Singaporean PM sues editor over allegedly defamatory online article, Facebook post - English Version of Pharak Sandesh


Friday, September 6, 2019

Singaporean PM sues editor over allegedly defamatory online article, Facebook post

SINGAPORE, Sept. 6 : Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is suing the chief editor of The Online Citizen (TOC) Terry Xu over an earlier website article and a Facebook post concerning a historic property, according to TOC's Facebook post.

The lawyers of Lee on Thursday served a writ of summons along with a statement of claim on Xu at his house, according to the post.

According to TOC, the statement of claim, referring to the article titled "PM Lee's wife, Ho Ching, weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members", said the article contained statements that are false and baseless and were calculated to disparage and impugn Prime Minister Lee as well as his office as the prime minister.

The writ was served by law firm Davinder Singh Chambers on behalf of Lee Hsien Loong.

On Sept. 1, Lee's press secretary Chang Li Lin issued a letter to Xu, saying that the article and post TOC put on Aug. 15 repeat "several false allegations" against the prime minister that were previously made by Lee's sister Lee Wei Ling on the issue of the 38 Oxley Road property which was the residence of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the father of Lee Hsien Loong.

Chang said Lee asked Xu to remove both the article and post as well as to publish a full and unconditional apology and an undertaking not to publish any similar allegations by Wednesday.

"In particular, they allege that PM Lee misled his father, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, into thinking that the 38 Oxley Road property had been gazetted by the Singapore government, and that it was futile for Mr Lee Kuan Yew to keep his direction to demolish it," Chang said in her letter.

"PM Lee thereby allegedly caused Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who had originally wanted to demolish the house, to consider other alternatives to demolition, and to change his will to bequeath the house to PM Lee," she added in the letter.

Xu, however, said in a Facebook post Wednesday that he would not comply. He said that while he was aware the costs from a possible legal suit from Lee may be "hefty", he stands by his decision. The pre-trial conference for the suit has been set for Oct. 15. (Xinhua)

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