Singapore’s PM in court for defamation suit against blogger

Singapore

Singapore’s PM arrived at court on Tuesday to get a case in which he’s suing a blogger for sharing an online article linking him to Malaysia’s 1MBD state fund money-laundering scandal.

Since the planet’s best-paid political leader and the head of a government which has vowed zero tolerance on corruption, Lee Hsien Loong, 68, is no stranger to protecting his integrity through legal channels.

Lee is suing financial adviser Leong Sze Hian, 66, over a November 2018 Facebook post which linked to a post by Malaysian information site The Coverage.

Lee’s lawyers said that the article contained “false and baseless” allegations and charged that Leong shared the article “maliciously” to damage their client. Leong subsequently deleted the post.

Leong has stated that he “merely shared” the article without adding remarks or changing the articles and rejected allegations he maliciously submitted the report.

Senior figures in the People’s Action Party, such as Lee’s late father and Singapore’s modern day founder Lee Kuan Yew, have previously sued foreign media, political competitions and internet commentators for defamation.

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Singapore maintains tight controls over local media and enacted a fake news law last year that critics charged could further erode speech freedoms in the city-state. The government says it doesn’t curb legitimate criticism or restrict free speech.

Lee in 2015 took the stand for hours, answering inquiries from a blogger who he’d sued for implicating him impropriety in connection with the funds in Singapore’s mandatory retirement savings strategy are handled.

In a spin before this week’s trial, police on Friday arrested Leong’s attorney for alleged criminal breach of trust.

The lawyer, Lim Tean, that was released ahead of this trial, said the arrest was politically motivated which the authorities refused.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by John Geddie and Edgar Su. Editing by Michael Perry.

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