, present and future. The Xbox One games and accessories you already own are compatible with Xbox One X, so if you’re an Xbox gamer, chances are you already have a library of games that will look and play better on Xbox One X.

Spencer announced that Xbox will expand the Xbox One backward compatibility library of nearly 400 popular Xbox 360 games to include original Xbox classics, starting with fan favourite “Crimson Skies”. Xbox also revealed that “Gears of War 4,” “Forza Horizon 3,” “Minecraft,” “Resident Evil 7,” “Final Fantasy 15,” “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands,” “Rocket League” and dozens of other popular Xbox One games will receive free updates to take full advantage of the power of Xbox One X. A host of these titles will be enhanced to run in true 4K, and many will be available at the Xbox One X launch.

Video provided by Microsoft Corp.

 

Featured image is a screen grab from the video provided by Microsoft Corp.

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