Sudhir Vadaketh claims he was impartial but was alleged to be bankrolled by Lee Hsien Yang

Mar 04, 2023 | 🚀 Fathership AI

An e-book titled The Battle Over Lee Kuan Yew’s Last Will written by Sudhir Vadaketh contains several inaccuracies “calculated to mislead” and are “completely at odds” with court findings, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Thursday (Mar 2).

Sudhir claims he was impartial but was alleged to be bankrolled by Lee Hsien Yang

In response to TODAY’s queries, Sudhir said that the e-book is the product of a year of research by a team of researchers and himself and is “exhaustively footnoted”.

It does not include any primary interviews, said Sudhir, as he did not want to interview only a select few family members, which he believes would be a biased approach.

He said: "A big reason I decided to embark on this book project in late 2020 (holy shit; Covid timing) is because several PAP politicians, including some really senior ones, as well as fully-paid-up members of the establishment urged me to. (Who exactly? Haha. To my grave.)"

According to Fathership's source, Sudhir indeed interviewed Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern, albeit informally, over dinner in late 2020, specifically on October of that year.

Pictured: Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Suet Fern, Sudhir Vadaketh and wife at a dinner in October 2020

In the same period, Sudhir was on the radar of online vigilantes "SMRT Feedback " now "Vigilanteh", who accused him on Facebook of being a pseudo-intellectual. The group also implied he was bankrolled by Lee Hsien Yang to dish out anti-establishment narratives - a charge that Sudhir denied.

Sudhir said he 'embarked' on the e-book project in late 2020, the same period he had dinner with the Lees, later publishing it online in June 2022.

In his e-book, Sudhir disclosed he was personal friends with Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Suet Fern and their son, Li Huanwu, who he described as his "whiskey kaki".

Pictured: Li Huanwu and husband (in army uniform) at a home gathering in May 2021 with Sudhir Vadaketh

Inaccuracies in the e-book

Minister Teo laid out several examples of inaccuracies in the book:

1. What the courts found

  • In his book, Sudhir wrote that Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern have been “cleared of all suspicion of improper motives or manipulations vis-a-vis Lee Kuan Yew and his will”.
  • However, the Court of Three Judges and the disciplinary tribunal said otherwise, that the couple have not been cleared of all impropriety and had lied under oath and acted dishonestly.

2. On whether Lee Suet Fern made an "innocent mistake"

  • Sudhir wrote that Suet Fern made an “innocent mistake” in sending Lee Kuan Yew a different version of the will.
  • The Court of Three Judges and the disciplinary tribunal found, though, that she had acted with "complete disregard" for Lee Kuan Yew’s interests, Teo noted.
  • “This was improper, unacceptable, and grossly negligent — it was no innocent mistake,” Teo said.

3. On Lee Hsien Yang’s act of cutting out a lawyer from communicating with Lee Kuan Yew

  • Sudhir suggests that it was not “shady behaviour” that Lee Hsien Yang excluded Kwa Kim Li, a longtime lawyer of Lee Kuan Yew, from communications with the former prime minister.
  • What the Court of Three Judges and the disciplinary tribunal found was that Lee Hsien Yang could not have known that Lee Kuan Yew would agree to exclude Kwa, since she was the solicitor who had attended to all of his previous wills.
  • Lee Kuan Yew also evidently wanted her to be involved in the execution of his will, Teo said.

4. On Lee Kuan Yew's will

  • Sudhir wrote that Lee Kuan Yew signed the will that he wanted to sign.
  • The Court of Three Judges and the disciplinary tribunal found that he signed a will that was not what he had wished to sign.
  • He did so as he was misled by Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern, Teo said.

5. On Lee Kuan Yew's discussions with Kwa about reinserting a clause into the will

  • Sudhir wrote in his book that the will was based on Lee Kuan Yew's orders and suggests that he had made a conscious decision to include the Demolition Clause in it.
  • However, the Court of Three Judges and the Disciplinary Tribunal found that he did not have discussions with Kwa about reinserting the clause.
  • Lee did not tell Lee Kuan Yew that the clause was reinserted into his will.

Sudhir said that his main conclusions based on the available evidence (or at least evidence he selectively disclosed) were that:

  • Lee Kuan Yew wanted his entire house at 38 Oxley Road demolished – nothing else – but he was aware that it might not be.
  • Ho Ching and Lee Suet Fern, Lee Kuan Yew’s daughters-in-law, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang "have been unfairly judged in this matter by their respective public critics".
  • The formation and findings of the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road are, in Sudhir's view, "problematic".

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