Blogger accedes to PM's demand to remove posts, video

Blogger accedes to PM's demand to remove posts, video

Blogger Roy Ngerng has acceded to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's latest demand that he remove four blog posts and a YouTube video by 5pm yesterday.

The 33-year-old health-care worker has also agreed not to make further posts or videos of a similar nature, his lawyer M. Ravi said in his written reply yesterday afternoon to a letter sent earlier in the day by Mr Lee's lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh.

Mr Ngerng would have faced aggravated damages if he had not complied.

Following Mr Ngerng's move, Mr Lee agreed to his request for yet more time to make a written offer of damages and legal costs. The deadline, which was 5pm yesterday, has now been pushed to 5pm tomorrow.

This is the latest development in the saga following a May 15 post on Mr Ngerng's blog The Heart Truths, in which he accused Mr Lee of misappropriating Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.

After receiving a lawyer's letter on May 18, he took down the post and last Friday apologised unreservedly to the Prime Minister.

But, Mr Singh wrote yesterday, his subsequent online posts and video show his earlier apology "was not and never meant to be genuine".

Also, it has always been his intention to use Mr Lee's "lawful and legitimate demand to opportunistically raise his public profile, garner support and sympathy, and renew his attack" against Mr Lee, Mr Singh wrote.

It is apparent from the tone of the latest posts that Mr Ngerng is angry that he had failed in his bid to avoid paying damages to Mr Lee, Mr Singh added.

In a May 24 blog post, Mr Ngerng said he had apologised "only in relation to a mere perceived suggestion of 'misappropriation'". He added that the PM had not taken issue with the rest of his May 15 post.

The post carried the video in which Mr Ngerng said, among other things, that he "believes in speaking up for what is right in Singapore" and that he had spoken up "because I believe in speaking the truth".

In his various remarks in the video, Mr Singh said, Mr Ngerng is asserting "he was 'right' to make the allegation of criminal misappropriation against (Mr Lee), that the allegation is the 'truth', and (Mr Lee) has used the law to suppress the fact of his criminal misappropriation".

Mr Ngerng is also asserting, Mr Singh added, that Mr Lee "is seeking damages and costs not to enforce his legal rights", but to "assassinate" his character and "discredit" him.

Mr Singh also noted that since the May 18 lawyer's letter, Mr Ngerng has twice republished the "false and malicious" comparison he had made in the May 15 blog post that got him into trouble.

In that post, he had compared a chart he made, setting out relationships between the CPF, Mr Lee and Singapore companies like GIC, to a Channel NewsAsia chart about City Harvest Church leaders prosecuted for allegedly misusing church funds.

Two of the four posts taken down yesterday were put up after May 19, the day he removed the offending blog post.

The other two posts, first published in 2012 and last year, were republished as links to last week's posts.

In yesterday's letter, Mr Singh also said that should Mr Ngerng fail to honour his undertaking, the aggravated damages are to be calculated into the offer of damages he has to submit tomorrow.

Mr Lee reserves "all his rights", the letter concluded.

asyiqins@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 27, 2014.
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