Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mr Lee Kuan Yew and 38 Oxley Road

Mr Lee adamant about having his house demolished
By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 14 Apr 2015

SINGAPORE'S founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew knew about calls from the public to turn his home at 38, Oxley Road into a museum and a memorial to him, but he was adamant the house should be demolished after his death.

He wrote formally to the Cabinet at least twice to put his wishes on the record, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament yesterday.

The first time was soon after his wife, Madam Kwa Geok Choo, died in late 2010.

The second time was after he stepped down from the Cabinet in May 2011, said PM Lee, who is Mr Lee's elder son.

In a statement delivered in Parliament, PM Lee said his father's position on 38, Oxley Road was unwavering over the years, and added that Singaporeans should respect his wishes.



Mr Lee, who died last month, stated in one of his books in early 2011, Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, that the house "should not be kept as a kind of relic".

He was averse to the idea as he had seen too many other houses of famous people "kept frozen in time... as a monument with people tramping in and out", and they invariably "become shabby", said PM Lee.

PM Lee's mother, Madam Kwa, also felt strongly that the house should be demolished, he said.

But since some people wanted the house preserved, Mr Lee's view sparked a public reaction.

That was the reason that, in December 2011, PM Lee held a special Cabinet meeting to discuss 38, Oxley Road. Mr Lee attended the meeting at his invitation.

"The ministers tried hard to change his mind," PM Lee said.

After the meeting, Mr Lee wrote the Cabinet a letter, in which he acknowledged their unanimous view that 38, Oxley Road should not be demolished.

He wrote: "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."

But when he made his will two years later in December 2013, he stated that he wished for his house to be demolished after his death.
* Dr Lee Wei Ling on honouring the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew
His children, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, were appointed executors of his will.

They revealed this in a statement on Sunday and, yesterday, PM Lee weighed in.

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

Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) and Ms Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) asked if Mr Lee's home could be photographed and recorded on video and other digital media formats, so that Singaporeans could tour the house virtually.

This would respect Mr Lee's wishes while preserving the house's heritage value at the same time, they said.

PM Lee replied that the building has been documented and photographs of it published, especially of the dining room, where important meetings took place.

He added: "If you go on what Mr Lee has said publicly, I think in the Hard Truths book, he said: 'Whatever you want to do after I'm gone, take pictures, if you like, then demolish the building.' That's on the record. His will follows that. We have to go in accordance with his wishes."







Mr Lee's daughter to continue living in house
By Rachel Chang, The Straits Times, 14 Apr 2015

A DECISION on the fate of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's home, 38, Oxley Road, is not required now as his daughter will continue to live there.

But if and when Dr Lee Wei Ling no longer lives in the house, Mr Lee has stated his wish that the house should be demolished, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament yesterday.

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

In his will, Mr Lee, who died last month, stated that demolition should be carried out immediately after his death or, if Dr Lee continues to reside there, immediately after she moves out.

If demolition is made impossible owing to changes in the law, rules or regulations, it was the late Mr Lee's wish that the house should not be open to anyone except his children, their families and descendants.

This was revealed in a public statement on Sunday by Dr Lee and Mr Lee's younger son, Mr Lee Hsien Yang. They are executors and trustees of Mr Lee's will, and asked Singaporeans to support and respect their father's wishes about 38, Oxley Road.

Yesterday in Parliament, PM Lee echoed this position.

His mother, the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, 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".










Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted Oxley Road home demolished as stated in will; children ask public to respect wishes
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 13 Apr 2015

SINGAPORE'S first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had asked for his house to be demolished after his death, and the executors of his will yesterday asked Singaporeans to respect this wish.

Mr Lee died on March 23.

Mr Lee's only daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, and younger son, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, said in a statement yesterday that their father had made this wish public.

Their parents also expressed the same wish regarding the family home to their children in private on numerous occasions.

"Our father has given his life in service to the people of Singapore," they said. "We hope that the people of Singapore will honour and respect his stated wish in his last will and testament."

Both siblings said Mr Lee had appointed them as executors and trustees of his last will, dated Dec 17, 2013. The statement comesamid calls to turn Mr Lee's home for more than six decades into a museum or heritage site.

The Straits Times understands that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will speak on the subject of his father's wishes regarding the house at 38, Oxley Road in Parliament this afternoon.

In their statement, his siblings thanked Singaporeans for sharing in their grief and said they were touched by the outpouring of affection and respect for him.

They noted that in his will, Mr Lee Kuan Yew spelt out his wish, and that of his wife Kwa Geok Choo, who died in 2010, that the house "be demolished immediately after my death or if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the house".

"I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the house be carried out," he added.

The statement cited Mr Lee as saying in his will: "My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged."

It added that Mr Lee was well aware of calls to preserve his home, but his wish "was unwavering, and was for the house to be torn down upon his passing".

Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang said their father was also concerned that an order might be issued against his wishes, and had added in his will: "If our children are unable to demolish the house as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the house never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants."

They said they had a duty as executors and trustees of the will, and a moral obligation as children, to ensure his will "is administered strictly as stated".

PAP MP Alex Yam said Mr Lee's wishes and those of his family should be respected, adding: "His legacy lies beyond the confines of 38, Oxley Road."





Statement by Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, 12th April 2015

We would like to thank Singaporeans for sharing in our grief on the passing of our late father, Lee Kuan Yew, on 23rd March 2015. We have been deeply touched by the huge outpouring of affection for and respect of our father. We humbly thank each of you.

Our late father, Lee Kuan Yew, appointed the two of us as the executors and trustees of his last will and testament dated 17th December 2013 (“Lee Kuan Yew Will”).

In his Lee Kuan Yew Will, he stated, “I further declare that it is my wish, and the wish of my late wife, KWA GEOK CHOO, that our house at 38 Oxley Road, Singapore 238629 (“the House”) be demolished immediately after my death or if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House. I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the House be carried out.”

Our father has made public this wish on many occasions, including in his book Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going. In addition, both our parents have expressed this same wish with respect to our family home to their children in private on numerous occasions. Indeed, he stated in his Lee Kuan Yew Will that “My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged.”

Our father was well aware of calls to somehow preserve his home. His wish both expressed to us privately, and publicly was unwavering, and was for the house to be torn down upon his passing. He was concerned an order might be issued against his wishes.

He therefore added in his Lee Kuan Yew Will that “If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants.“

We have a duty (as executors and trustees of his Lee Kuan Yew Will), and a moral obligation (as his children) to ensure that his Lee Kuan Yew Will is administered strictly as stated. He has given us clear instructions directly and in his Lee Kuan Yew Will to demolish the house either immediately after his death, or if Wei Ling continues to live in the original house, then immediately after she moves out of the House.

Our father has given his life in service to the people of Singapore. We hope that the people of Singapore will honour and respect his stated wish in his last will and testament. 




There have been calls to turn the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house into a museum, although Mr Lee himself had wished for it...
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, April 12, 2015





Five things about 38, Oxley Road
By Chew Hui Min, The Straits Times, 14 Apr 2015

There have been calls to turn Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house into a museum, but in his will, he had asked for it to be demolished.

In the event that an order would be issued against his wishes, the former Prime Minister added in his will: "If our children are unable to demolish the house as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the house never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants."

The pre-war bungalow at 38, Oxley Road, which was built by a Jewish merchant more than 100 years ago, has witnessed some momentous turning points in Singapore's history.


1. Why demolish the house?

Back in 2011, Mr Lee said in an interview with a team of Straits Times journalists for the book, Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, that he wanted the house to be demolished. Here it is in his own words:

I mean MM, I haven't been there but people who have been there say you've not done much to renovate and to upgrade it.

I've told the Cabinet, when I'm dead, demolish it.

Why?

Because I think, I've seen other houses, Nehru's, Shakespeare's. They become a shambles after a while. People trudge through. Because of my house the neighbouring houses cannot build high. Now demolish my house and change the planning rules, go up, the land value will go up.

Ever practical, one of the reasons he gave was that it would cost a lot to maintain it:

But isn't that part of Singapore history?

No, no, no. You know the cost of preserving it? It's an old house built over a hundred years ago. No foundation. The cost of maintaining it, damp comes up the wall because there's no foundation. So the piling in the neighbourhood has made cracks in my walls. But fortunately the pillars are sound.

By your comment then, you don't place great store on preserving old buildings? It's like the old National Library, no architectural significance but when it was torn down I think a lot of people still bemoan its loss today.

I don't think my daughter or my wife or I, who lived in it, or my sons who grew up in it will bemoan its loss. They have old photos to remind them of the past.

Hear what Mr Lee said about his Oxley Road house in the interview.




2. The Lees' marital home

The house is where Mr Lee began his married life. Mr Lee grew up at 92, Kampong Java Road, but later moved to his maternal grandfather's house in Telok Kurau in 1929. He and his family moved into 38, Oxley Road in 1945.

Then in 1946, he sailed for England to study law. He had already begun dating a former classmate from Raffles College - Ms Kwa Geok Choo. They secretly married in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1947.

After their official wedding in 1950, they moved into the Oxley Road house.


3. Old furniture, and no shower

Mr Lee once described 38, Oxley Road as "a big, rambling house with five bedrooms, and three others at the back originally used as servants' quarters."

Associate Professor Koo Tsai Kee, an MP for 20 years in Mr Lee's Tanjong Pagar GRC, who visited the house in 2002, said: "It's a very humble house. The furniture has probably never been changed. Some of the pictures are yellow already."

Mr Lee's daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, once described the frugality her parents instilled in her: "We had to turn off water taps completely. If my parents found a dripping tap, we would get a ticking off. And when we left a room, we had to switch off lights and air-conditioners."

Dr Lee also wrote in the 2012 column that her room has a window model air-conditioner, which fell out of favour decades ago.

Visitors to the house such as journalist Judith Tan, who was there in 2010, described how there was no shower for many years.

In an article for The New Paper on March 26, 2015, Ms Tan wrote: "The downstairs bathroom, for instance, still held a humdangong (Cantonese for barrel or tub used for making salted eggs), a large clay urn filled with water for bathing, old-school style, complete with a plastic scoop. Its mosaic tiles, some a little chipped, had been popular in the 1970s. The chairs in the house were mismatched, giving off an eclectic feel. An ancient exercise bike stood in one corner, gathering dust."

It was only after Mrs Lee had a stroke in London in 2003 that their children installed a shower before she returned home.


4. Family gatherings

Mr Lee's grandson Li Shengwu recalled the Sunday lunches they had at Oxley Road in a eulogy he delivered for Mr Lee at his funeral on March 29.

"Sunday lunch with Ye Ye was an institution for our family. His voice and his hearty laugh would carry to the children's table, talking about matters of state, recounting meetings with foreign leaders whose names we neither recognised nor remembered.

"In a city of continual renewal, my grandparents' house never changed. Always the same white walls, the same wooden furniture, the same high windows letting in sunlight.

"The food stayed the same too - Singapore cooking that would not be out of place at a good stall in a hawker centre."

The extended family also met at the house during Chinese New Year for many years.

When Mr Lee's father Mr Lee Chin Koon was alive, the extended family would gather at Oxley Road for the first day of Chinese New Year. But as the family grew bigger, they got together for the reunion dinner and exchanged greetings then.


5. Hive of political activity

The basement dining room at 38, Oxley Road was where the founding members of the People's Action Party discussed setting up a new party.

A group of English-educated middle-class friends whom Mr Lee himself called 'beer-swilling bourgeois', gathered in late 1954, usually on Saturdays between 2.30pm and 5.30pm.

Some 20 participants, including the 14 founding members of the People's Action Party, would engage in heated debates around a long table.

On Nov 21, 1954, the group formed the "socialist" PAP with the pro-communist trade unionists.

Mr Lee's eldest son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, grew up in the house, experiencing his first taste of politics there.

In his eulogy at the March 29 State funeral service, PM Lee said: "Of course, growing up as my father's son could not but mean being exposed to politics very early. I remember as a little boy . . . (I) was excited by the hubbub at Oxley Road whenever elections happened, and our home became the election office."




With the permission of Dr Lee Wei Ling, we offer a pictorial tour of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's home.In his will, the...
Posted by The New Paper on Tuesday, April 14, 2015





Mr Lee's wishes on house not unreasonable

A DECISION on the fate of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's home is not required for now ("Mr Lee's daughter to continue living in house"; yesterday).
But when the time comes, the right decision is to demolish it.

I had earlier expressed a hope that Mr Lee's family might consent to the house being opened to the public for a year or two before demolition ("Fate of home a private family matter"; March 27). But clearly, this would now not be possible, as Mr Lee has stated in his will that his wish was for his house not to be opened to the public ("'Respect Mr Lee's wish to demolish home' "; Monday).

On reflection, Mr Lee's wish is not unreasonable. He previously said that if his house were to be preserved, it would need to have its foundations reinforced and the whole building refurbished - a project requiring substantial resources.

Mr Lee was a frugal man, and I imagine he would have loathed the idea of significant taxpayers' money being channelled this way, when a more economical approach would be to demolish the building entirely.

In the book Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, Mr Lee seemed to have expressed consideration for his neighbours in Oxley Road, who he acknowledged were disadvantaged by his home, and hoped that their land value might rise on a par with market valuations, once his house was demolished and the planning rules changed.

Most Singaporeans tend to forget that Oxley Road is a quiet residential enclave. If Mr Lee's home were converted into a museum, it would attract many visitors, leading to parking and road congestion problems, and inconveniencing the residents.

A permanent space within the National Museum would be much better suited for the public to view memorabilia belonging to Mr Lee.

In addition, Mr Lee's wife, the late Madam Kwa Geok Choo, had been most distressed at the thought of the public going through her private spaces after she and Mr Lee died, to see how they had lived. Being the loving husband that Mr Lee was, this would surely have weighed on his mind when deciding on the fate of his house.

During the week of national mourning over Mr Lee's death, many Singaporeans openly demonstrated how much they honoured and respected Mr Lee. I think it would also have pleased him greatly to know that someday, Singaporeans would carry out his wishes on his house speedily and without fanfare.

Chan Yeow Chuan
ST Forum, 15 Apr 2015





Dismantle and reassemble basement as museum exhibit

THERE is a way to both honour Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wish to have his Oxley Road house demolished and fulfil Singaporeans' desire to keep the house as a piece of national heritage.

The most politically and historically important part of the house is the basement, where Mr Lee and his colleagues started the People's Action Party that strategised the path of Singapore's success.

When demolishing the house, the basement could be taken apart brick by brick and reassembled in its original form at the National Museum, so that the story of the birth of modern, independent Singapore can be told in more vivid detail.

The photo of Mr Lee depicting his grief and anxiety at Singapore's separation from Malaysia should find a prominent place in this reassembled basement.

This is a win-win for all, and a fitting tribute to Mr Lee.

T. N. Srinivasan
ST Forum, 15 Apr 2015





Mr Lee's house a chance for due process
By Terence Chong And Yeo Kang Shua, Published The Straits Times, 24 Apr 2015

THE fate of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's house at 38, Oxley Road has been the subject of recent debate.

On the one hand, members of the public have petitioned for it to be preserved.

They argue that the house was a meeting point for many first-generation leaders who went on to form the People's Action Party, thus cementing its role in the political history of our country.

On the other hand, Mr Lee himself had wanted it demolished for several reasons.

He neither wanted a personality cult to be built around him, nor did he and his wife, Madam Kwa Geok Choo, wish for strangers to be wandering around their private spaces.

He also believed that demolishing his house would result in the easing of zoning restrictions, thus releasing the economic potential of the area.

Nevertheless, the debate over 38, Oxley Road should go beyond simple deliberation between preserving a building and respecting the wishes of a property owner.

We believe that this debate is an opportunity to, first, strengthen our state heritage institutions and due process, and, second, consider the ramifications of carrying out the wishes of the owner of a potentially important building at the expense of national heritage.

Let us ask the most obvious question: If we are to preserve 38, Oxley Road, who decides if it is, indeed, a heritage-significant house?

The straightforward answer is that a state agency must decide in order to trigger legal protection for the house.

In this case, there are two state agencies, the first of which is the National Heritage Board (NHB).

Under Paragraph 4(a) of the Preservation of Monuments Act, NHB is empowered "to identify monuments that are of such historic, cultural, traditional, archaeological, architectural, artistic or symbolic significance and national importance as to be worthy of preservation under this Act, and to make recommendations to the Minister (of Culture, Community and Youth) for the preservation under this Act of the monuments so identified".

To add another level of complexity, according to Paragraph 12 of the Preservation of Monuments Act, even if the state issues a preservation order for 38, Oxley Road, such an order will cease to be valid if the state does not acquire the house within a year of its issuance because the house will be seen as a "dwelling-house", that is, someone is living in it.

The second state agency in question is the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

If URA deems an area worthy of conservation, it may recommend to the Minister of National Development that this area be conserved.

For instance, under Paragraph 9(1) of the Planning Act, "where in the opinion of the minister, any area is of special architectural, historic, traditional or aesthetic interest, the minister may approve… a proposal to amend the master plan to designate the area as a conservation area".

So does 38, Oxley Road hold any "architectural, historic, traditional or aesthetic interest"?

The house is over a hundred years old and, architecturally speaking, is a rare and unique type of bungalow.

It used to have a "twin" bungalow (No. 40) which was, unfortunately, demolished, leaving No. 38 the only type of its kind left along Oxley Road.

Furthermore, a case may be made that it is worth preserving because there have been very little, if any, renovations or alterations made to 38, Oxley Road, thus leaving it largely in its original state.

The point that we are making is not that 38, Oxley Road should or should not be preserved.

Rather, it is that state agencies like NHB and URA have the legal tools and institutional capacity at their disposal to ensure that due process is carried out.

Expert panels comprising historians, architects and social scientists can be established to determine if, indeed, the house possesses historical, national, architectural or even aesthetic importance.

It may be the case that such panels may find that it does not.

However, in our opinion, the actual verdict of such panels would be of less importance than the demonstration of institutional due diligence, adherence to heritage best practices, and abidance by transparent decision-making processes.

The deliberations and findings of experts should be made public, needless to say.

Observing due process would also instill public confidence that all cases under consideration for preservation or conservation, regardless of owner, will be viewed in accordance with established principles and procedures, as empowered by the respective Acts.

This would, in turn, strengthen our heritage institutions and deepen local expertise.


We acknowledge that this raises an emotional dilemma for loved ones.

However, leaving this dilemma aside for a while, acceding to individual wishes without undergoing due process may establish an unwanted precedent for future preservation or conservation cases.

For example, what if an owner of a historical temple or architecturally important house decides to tear it down?

What if the owner cites the case of 38, Oxley Road as precedent for the primacy of the individual over the community?

What impact will such cases have on these two Acts?

Do we then abide by his or her wishes and watch the destruction of our national heritage?

Or do we want to consider alternative forms of compensation in order to save such buildings?

These are heritage concerns that go beyond 38, Oxley Road. Discussing them openly and objectively would be to our benefit.

The first writer is a sociologist and the second is an architectural historian and conservator. They are vice-president and honorary secretary of the Singapore Heritage Society, respectively.




The Singapore Government will not allow the site of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's home to be redeveloped in a way that would diminish its historical significance, the authorities said on Wednesday. str.sg/3er
Posted by The Straits Times on Wednesday, April 29, 2015





No offices, mall or condo on Oxley Road site
By Chong Zi Liang And Rachel Chang, The Straits Times, 30 Apr 2015

EVEN if the Government allows the demolition of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's house, it is unlikely to let the site be developed into an office building, mall or condominium.

Responding to a commentary in The Straits Times last Friday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Heritage Board (NHB) said in a joint statement yesterday that "the Government is likely to disallow the site to be redeveloped in a way that would diminish its historical significance, for example, for commercial or intensive residential development". The site is zoned for a two-storey landed property.

Mr Lee, who died on March 23, had said in his will that he wanted his house demolished after his death. But the URA said that under the Planning Act, building owners must seek its approval before tearing down their properties.

The two agencies added that 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". They stressed that there was no need for a decision now as Mr Lee's daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, is still living there.

The commentary was written by sociologist Terence Chong and architectural historian Yeo Kang Shua - the vice-president and honorary secretary, respectively, of the Singapore Heritage Society.

The duo called on the relevant government agencies to form a panel of experts to determine if Mr Lee's Oxley Road residence is worthy of preservation.

"This debate is an opportunity to, first, strengthen our state heritage institutions and due process, and, second, consider the ramifications of carrying out the wishes of the owner of a potentially important building at the expense of national heritage," they said.

The case of 38, Oxley Road would also set a precedent for future conflicts between owners of buildings with heritage value and the authorities, they added.

Experts were relieved to hear the Government rule out the possibility of a new high-rise building on the site of the house where, among other things, the People's Action Party was formed.

While opinion was still divided on whether the house should be demolished, observers said that should it be torn down, a public space of some sort that memorialises Mr Lee should take its place.

Mr Hsu Hsia Pin, an architect and partner at EHKA Studio, wants a public park: "Trees last a long time and signify history as well. A park would also continue his legacy of loving greenery."

The principal architect of CHANG Architects, Mr Chang Yong Ter, said the space should be kept separate from the proposed plan to build a Founders' Memorial, for the sake of the privacy of nearby residents.

The duo who wrote the commentary said yesterday, in response to the URA and NHB statement, that as heritage advocates, they want to see greater public consultation and transparency in the decision-making process.

They added: "It would also benefit us as a nation if this issue leads to a broader discussion on the demolishing of buildings that have national significance such as the old National Library."




URA Forum Reply: http://ow.ly/Mjhoh The Government will take into consideration very seriously the wishes of the late...
Posted by Urban Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday, April 29, 2015






Plans for Oxley Road house to consider Mr Lee's wishes

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.

Ler Seng Ann
Group Director (Conservation and Development Services)
Urban Redevelopment Authority

Jean Wee (Ms)
Director
Preservation of Sites and Monuments
National Heritage Board
ST Forum, 30 Apr 2015



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