The people vs. Lee Hsien Loong

The people vs. Lee Hsien Loong

by Teo Soh Lung

As of yesterday (the 5th day since the donation drive started), Leong Sze Hian, the veteran blogger and man who crunches numbers like eating peanuts, has received S$77,703. Donations ranged from a few dollars to S$5,000.

We don’t know how long it will take for donations to reach S$133,000 which is the sum assessed by the high court judge as damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. It is a disgusting and obscene award.

But when the Prime Minister finally receives the full sum of S$133,000, he may wish to ponder about the usefulness of his law suit.

By then, he will hopefully realise that the money didn’t come from Leong who he considers a thorn in his side, but from the people of Singapore.

It is the hard earned money and savings of Singaporeans. They just want to ensure that Leong will not be bankrupted. Despite the hardship caused by COVID-19, they have donated generously.

Lee has again sullied his international reputation. But I doubt he cares. He has extracted millions in damages from so many ordinary Singaporeans.

Singapore has gone too far down the road with exhorbitant damages awards. It has been that way since 1979 as this article by Singapore Armchair Critic notes.

The late Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), showed the way in 1979 by suing opposition leader J.B. Jeyaretnam.

Shortly after, J.B. won Anson, after nearly two decades of single-party parliament. LKY knew he had to finish off the brave man.

Other ministers soon followed, like drinking blood as claims to brotherhood. When foreign journalists saw the injustices and started to write critical articles, they too were subjected to law suits.

Completing the runs against opposition and foreigners, the very people who are supposed to be look after are now attacked. It is like they have run out of “enemies”.

There is only one way to stop this cruel practice, though we cannot see blood like in Myanmar. The people have to stand together and help each other. Leong is not the first and last case.

Terry Xu of TOC, the only independent online media, has also been sued for defamation, both civil and criminal.

And many others have been harassed by the authorities. Can we withstand the attacks?

This was first published on Function 8’s Facebook page, and reproduced with permission.

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