I think it would be fair to say that most Singaporeans are unsurprised by the Singapore government or members of the Singapore government suing its own citizens. Ranging from the late JBJ to Tang Liang Hong (Tang), Dr. Chee Soon Juan (Chee), our nation’s short history is unfortunately replete with examples of what could arguably be construed as litigious behaviour on the part of our politicians in power. While Singaporeans may not be comfortable with the dark side of our Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) dominated government, it is tolerated in return for perceived stability, economic success and prosperity.
This phenomenon is not new. There is a German term “Zersetzung” which describes a systemic wearing down of opponents through psychological warfare. Methodologies would include smear campaigns against individuals, manipulating juridical and social processes to target individuals, entrapping individuals to take unrelated criminal actions against them or targeting the friends and family of the individuals. Could this arguably be said to have happened in the Singaporean context? Even if all likeness is but coincidence, the similarities are chilling enough to be disturbing.
There have for example been alleged smear campaigns against Dr. Chee and the wife of former politician Tang Liang Hong was allegedly harassed. Terry Xu (Xu), the editor of this publication has also been charged with “criminal defamation” for allowing the publication of an article by a Willy Sum which had made accusations of corruption against the Singapore government. This charge was made despite Xu complying with a take down order.
Most currently, we have the law suit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong against veteran political blogger Leong Sze Hian (Leong). Here is when we have the twist. Leong has counter sued the Prime Minister for using the legal process to chill freedom of expression in Singapore. While we are used to the suits coming top down, we are relatively unused to the little people fighting back undaunted. Leong does have reasonable argument.
Given that he had only “blanked shared” an article on Facebook something that thousands of people do every minute globally without further thought) without any commentary, why is he being singled out for a lawsuit? To add fuel to the fire, it has been revealed that the Prime Minister’s little brother has donated funds to support Leong’s legal challenge.
Could be it said that Leong is using Zersetzung methodologies to counteract “Zersetzung”? How are the courts going to rule? How is the PAP government going to react? Have they become so foolhardy with their total control that they are equally shocked that a mere citizen would be audacious enough to sue the Prime Minister? Watch this space.