AGC writes to Li Shengwu over Facebook post; he amends post, says it's not contempt of court

In a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 4), Mr Li, 32, the eldest son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang and nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said the post in question was not an attack on the judiciary.
In a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 4), Mr Li, 32, the eldest son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang and nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said the post in question was not an attack on the judiciary.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Li Shengwu has responded to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) over a Facebook post he made on July 15, which the latter said was an attack on the Singapore judiciary and in contempt of court.

In a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 4), Mr Li, 32, the eldest son of Mr Lee Hsien Yang and nephew of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said the post in question was not an attack on the judiciary.

"It is not my intent to attack the Singapore judiciary or to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice. Any criticism I made is of the Singapore government's litigious nature, and its use of legal rules and actions to stifle the free press," he said.

"However, to avoid any misunderstanding of my original private post, I have amended the post so as to clarify my meaning," he added.

His amended post was not made public on his Facebook page.

In the July 15 post, which he set to "friends only" privacy setting but which was published by several websites and widely circulated on social media, Mr Li said foreign media had been cowed into self-censorship because of previous legal action.

 

Mr Li shared a link to a Wall Street Journal newspaper article giving a summary of the recent dispute which saw his father and aunt Lee Wei Ling on one side, and his uncle on the other, over their late father Lee Kuan Yew's home on 38, Oxley Road. The article was titled Singapore, A Model Of Orderly Rule, Is Jolted By A Bitter Family Feud.

 

He also included a link to a 2010 New York Times commentary that was critical of his late grandfather, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and the Government over what it deemed as censorship of the foreign press.

On July 17, the AGC said it was looking into the post. It subsequently wrote to Mr Li.

In his latest Facebook post, Mr Li said: "If my private post is read in context, it is evident that I did not attack the Singapore judiciary.

"In the context of sharing the summary by the Wall Street Journal, I intended to convey that the international media were restricted in their ability to report on the recent crisis, due to the litigious nature of the Singapore government, and the different legal rules with respect to press freedom in Singapore as compared to countries such as the United States.

"There is also flexibility in Singapore's defamation laws - they just have different boundaries from the defamation laws in other jurisdictions. The government makes use of these legal rules to restrict unfavourable reporting," he added.

He also said: "No one who published or republished my private post had approached me to clarify what I meant. Curiously, the Singapore media had time to seek statements from a Senior Minister of State and the AGC, but did not even do basic fact-checking - they inaccurately reported that the post was taken down, because they did not bother to contact me."