A ‘legal defence fund’ that defends nothing
I am really surprised that Roy Ngerng has managed to raise $81k within five days. Unfortunately, I’m not sure whether the donors know what exactly they are donating to. Do they think that their donations are a gesture of support for Roy’s criticism on CPF? If so, then I’m afraid that these donors have been grossly misled. You see, Roy is not being sued here for criticizing the CPF. He is being sued for calling PM a corrupt official.
Criticism is fine. TOC and its ilk do it all the time. However, they do not go around suggesting that the officials are corrupt, simply because they have the common sense to know that this is defamation.
Just a quick recap – in Roy’s original article, “Where Your CPF Money is Going: Learning from the City Harvest Trial”, he had clearly suggested that PM Lee, his wife Mdm Ho Ching, Minister Tharman and the GIC/Temasek management had misappropriated our CPF monies.
This is not a light allegation, as it clearly asserts that PM was corrupt and had taken Singaporeans’ money under false pretences in order to line his own pocket. While Roy is not new to criticizing the Government, describing PM as a corrupt official is clearly crossing the line. PM’s lawyer then sends a letter to Roy, demanding that he take down the offending post, apologise and compensate PM accordingly.
Roy’s actions after receiving this letter was strange, to say the least. First, he posted a self-claimed expose about CPF titled ‘Your CPF: The complete truth and nothing but the truth’. He also posted a long video on YouTube as an accompanying piece to that article. Concurrently, Roy also requested that the deadline for his apology be extended. This is quite confusing. On one hand, Roy publishes an article (supported by multimedia content, no less) filled with more allegations. On the other, he asks PM for more time to apologise. What gives?
When the extended apology deadline rolled around, Roy acknowledged that he had defamed PM, apologized and took down the original post. PM then asked Roy to remove the new posts and video, which Roy promptly agrees to. This is where the case gets interesting. Instead of taking down the offending posts and videos, Roy apparently privatized them. This meant that while the general public could no longer view the articles, Roy could share the direct links with anyone he wanted. And of course, he shared these links with the international and local media.
It would seem that Roy’s actions and his ‘apology’ did not gel with each other.
After PM rejected Roy’s $5,000 offer as compensation for calling him a corrupt official, Roy’s sets up a ‘legal defense fund’. Let us be clear here. Roy had already acknowledged that he had defamed PM, and had apologized for his defamation act. Nobody knows why Roy Ngerng published more defamatory posts after receiving the letter from PM’s lawyers, and the purpose of this ‘legal defense fund’ is unclear as well.
Remember this – Roy Ngerng has already acknowledged that he defamed PM, and has apologized. The only outstanding thing now is how much the compensation will be, so what exactly this fund would ‘defend’, only his lawyer would know.
— 15 May Roy Ngerng publishes defamatory story
— 19 May PM demands apology and compensation from Roy Ngerng for defamationRoy Ngerng publishes article announcing that he is being sued
— 20 May Roy Ngerng requests for apology deadline to be extendedPM agrees, extends deadline till 23 May
Roy Ngerng publishes second defamatory article
— 21 May Roy Ngerng publishes his proposal to become NMP
— 22 May Roy Ngerng publishes third defamatory blog post, supported by a video
— 23 May Roy Ngerng apologises to PM and removes original defamatory post. Roy Ngerng asks for ‘open dialogue’ on CPF
— 24 May Roy Ngerng publishes fourth defamatory blog post with video
— 26 May PM sends new request to Roy Ngerng to take down all other defamatory articles and videos. Roy Ngerng requests to extend deadline for offer of compensation
Instead of removing articles and videos, Roy Ngerng privatizes them before sending links of the articles and videos to media
— 27 May Roy Ngerng offers $5,000 as compensationPM rejects offer
— 28 May Roy Ngerng refuses to make further offers, orders lawyer to accept service of process
— 29 May Roy Ngerng sets up legal defense fund