SINGAPORE - Local blogger Roy Ngerng has been found guilty of defaming PM Lee Hsien Loong, with the amount of damages to be assessed at a later date.
In the blog post published on his personal blog on May 15, Ngnerg compared PM Lee with the leaders of City Harvest Church, who are currently under prosecution for allegedly misappropriating $50 million of church funds.
According to The Straits Times, Ngnerg juxtaposed the the relationship among the church leaders with a self-made chart that related PM Lee with various government agencies and local companies, which included the Central Provident Fund, Monetary Authority of SIngapore, Temasek Holdings, GIC, and others.
In a Channel News Asia report, High Court judge Lee Seiu Kin said in his judgement: "I therefore find that the Disputed Words and Images convey the natural and ordinary meaning that the plaintiff, the Prime Minister of Singapore and the Chairman of GIC, is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the CPF. There is no doubt that it is defamatory to suggest that the plaintiff is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the CPF monies."
The judge added that the blogger remains free "to exercise his right to freedom of speech under Article 14 of the Constitution", except for any repetition of the particular allegation that PM Lee misappropriated CPF monies, which Ngerng has been ordered by the court to stop publishing.
Ngerng also wrote in a blog post today: "I have received the judgement. I am disappointed as I have never intended to defame the prime minister. I will still continue to speak up on the CPF and other issues that concern Singaporeans."