Oxley home will not be demolished yet: PM Lee

Oxley home will not be demolished yet: PM Lee

There is no immediate need to decide on the fate of Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road house, as his only daughter, Lee Wei Ling, will continue to live there.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed this when addressing the issue in Parliament yesterday.

Singapore's founding father, who died on March 23, made clear in his will that he wanted to see 38 Oxley Road demolished, but there have been public calls to preserve it as part of Singapore's history.

"If and when Dr Lee Wei Ling no longer lives in the house, Mr Lee has stated his wishes as to what then should be done," said PM Lee.

"At that point, speaking as a son, I would like to see these wishes carried out. However, it will be up to the Government of the day to consider the matter."

PM Lee noted that there have also been calls to turn the Oxley Road house into a museum and memorial to Mr Lee.

"But Mr Lee was adamant that 38 Oxley Road should be demolished after his passing. He wrote formally to the Cabinet at least twice to put his wishes on the record," said PM Lee.

"He said 'it should not be kept as a kind of relic'. He said that he had seen too many other houses of famous people 'kept frozen in time…as a monument with people tramping in and out'. They invariably 'become shabby'."

PM Lee added that the wish for the house to be demolished was strongly shared by his mother, the late Kwa Geok Choo.

"She was most distressed at the thought of people coming through her private spaces after she and my father had passed away, to see how they had lived."

PM Lee also announced yesterday that a committee will be formed to conceptualise a memorial for Singapore's founding fathers, including Mr Lee.

PM Lee said he has asked Esplanade chairman Lee Tzu Yang to head the committee, which will take in views from the public.

He noted that Mr Lee had disdained monuments and personality cults. In his life, Mr Lee consented to lend his name only to institutions and initiatives that he felt passionate about, or where his name served a greater purpose.

For example, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, created at the National University of Singapore on his 80th birthday, would help "establish the Singapore brand of governance and advance the school's mission - to raise standards of governance in Asia, to improve the lives of people and to contribute to the transformation of the region," said PM Lee.

 

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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