The on-going saga of the Prime Minister v Roy Ngerng now enters its 2nd week. Before today's deadline for Roy to propose a resolution in regards to damages, the PM's lawyer, Davinder Singh issued a further notice to him. You can read it in his blog – the Heart Truths:
In this fresh demand, the PM now wants Roy to take down 4 other articles relating to this saga and a video he made last week. I believe Mr Ng will comply with this fresh demand. But this action comes as no surprise to me. For the past week I've been chiding his close friend cum advisor, fellow blogger and activist Ms Han Hui Hui, over her repeated actions in blowing this issue bigger. Much to the detriment of Mr Ng's legal avenues. I was also shocked at Mr Ng's continuous statements on Facebook (FB) and his blog over the matter and was even puzzled as to why his lawyer M Ravi, was responding to Davinder Singh in such a haughty and demanding manner. A good lawyer would never advise his client to 'up the ante' in a lawsuit that's clearly not in his favour. This will only lead to the other party making more demands much to the detriment of his client.
Senior Counsel Davinder Singh is acting for the PM. As someone put it, 'Roy may have 1 or 2 tricks up his sleeve, but Mr Singh has more in his turban!'
The moment Roy took down the offending article and apologised effectively meant his case was 'dead in the water.' Even in Western countries with robust judiciaries, this was a losing case. It's like pleading guilty to a crime, you cannot come out later and say you're innocent. If you are, claim trial. If Roy felt strongly he didn't defame the PM, he should simply ignore Davinder's letter and go to court. Yet despite his own admission, he proceeded to 'up the ante.' I was extremely puzzled by this behaviour and especially Ms Han openly stating that his blog received 1 million hits last Monday (the day he posted about the letter). And she's been making a lot of statements on this, urging people to support Roy, and questioning why the PM is suing a poor blogger when he earns millions, suggesting 'how much more money does he want?' Comments like these are detrimental because it'll suggest that the libel was widely spread thus aggravating a demand for higher damages, or perhaps to get the MDA to step in and demand Roy comes up with a $50,000 security deposit (a condition now imposed on certain websites that comment on political matters, if they have more than 50,000 hits bi-monthly). It's dumb to make comments like these.
I was getting concerned that perhaps, Mr Ng was being egged on by a small group of likeminded persons, taking in bad advise and not thinking out of the box. It's not like this is the 1st time a PAP big-wig has issued a legal letter to a blogger. Alex Au and Vincent Wijeysingha have also endured this. But they, like others before, used a tried and trusted method in dealing with them- take down the articles, apologise unreservedly, made a short statement with some degree of contrition and let the matter rest. They did not further comment publicly or urged their close associates to do so. They left it at that, and let the public make up their minds. The outcome being expected – either some felt they were wrong to make the allegations or that the PAP is a big bully.
You'd expect someone else to use this slogan as a cover photo on FB, not the person mentioned. But I guess a publicity stunt means logic goes out of the window.
Yet what did Roy do since last Monday? He upped the ante! Below is a list of some of them:
1) Publishing the letter of demand and commenting on it, knowing this will send opposition supporters into a frenzy of PAP bashing.
2) Allowing Ms Han to mention the 1 million hits, and reminding everyone of the 2 million hits he's had since he started blogging, knowing this will make the PM's case better in regards to damages.
3) Writing further articles on the CPF, thus promoting his versions as correct, including 1 that suggests he's writing 'nothing but the truth.'
4) Publishing every correspondence between his lawyer and Davinder Singh.
5) Crying foul over the letter of demand and damages.
6) Changing his FB page cover with one that says ' I stand with Roy Ng.'
7) Applying to become an NMP, despite knowing he doesn't meet the qualifying criteria or knowing it's almost certainly going to be rejected, raising his profile further.
8) Challenging the PM to a debate over the CPF. Not even JBJ or Chiam See Tong ever made such a challenge or any WP MPs for that matter.
9) Using this to promote the June 7th protest at Hong Lim Park.
10) Making a video expressing disappointment over the legal action, while at the same time playing the victim, who's just speaking up for his fellow Singaporeans.
In other words, he's been doing a series of things to make this issue bigger and clearly 'playing to the gallery.' Numerous bloggers have come out in support of him. A petition was started expressing concern at the PM's actions and numerous posts have come out on FB in support of him. A normal person facing a losing lawsuit, would do the opposite, he'd lie low and urge his supporters to let the matter rest and hope some resolution can be reached.
Calling the PM a 'fool' is fair comment, call him a 'crook' is not unless you have concrete evidence
Instead of all this, he should have simply apologised immediately last Monday (instead of waiting until Friday), taken down the post, issued a short statement on the matter on his blog, acknowledging his mistake and urging restraint, while working quietly behind the scenes to reach a settlement over damages (maybe even asking to forgo it). The PM he knows, doesn't need his money, all monies would be donated to charity as with all other similar cases. If he did this, what would be the general consensus in the court of public opinion? Okay he made a mistake let's move on or that the PAP is a big bully. Yet this he didn't do, and someone named Michael Goh also asked similar questions on his FB page today, on why he's pursuing this path.
Tan Chuan Jin reiterated the Govt's stand on raising the Minimum Sum. Only the voters can force a change not some 2 bit blogger making wild statements.
Hence the fresh demands made today by Davinder Singh comes as no surprise. And I have been lambasting Ms Han for egging him on and doing things without thinking, making matters worse. She replied that Mr Ng had asked to do these. My reaction was that he's being poorly advised and not thinking straight, just playing to the gallery because of the online support. Worse I felt this would be even more detrimental to the notion that some changes are needed in the way the CPF situation is run. We already had Minister Tan Chuan Jin saying yesterday that the Govt is convinced that they are right. Things like this are more likely to harden their stand than change it.
Ms Han Hui Hui, Roy's NMP proposer, fellow protest organiser and close confidant has revealed that the reason for 'upping the ante' and provoke the lawsuit is for Mr Ng to seek asylum in Denmark.
So why do all these things? I slammed Ms Han on Saturday, for her post on Roy's FB page about the 1 million hits, which would aggravate things. She replied that Roy wanted to seek asylum. I thought maybe, he's just so overwhelmed by all this legal matters, he just wants to go away to another country where he can have more freedoms, so I left it at that. Then today when the fresh demands came out and touched on some of the points I'd been slamming Ms Han and Roy for doing after 1st receiving the letter, I again chided her for her stupidity and immaturity. Below is what transpired next:
HHH: Roy wants to be a martyr and seek asylum. Is he who ask me to help him one.
Me: Where he wants to seek asylum in?
HHH: Leslie ask him go Denmark.
Me: Leslie? Leslie who? His bf? (Mr Ng is gay)
HHH: Leslie Chew the cartoonist.
Me: Ah. So Denmark will offer him asylum or he hopes they will if he's a political victim here?
HHH: That's why they wanna provoke lor.
Me: F***ing hell! So all this a bloody show to win sympathy! He's just making use of everyone for his selfish ends? Don't f*** care about the CPF, fighting for the people. All this just 'wayang'
His real intention was to seek asylum!
Disgraceful and disgusting behaviour.
Worst is you. Instead of stopping him, you helping him cheat ordinary Singaporeans, trying to win sympathy for some cheap gimmick!
With this final piece of the jigsaw, now everything becomes clearer and explains the series of rash statements and actions since he received the letter. With the reason given by his close confidant, whose been actively drumming up support for him non-stop, condemning the PM for taking action. She's even called for 'a global campaign' by bloggers to 'spread the word of the PM suing Roy Ng' for his writings and speaking about transparency and accountability in Singapore.
Roy Ng should follow the advice on his tee-shirt. We don't want martyrs with ulterior motives.
In the end this is all just a cheap gimmick and publicity stunt, to help him get residency in Europe by portraying himself as a victim. In the process the thousands who have spoken for him and expressed concerned over the lawsuit have all been taken for a ride. The whole intention at the outset was to milk this to score points and paint himself as a victim. It could even be fair to infer that the offending article was written to exactly produce this result. After 400 articles that were normal and fair comment, all of a sudden he produces 1 followed by 4 others, which everyone knows how the PAP will respond to allegations of criminal misconduct.
And you cannot say he was given no opportunity to respond positively. He waited and delayed while on the side-lines encouraged maximising the issue, playing the victim's card all the time. And stoking the issue with more articles and a video, when others before him acted more cautiously. Not to mention acting in a way, no sound legal advocate would advice in a losing case.
Teo Soh Lung is a martyr. Someone who suffered for a cause she believed in and she's remained to carry on her fight. She could have snared asylum in a jiffy but chose not to.
The Worker's Party doesn't behave this way, neither does the NSP, Tan Jee Say and even the SDP has abandoned this concept. They tackle the issue openly and make suggestions, giving voters a chance to choose. None of them would ever whilst condemning, questioning or highlighting a policy flaw of the PAP, make an allegation of criminal impropriety. Why? Because everyone knows how the PAP will respond, and the main stream media will attack the person making the allegation, thus changing the focus from the policy flaw to the improper allegation.
Desmond Lim has twice lost his deposit, he appears struggling at times, but he's sincere. And we can definitely respect him for that.
Roy Ng has done a great disservice to ordinary Singaporeans, especially opposition supporters who've rallied behind him because they felt the PM was using his 'strength' to crush a poor hapless blogger, who made a simple mistake whilst trying to raise a pertinent issue. Instead his close confidant now comes out to say, he's been spoiling for a fight in order to further his own personal ends. And who better than the 1 person with the highest profile – the PM. A most disgraceful course of action. I'd rather have some political lightweight like Desmond Lim speak and raise the issues than Mr Ng, who has an ulterior motive. He can speak for himself from now on, ordinary Singaporeans can find better and more suitable people like Nicole Seah, Sylvia Lim, Pritam Singh, Paul Thambyah and Tan Jee Say, who have the credentials and convictions. Mr Ng just came back from Scandinavia, he can go back there and stay there, we don't want self-serving martyrs.