Update: An additional S$6,000 for an earlier application of a Queen’s Counsel was added and S$29,000 for a summary trial, making it a total of S$215,000.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made his move to bankrupt CPF blogger Roy Ngerng with a S$150,000 defamation compensation awarded in his favour. In a media interview with Roy Ngerng’s pro bono lawyer Mr Thuraisingam, Roy Ngerng will pay S$100 installment a month for 5 years until 2021 starting this April 1, 2016, to April 1, 2021. After which, Roy Ngerng will have to pay S$1,000 a month in installment until the full S$150,000 sum is paid. Court Judgment interest rates will apply if Roy Ngerng falls behind on his payment obligations. The installment terms were agreed last week.
In addition, Roy Ngerng also has to pay S$30,000 for the costs of Assessment of Damages hearing by this Wednesday (16 March). It is unknown if Roy Ngerng is able to raise S$30,000 in two days, but speculations have been rife that he will most likely apply for bankruptcy.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong won the defamation suit without a trial. The default judgment ruled that Roy Ngerng defamed the Prime Minister with his internet posting suggesting that Ho Ching uses the country’s CPF funds for her investments via Temasek Holdings because she is the Prime Minister’s wife.
The Singapore government has been clamping down on online dissent especially on local websites. In April 2015, the most popular socio-civic website The Real Singapore was shut down and now two of its editors face up to 3 years jail for each of the 7 sedition charges. It’s third editor Alex Tan fled Singapore for Australia in March 2015 following police investigations to set up States Times Review. Another popular website theonlinecitizen is also recently in trouble with the Singapore government, and is poised to be shut down if it does’t pay S$5,000 within the next two weeks.