Singapore: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit against blogger Roy Ngerng has entered a new round, with Lee responding to Ngerng’s bid to get the High Court to turn down his application for damages without the case going for a full trial.
In a statement filed in court on Aug 21, Lee dismissed most of the reasons Ngerng gave for an open trial.
He said the arguments the 33-year-old made are “inadmissible, irrelevant, and an abuse of the process of the court”, adding that they were designed to advance Ngerng’s political agenda.
Also, the arguments “have no place in an affidavit”, he said.
The Prime Minister sued Ngerng on May 29 for defamation over his May 15 blog post, which alleged the misappropriation of Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies.
In the post, the blogger made a comparison between City Harvest Church leaders prosecuted for allegedly misusing S$50mil (RM126mil) of church funds and what Lee had allegedly done to CPF funds.
On July 10, Lee applied to the High Court for a summary judgment, a process in which a plaintiff asks the court to rule in his favour without a trial.
He said Ngerng did not have a defence.
But in an Aug 4 affidavit, Ngerng argued he had a defence.
He said the Prime Minister’s lawyers had misunderstood his blog post when they took it to mean he was saying Lee had misappropriated CPF funds.
All he was doing, he said, was to ask for government transparency and accountability in the handling of CPF monies.
He also produced past official statements to back his arguments that the Government had changed its position on how CPF monies were invested after he wrote his blog post.
Responding, Lee said his lawyers had advised him not to “dignify” Ngerng’s “abuse of the process of this court by responding to matters which are inadmissible and irrelevant to the application.” — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network