Blogger and activist, Roy Ngerng has raised S$45,627.42 over two days of fundraising to pay for defamation damages to be paid to the Prime Minister of Singapore.
Mr Ngerng, who is currently based in Taiwan, said that he managed to raise the 30% of the targeted sum of S$144,000 with the support of 639 individuals.
Thanking those who have donated to his cause, he wrote, “I am really touched by the outpour of support. Some of you shared that you have done so because of what I wrote, and because I helped raised awareness on the issues in Singapore, such as the CPF. ”
Mr Ngerng was sued by Mr Lee Hsien Loong in 2014, over an article that he wrote on his blog, “The Heart Truths”.
The blogpost which was published in May 2014, had compared the Government’s usage of CPF monies to the City Harvest Church leaders’ alleged misuse of church funds.
On 17 December 2015, the Supreme Court ordered Ngerng to pay S$150,000 in damages to Mr Lee for defaming and accusing him of misappropriating government funds. This comprises S$100,000 in general damages and S$50,000 in aggravated damages.
In a settlement deal with PM Lee, Mr Ngerng would pay S$100 a month for five years, and S$1,000 a month subsequently in damages awarded until the full sum of S$150,000 is paid.
According to Mr Ngerng, he currently owes PM Lee a sum of S$144,000. Based on the outstanding sum, he would have to continue his payment via instalments for the next 12 years, until 2033.
Mr Ngerng who left Singapore because he could not find a job anymore, notes that the monthly installment of S$1000 is nearly half of his monthly salary.
He shared that he revived his fundraising campaign on the encouragement of friends and supporters to help him pay off the outstanding amount and get him out of this financial burden that has been hanging over his head since 2016.
Mr Ngerng’s campaign follows the success of Mr Leong Sze Hian, a veteren blogger and financial adviser who managed to raised over $133,000 over 11 days from over 2000 individuals, to pay PM Lee for defamation damages.
Mr Leong was also sued by PM Lee for defamation over a Facebook share of an article in 2018.
Just last month, the High Court ordered Mr Leong Sze Hian to pay PM Lee S$133,000 for defamation, which includes $100,000 in general damages and $33,000 in aggravated damages.
The amount of damage was made in reference to Mr Ngerng’s case.
Justice Aedit Abdullah in his judgement found that the defamatory statement in the article shared by Mr Leong was worse compared to allegations made in Mr Ngerng’s case.
Sharing a story of Mr Ngerng’s fundraising efforts on Facebook, Professor Donald Low, wrote: “I was never a fan of Roy Ngerng’s writing but I feel that the punishment meted out to him is over the top: not just the financial penalty, but also the fact that he can no longer make a living in Sg. And to have to pay nearly half his salary for the next decade is manifestly unjust.”
Prof Low added, “I hope we can all contribute a little to his fundraising effort even if we don’t agree with, or like, his writings. The message we’re sending when we contribute is not that we agree with him, but that we disagree with what he’s been subjected to more.”
If you would like to support Mr Ngerng’s fundraising, you can donate to:
- POSB Savings Account Number (Singapore) – 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling)
- PayNow (Singapore): S8113784F
- PayPal – [email protected]
- E.Sun Bank(玉W銀行) Bank Code 銀行代碼: 808 (Taiwan) – Account Number 存戶帳號: 0886-968-170270