In last Friday's commentary ("Mr Lee's house a chance for due process"), Dr Terence Chong and Dr Yeo Kang Shua suggested greater public involvement when selecting buildings for conservation and preservation.
The commentary also cited the late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's wishes to demolish his house and to avoid it becoming a museum.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has explained in Parliament that Dr Lee Wei Ling would continue living in the house at 38, Oxley Road.
There is, therefore, no immediate issue regarding the demolition of the house, and no need for the Government to make any decision now on the property.
Under the Planning Act, building owners are required to seek the Urban Redevelopment Authority's approval prior to carrying out works to demolish, redevelop or undertake additions and alterations to their properties.
Under the Preservation of Monuments Act, the National Heritage Board (NHB) draws advice from its panel of experts comprising individuals from diverse backgrounds in the people, private and public sectors. NHB also engages owners to seek their support to preserve their properties.
The Government will take into consideration very seriously the wishes of the late Mr Lee regarding the future plans for the house and site, at a time when a decision has to be made.
In view of the historical significance of the property, if a decision is made to allow for the demolition of the house, the Government is likely to not allow the site to be redeveloped in a way that would diminish its historical significance, for example, for commercial or intensive residential development.
The area is planned as a low-rise residential precinct and zoned two-storey mixed landed.
This article was first published on April 30, 2015.
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