Settlement reached between Tan Chuan-Jin and Vincent Wijeysingha over Facebook note

ACTING Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has reached a settlement with lecturer Vincent Wijeysingha over a defamatory Facebook note the latter wrote last year.

The payment of damages was made at the end of February. Dr Wijeysingha, who is also the treasurer for the Singapore Democratic Party, paid $5,000, down from the original $20,000 in damages demanded. He also withdrew all allegations and apologised unreservedly.

Mr Tan's lawyers said Dr Wijeysingha made a statutory declaration that he does not have the financial means to pay more than $5,000. Mr Tan accepted this "as a gesture of goodwill".

Dr Wijeysingha had written a Facebook note on December 2 regarding the illegal strike by SMRT bus drivers from China. He later apologised to both Mr Tan and former PAP MP Mr S Vasoo for allegations made against both of them in the note.

He told The Straits Times last night the Facebook note highlighted the plight of low-wage workers, many of whom endure extremely poor conditions.

"I hope Mr Tan will work with all concerned to address the issue," he added.

"We can now put this matter behind us."