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Suggestion to solve the dispute over 38 Oxley Road
17 Jun 2017 (92 views)

The Last Will of Lee Kuan Yew contained a clause to allow Lee Wei Ling to continue living in 38 Oxley Road for as long as she wish to. When she move out of that house, the will stated that his house should be demolished. The property is also bequethed to Lee Hsien Loong.

Under a negotiated arragement, LHL sold the property to his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang at market value. Both LHL and LHY agreed to donate half of the value of the land to the charities listed in LKY's will.

The market value of the property is estimated to be $24 million. This meant that LHY paid $24 million to LHL for the property and also donated $12 million to the charities. This is a big investment for LHY.

Subsequently LHY learnt that LHL, as prime minister, had formed a ministerial committee to look into the government's intent regarding the site, and also to see if the demolition clause in LKY's will had been inserted without his full knowledge.

I consider the ministerial committee to be ultra vires, i.e. beyond its legal power and authority. The National Heritage Board is the authority to decide if the house is to be preserved as a monument. If LHL wish to challenge the validity of the will, it has to be determined by a process in court.

To solve this misunderstanding, it is best for LHL to disband the ministerial committee and accept the last will, for which probate has been granted, to be legally binding on all parties.

As the house is going to be demolised, the site does not have any heritage value. As LHY had already paid to LHL the market value for the property, he should be free to use the site for any purpose that is allowed by the planning authority.

If LHL wish to retain the site for its historical value, he should buy back the property from LHY. As the owner, he can do what he wishes with the land, including donating it to the government. If he wish to preserve the house, he should apply for a court order to stop the executors from demolishing the house, on the grounds that he is the rightful owner of the property and the demolition intent stated in the Last Will is questionable.

 


Suggestion to solve the dispute over 38 Oxley Road
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The Last Will of Lee Kuan Yew contained a clause to allow Lee Wei Ling to continue living in 38 Oxley Road for as long as she wish to. When she move out of that house, the will stated that his house should be demolished. The property is also bequethed to Lee Hsien Loong.

Under a negotiated arragement, LHL sold the property to his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang at market value. Both LHL and LHY agreed to donate half of the value of the land to the charities listed in LKY's will.

The market value of the property is estimated to be $24 million. This meant that LHY paid $24 million to LHL for the property and also donated $12 million to the charities. This is a big investment for LHY.

Subsequently LHY learnt that LHL, as prime minister, had formed a ministerial committee to look into the government's intent regarding the site, and also to see if the demolition clause in LKY's will had been inserted without his full knowledge.

I consider the ministerial committee to be ultra vires, i.e. beyond its legal power and authority. The National Heritage Board is the authority to decide if the house is to be preserved as a monument. If LHL wish to challenge the validity of the will, it has to be determined by a process in court.

To solve this misunderstanding, it is best for LHL to disband the ministerial committee and accept the last will, for which probate has been granted, to be legally binding on all parties.

As the house is going to be demolised, the site does not have any heritage value. As LHY had already paid to LHL the market value for the property, he should be free to use the site for any purpose that is allowed by the planning authority.

If LHL wish to retain the site for its historical value, he should buy back the property from LHY. As the owner, he can do what he wishes with the land, including donating it to the government. If he wish to preserve the house, he should apply for a court order to stop the executors from demolishing the house, on the grounds that he is the rightful owner of the property and the demolition intent stated in the Last Will is questionable.