Debate politics vigorously, but do not defame

I agree with Professor Cherian George that "it is in the long-term interest of both Singapore and the PAP for political debate to become more vibrant" (Vibrant political debate good for S'pore, says don; Dec 4).

However, I disagree with his view that the defamation suit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong against blogger Roy Ngerng was overkill. The charge of theft against a sitting prime minister is a serious one and is not a topic for debate in the political arena, where it could degenerate into a circus.

Such an arena is also unfair because the aggrieved party has to defend himself when the burden of proof rightly rests on the accuser.

Only a legal suit would establish the facts and provide certainty and finality. Therefore, it has to be pursued, notwithstanding the chance that it might alienate "some Singaporeans".

Such people should debate vigorously, not defame.

They must accept that the law of defamation applies to all and is available to all, irrespective of their station in life.

Lee Chee Sun

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Debate politics vigorously, but do not defame'. Print Edition | Subscribe