SINGAPORE - It is "completely in order" for civil servants to defend Singapore's interests by correcting misrepresentations about the country, clarified the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Wednesday.
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The statement was issued in response to media queries over the propriety of recent letters by the Prime Minister's press secretary to the Economist magazine, and the Singapore Consul-General in Hong Kong to the South China Morning Post.
The Economist article was on the Government's Central Provident Fund policies. It referred to PM's defamation suit over an allegation that the PM had misappropriated public moneys.
The opinion piece was published on The Economist's Banyan blog, which analyses Asian politics and culture. It described blogger Roy Ngerng's accusation as an "alleged 'serious libel'", which is wrong, Ms Chang Li Lin said in a letter.
"When aspersions are cast on the integrity of the Prime Minister and his Government's policies, an official reply from the PM's press secretary is completely in order. This is no different from what press secretaries in most other Governments do," the statement fom the PMO said.
"Likewise, when a foreign newspaper carries an article with misrepresentations about Singapore, it is important that our diplomatic representative defend Singapore's interests by correcting misrepresentations and providing a balanced view. Our Consul-General in Hong Kong did just that when he responded to the South China Morning Post article," it added.