SINGAPORE — A healthcare worker who accused Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of misappropriating Singaporeans’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies on his blog has been asked — through Mr Lee’s lawyers — to remove the offending article by tomorrow or face legal action.
Mr Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, 33, received the letter of demand — including for payment of damages to Mr Lee — from Senior Counsel Davinder Singh via email on Sunday, regarding his May 15 article, Where Your CPF Money Is Going: Learning From The City Harvest Trial.
The article contains the “false and baseless allegation” that Mr Lee — who is also chairman of sovereign wealth fund GIC — is guilty of misappropriating money paid by Singaporeans to the CPF Board, wrote Mr Singh.
This “constitutes a very serious libel against our client, disparages him and impugns his character, credit and integrity. It is also clear that the article was published maliciously”, the lawyer added.
The letter, which Mr Ngerng posted in full on his blog yesterday afternoon, states that he has to remove the article, as well as links to it on two Facebook pages, within three days. He is also to publish an apology and undertaking not to make further similar allegations on his blog for the same duration that the May 15 article remained on the blog.
Mr Ngerng also has to pay damages, as well as costs and expenses relating to this matter that Mr Lee incurs.
Otherwise, legal action will be taken against him, the letter read.
Commenting on the letter of demand, Mr Ngerng wrote on his blog that he “believes in speaking up for my country and my fellow citizens”, and expressed disappointment at being sued for defamation, as well as “being silenced”.
His lawyer M Ravi said last evening that a response indicating Mr Ngerng’s position would be drafted and sent to Mr Lee and his lawyers in the next two days. Mr Ngerng had removed the blog post in question by 10.30pm.
A check of his blog posts showed that Mr Ngerng has regularly called for more disclosure and other changes to the management of CPF funds. He is also among the organisers of a Hong Lim Park event planned on June 7 to protest the increase of the CPF Minimum Sum to S$155,000. He was also one of the speakers at the Labour Day protest organised by career counsellor Gilbert Goh earlier this month.
The last time Mr Lee took action for defamation was against blogger Alex Au last January, for a post about Mr Lee and transactions between People’s Action Party town councils and the company Action Information Management.
-report by Neo Chai Chin, for TODAY, published May 20, 2014.