PM Lee replies to blogger's request for more information

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has responded to blogger Roy Ngerng's request for more details to support Mr Lee's demand for aggravated damages. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO FILE
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has responded to blogger Roy Ngerng's request for more details to support Mr Lee's demand for aggravated damages. -- PHOTO: ZAOBAO FILE

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has responded to blogger Roy Ngerng's request for more details to support Mr Lee's demand for aggravated damages.

The answers, given to the 33-year-old on Wednesday, were released to the media on Friday.

Mr Ngerng, who is being sued for defamation after alleging Mr Lee had criminally misappropriated Central Provident Fund savings, had last week (June18) asked for more information for some points in Mr Lee's statement of claim.

In the statement of claim filed on May 29, Mr Lee's lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, listed nine reasons that entitled the Prime Minister to recover aggravated damages.

Mr Ngerng's lawyer M. Ravi had, on June 18, asked for better information to clarify some of them.

One was malice on the part of Mr Ngerng.

Mr Singh wrote in Wednesday's letter that Mr Ngerng had published the allegation against Mr Lee, "not caring whether they were true or false". Mr Ngerng intended to injure Mr Lee and to wound Mr Lee's reputation, he said.

And although the 33-year-old blogger had apologised to Mr Lee last month, admitting the libel was "false and completely without foundation", he continued to allege the libels were true, said Mr Singh.

Another point Mr Ravi wanted more details of was what Mr Singh had described as Mr Ngerng's "calculated and cynical conduct to use the occasion of his libels to promote himself and cause further distress and injury to" Mr Lee.

Mr Singh brought up how Mr Ngerng had, among other things, published a blogpost and video, actions that show his apology was insincere. In a YouTube video uploaded on May 24, Mr Ngerng said he was "right" to make the allegation of criminal misappropriation and did not regret it, said Mr Singh.

He had also republished the "false and malicious" comparison between the City Harvest Church leaders prosecuted for allegedly misusing about $50 million in church funds and what Mr Lee had allegedly done to CPF funds, said Mr Singh

The Senior Counsel also wrote that Mr Ravi had in a May 28 letter "falsely claimed" that Mr Lee was seeking to prevent Mr Ngerng from expressing his views on the CPF, or from exercising his constitutional right to freedom of expression.

This "disingenuous suggestion" was later made in a letter Mr Ngerng intended to make public "to bolster his standing and in aid of his continuing public campaign against" Mr Lee, said Mr Singh.

Mr Ravi on Friday filed amended defence papers in court to add that, based on Article 14 of the Constitution - which guarantees Singaporeans the freedom of speech and expression, among others - Mr Lee has no cause of action against Mr Ngerng.

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