I read with interest the whole saga in relation to the elections at the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA), the allegations of improper processes that were made by former national table tennis player, Mr Tan Kai Kok (Tan) and the subsequent issuance of legal letters to The Online Citizen (TOC). I understand that all allegations have been disputed by the STTA in a public statement.
I note that Tan had among other things, alleged that Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu (Fu) and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ang Mo Kio, Dr Lee Bee Wah (Dr. Lee) had influenced the elections in favour of Ms Ellen Lee (Lee) who is the current President of the STTA.
Given that these allegations would amount to a misuse of power by elected politicians if true, it is rather surprising that neither Fu nor Dr. Lee have issued their own statements of denial? Rather, all we have had to date is a denial from STTA. Wouldn’t elected politicians (especially a minister) be keen to make clear their own lack of involvement?
If true, these allegations would smack of nepotism and if political power has been misused here, where else has it been abused?
It is curious also that lawyers purportedly acting for Lee have issued legal letters to TOC. It is not TOC that broke the story. Rather, it was Facebook!
TOC merely is trying to report on a story that was already in public circulation. Have the lawyers similarly written to Facebook? To write to an independent alternative media outlet with a lawyers letter can also be construed as bullying on the part of the STTA.
Given allegations of government backing for Lee together with a lawyer’s letter can definitely be considered as intimidation. If so, why is there a need to intimidate an independent news outlet for simply reporting on a story that is already in circulation?
The question of legal costs has already been raised by an earlier article. If the fees are being stumped up by STTA, one has to question if the funds are best spent on lawyers when a statement clarifying matters would have sufficed. Indeed, such statement has already been issued by the STTA.
The lawyer’s letter seems to imply that lawyers were hired by Lee in her personal capacity given that it appeared to refer to Lee by name and not the STTA. While it is not my position to advise Lee on the necessity of incurring costs if it is her own money, it is my personal opinion that it is not money well spent.
However, if STTA has paid for it, then it will need to justify to the public why it saw fit to incur legal fees when a statement would have sufficed.