Friends and supporters of Leong Sze Hian have started to raise funds for his defence case against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's defamation suit and countersuit on PM Lee for abusing the court process.
Countersuit filed against PM Lee for abusing court process
Leong was earlier sued by PM Lee for defamation over a Facebook share he made with an article from TheCoverage.My. The article claimed that editor-in-chief of investigative journalism platform Sarawak Report (SR) Ms Clare Rewcastle had mentioned Singapore as "one of the key investigation targets, alongside Switzerland and United States" in the 1MDB scandal during an interview with Malaysian media.
In response to earlier media queries, Ms Chang Li Lin, the press secretary to the Prime Minister, confirmed that PM Lee had commenced legal proceedings against Leong for defamation, and said that the matter is in the hands of PM Lee's lawyers.
"Mr Lee reserves the right to take legal action against other parties who similarly defame him," she added.
However, TOC understands that there was no caption written by Leong on the Facebook share.
Lim Tean, who is representing Leong in both suits, announced on Wednesday that he has accepted the case from Leong and said that he is looking forward to cross-examine the PM in court.
Lim wrote, "Mr Leong did not choose to pick a fight, but now offers battle to uphold the freedom of expression in Singapore, a fundamental human right which he has fought tirelessly for more than 2 decades."
In a statement from the Carson Laws Chamber, it is said that Leong plead that the claim by PM Lee is an abuse of the process of the court and relies upon the same argument for his counterclaim based upon the tort of abuse of civil process.
The statement further states, "Our client invites the court to find that the initiating and pursuit of an unnecessary claim for libel must, therefore, be in order to try to obtain an impermissible collateral advantage, and believes its purpose is to chill freedom of expression ahead of both the trial of Najib Razak and a likely General Election in Singapore next year."
Lee Hsien Yang contributes to Leong's legal fund
In response to TOC's query if he has plans for any fundraising, Leong shared that many have approached him to express their interest to contribute to his legal funds and already some had contributed to it.
Leong told TOC that he hope to see 10,000 people to contribute $1 to his legal funds.
While his target amount will not be sufficient to pay for the legal fees, Leong said, "Singaporeans must let our overpaid Ministers know once and for all, that it does not pay to sue ordinary citizens for defamation. Singaporeans and their children, and their children's children will never have to fear being sued, for exercising their rights of freedom of expression."
He also shared that Mr Lee Hsien Yang, younger brother of PM Lee had contributed to his crowd funding campaign. In response to TOC's query, Mr Lee Hsien Yang confirmed that he had just contributed to Leong's legal funds, however, the amount is not revealed.
Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister, Dr Lee Weiling had earlier issued a joint statement on 14 June 2017, delivering harsh criticisms of PM Lee, saying that they are disturbed by the character, conduct, motives and leadership of their brother, and the role of his wife, Ho Ching. Alleging that PM Lee had abused his powers and position as PM for personal agenda. In response to the allegations, PM Lee cleared himself in Parliament of any wrong doings and closed the matter without any official investigation.
Public welcome to support Leong
To make his wish happen, Leong has decided to make his accounts public for those keen to support to donate for his legal funds.
For those who wish to contribute to Leong's legal funds, the details of his accounts are as follow:
Name of account: Leong Sze Hian
POSB Savings: 064064070
Paypal: [email protected]