Roy Ngerng defaming PM Lee in Heart Truths blog

From ‘Singapore blogger issued letter of demand by PM Lee’s lawyers’, 19 May 2014, article in CNA

Mr Roy Ngerng, author of a blog titled The Heart Truths, was today (May 19) issued a legal request by Drew & Napier, on behalf of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, to remove an article that had been “published maliciously”, according to the lawyer’s letter.

According to the letter issued by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, the blogpost, titled “Where your CPF Money Is Going: Learning From The City Harvest Trial”, is understood to mean that Mr Lee “is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid in the Central Provident Fund (CPF).

“This is a false and baseless allegation and constitutes a very serious libel against our client, disparages him and impugns his character, credit and integrity,” the letter, dated May 18, stated.

Mr Lee has requested that Mr Ngerng:

  • Immediately remove the blogpost;
  • Publish an apology on the homepage of his blog for as long as the offending blog post was left online; and
  • Pay compensation for damages and legal costs.

The blogger has three days to comply, failing which legal proceedings will be taken against him, the lawyer wrote.

Another year, another lawyer’s ‘letter of demand’, a euphemism for a written threat to sue. Calling the PM’s weapon of choice a ‘legal request’ is like calling a police warrant for your arrest a Hallmark greeting card. Other bloggers like Alex Au and TRS’s Richard Wan have complied quietly and helplessly to our PM’s demands after allegedly defaming the Government, and Roy Ngerng looks set to follow suit. Roy had planned a protest called ‘Return my CPF’, jointly run with another financial expert Leong Sze Hian, with the same fetish for bar graphs.

Law Minister K Shanmugam had this to say about the ‘right’ way of criticising ministers:

If you make a personal allegation of fact, if you say I took money, I am corrupt, I will then sue you and ask you to prove it. But if you say I am a stupid fool who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, and the Government comprises ministers who don’t know what they’re talking about and you criticise every policy of the Government, no one can sue you.

PM Lee probably took Roy’s post to implicitly mean that ‘he took money and he is corrupt’, but made no challenge for the blogger to ‘prove it’. Instead, the standard demands are raised just like it applies to anyone who had the audacity to go beyond calling the PM a ‘stupid fool’: Remove, apologise or be damned. Roy seems to be have put much painstaking effort into charts and statistics, which I have no patience for, and it would be a shame if he’s not even given the chance to back himself up with his ‘research findings’. Meanwhile, you can hurl ‘baseless’ obscenities at the PM and his mother and the worst thing that could happen to you is losing your job. You could even create a bar chart of how much the PM sucks compared to other countries’ PMs and you wouldn’t be harrassed by Drew and Napier with a pitilessly self-deprecating apology written on your behalf.

Roy’s comparison of CPF handling with the City Harvest scamsters is scanty at best. First of all, churchgoers give their money WILLINGLY to Kong Hee and gang. We have no such liberties with CPF. Secondly, we will never ever see Ho Ching do a Sun Ho. Or maybe some of us are dying to actually see that happen, at the risk of our eyes bleeding. (By the way, Kong Hee has 95K Followers and counting on Twitter. Lee Hsien Loong, 71.5 K). Also, no matter how hard you pray to Jesus Christ, you will never see your hard-earned money until you hit 55.

Whatever the outcome of this, it has raised a valid concern about what exactly happens to our money. Is our CPF monies being used by GIC for investment or not? This is what the GIC website says in one of its FAQs:

The short answer is that GIC manages the Government’s reserves, but as to how the funds from CPF monies flow into reserves which could then be managed by either MAS, GIC or Temasek, this is not made explicit to us.

The ‘short answer’ should be ‘WE DON’T REALLY KNOW’. Well then, who does?

Even some of the PAP MPs themselves were confused when this issue was raised in Parliament in 2007. An article by Chua Mui Hoong quoted MP Sim Boon Ann as saying that CPF funds are ‘indirectly’ invested by Government through the GIC and other channels in external and real assets, and asked if its time to ‘wean the Government off CHEAP funds’. Ng Eng Hen was reported to remark that ‘the link between GIC and CPF was not so SIMPLE’, which doesn’t sound the least assuring.

Maybe instead of laying down the gauntlet so soon on Roy and hiring D and N (ideal names for a pair of twin attack rottweilers) to wallop his ass dry, the Government should ‘invest’ some time in cutting through this fog of jargon and tell the common man where exactly our money is. In the meantime, here is a picture of our PM hamming it up with some bloggers at an Istana party, a reminder that there are times when he does engage by showing up in person with arms wide open and not in the form of an aggressive, hissing letterhead.

The Hurt Truths

The Hurt Truths

UPDATE: Roy has taken down the offending post, apologised ‘unreservedly’ to the PM, and requested to waive the ‘damages’ and legal costs. Our PM is having none of it. While Richard Wan of TRE was spared from having to dig deep into his pockets, Roy, a healthcare worker, looks set to be the first non-politician citizen to have to compensate the PM for what’s deemed a ‘malicious’ article. Chee Soon Juan’s defamation suit in 2006 makes an interesting parallel to Roy’s CHC analogy , where he compared both Lees’ running of Singapore to that of the NKF scandal.The penalty? A whopping $330K to PM Lee. I think I would rather take the rotan than cough up anywhere near that sum. Maybe Roy should change the theme of his protest on the CPF to a fundraiser instead.

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4 Responses

  1. […] CPF article – Guanyinmiao’s Musings: Heart Truths – Everything Also Complain: Roy Ngerng defaming PM Lee in Heart Truths blog – Anyhow Hantam: Roy Ng v the PM: Blog with your Head not with your Heart – Blogging […]

  2. PM LEE
    LEE hsien loong
    MR Ho Ching
    Ivory tower you live in
    WISdom you lack
    INsight you need

    Mr lee hsien loong
    Election say ” sorry”
    Right now big bully
    Vegenance does not become you
    Instead you will be hated more
    Never think you can scare the people

  3. Hi gdy2shoez, it may not interest you to put yourself in a court trial before. I assume you are young and know nothing much as well as most of us. But don’t put someone’s name to criticize them when the trial is not concluded. Be kind and you will reap back.

  4. […] today? Where did we go wrong? From the naked man who touched himself in the MRT train to the clash between PM Lee and Blogger Roy, I wondered if we were indeed unkind to our own people and have lost of soundness and discernment […]

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