SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday (Jul 6) that he shared his siblings' wish not to carry on their dispute over their late father's 38 Oxley Road house in public, and to manage their disagreement in private.
This, he said in a statement on Thursday evening, was "exactly" what he had been trying to do.
In a two-day Parliament debate over allegations that he had abused his power in dealing with the house, the Prime Minister had reiterated his desire to privately manage the spat with his siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, without taking legal action.
Early on Thursday, Dr Lee and Mr Lee released a joint public statement to say they "welcome(d) Hsien Loong’s stated desire on Jul 4, 2017 to manage his disagreement with us in private".
"We look forward to talking without the involvement of lawyers or government agencies," they said, adding that they would cease presenting further evidence on social media, "provided that we and our father's wish are not attacked or misrepresented".
PM Lee, who is currently in Germany for an official visit and to attend the G20 Leaders' Summit, said in his Thursday evening statement: "I note my siblings’ latest public statement. I share their wish not to carry on the dispute in public and to manage the disagreement in private. That is exactly what I have been trying to do."
He noted that his siblings' statement also repeated their previous allegations against him. "I have already refuted these and stand by what I have said."
In Parliament earlier this week, PM Lee also emphasised that he had not deceived his father over the plans for the house, and added that he hoped for reconciliation with his siblings in the wake of the row.
WHY AN EARLIER CEASEFIRE OFFER WAS REJECTED
In their joint statement, PM Lee's siblings also revealed that they had "privately offered a ceasefire" shortly after they first publicised the matter on Jun 14.
"Our attempts at reconciliation were rebuffed," they said.
In response, PM Lee said on Thursday: "My siblings referred to a ceasefire offer from them. They wanted me to call off my ministerial statement and the debate in Parliament, disband the ministerial committee, and not respond to their accusations. I could not agree to do any of that. It would have been improper and irresponsible."
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who chairs a committee set up to consider the options for the Oxley Road house, welcomed the statement from PM Lee's siblings, but added that the Government still has to carry out its responsibilities for issues that are of public interest "fairly, objectively and calmly".