The legal battle between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and veteran blogger Leong Sze Hian continues as PM Lee wrote in his affidavit dated 11 February that the article that the blogger shared on his Facebook page was a personal attack and an attack on the government of Singapore.
In November 2018, PM Lee sued the renowned Singaporean blogger for defamation over a Facebook share he made on his Facebook profile 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 his affidavit, PM Lee affirmed that he was defamed on a personal and professional level.
He wrote, “The article falsely alleged that I had become a key target of the investigations into 1MDB, that Mr Najib had signed several ‘unfair agreements’ with me, in exchange for assistance by Singapore banks to launder 1MDB’s billions, and that I am corrupt. That was an attack against me personally as well as against the Singapore government, of which I am the head.”
The affidavit statements were filed in response to the counterclaim filed by Mr Leong after he was sued by PM Lee last year. In his counterclaim, the blogger argued that the lawsuit was an “abuse of the process of the court”.
As such, Mr Leong, represented by lawyer and opposition party leader Lim Tean, is filling to strike out the entire lawsuit. However, Mr Lee, who is being represented by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, is applying to strike down Mr Leong’s counterclaim.
On Monday (25 February), a close-door hearing of the two’s strike down applications, which lasted more than three hours, took place in the High Court.
Justice Aedit Abdullah reserved his judgment and will deliver a written judgement at a later, unspecified date.
After articles of PM Lee’s affidavit statements were published on Channel NewsAsia, TODAYonline and Mothership, many netizens question the need for PM Lee to single out Mr Leong and sue him for a just sharing an article.
Over 300 comments were received in these news sites’ Facebook pages.
Some even wrote that PM Lee should sue the original creator of the article and not Mr Leong, and he should also accept criticism if it comes his way.