Saturday, 29 June 2013

K Shanmugam says will continue engaging with online community

K Shanmugam says will continue engaging with online community
Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said he will continue to engage with the online community

He was responding to questions on an online post by blogger Kirsten Han, about a phone conversation Mr Shanmugam had with lawyer Remy Choo.

The minister had replied to the post earlier on Friday, saying that his comments during that phone call were misconstrued.

Mr Shanmugam said it is important that facts be verified before any posting is done. He said: "The key, I think, is for people to recognise two things. One, before you go and write something, try and verify the facts. Second, when you read something that somebody else has purported to post, be careful, because it may not be accurate, it may not even be by the person purporting to be so.- CNA/xq

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Shanmugam clarifies midnight phone call

I have been asked about Ms Kirsten Han’s post at spuddings.net. Unfortunately the picture Ms Han has painted is quite untrue. To give her the benefit of doubt, she was not part of the conversation and may not therefore have had the full picture. 

I spoke with Remy Choo whom I know and whom I have engaged with. I discuss issues with Remy – I have met him in my office, have met him for dinner, and have had phone conversations with him on various topics. Yesterday, I spoke with Remy about an article that had appeared, and told him the facts. He told me that he himself had thought that the article was actionable and contained a lot of unverifiable allegations. I agreed and told him that the article was libellious – both of us as lawyers agreed on that point.

We then went on to discuss a possible meeting between some of his friends and myself. This was part of my exercise to reach out to people and discuss issues. Remy said he will try and arrange such a meeting. Remy sent me an email today which pretty much confirms his views that the article is libellious, and saying that he would like to be an “honest and forthright dialogue partner” even if we disagree on issues where we disagree strongly.

[Source]: https://www.facebook.com/k.shanmugam.page

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Midnight phone calls?

Yesterday I heard from a friend that he had received a phone call – at midnight – from our Law Minister K Shanmugam. It was regarding an article written by Eric Ellis for The Global Mail, entitled ‘Out of the Haze, a Singapore Spring?’

The Minister said he was aware that the article was being re-posted widely online, and wanted my friend to convey that he would not hesitate to sue those republishing it.

This was most troubling to hear. Firstly, it must have been a surprising and worrying phone call for my friend to receive so late at night. Personally, I find it rather bizarre behaviour. 

[Source]: http://spuddings.net/2013/06/27/midnight-phone-calls/

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UPDATES: Midnight phone calls?

Remy Choo’s second statement: Many people have been attacking Kirsten Han for her assertion in her article “Midnight Phone Calls” that I was told to “convey” a message by Law Minister to persons who were re-publishing the article written by Eric Ellis for The Global Mail, entitled ‘Out of the Haze, a Singapore Spring?’, saying that he was aware about it being shared widely online and that he would not hesitate to sue those republishing it. 

This misapprehension is no fault of hers: this is what I told her after my phone call with Minister Shanmugam. It was incorrect and unfair of me to indicate that the Minister wanted to “convey” a message that he “will not hesitate to sue”, and for her to be blamed for the mischaracterization.

The fault for the mischaracterization lies completely with my misunderstanding of the purpose of the phone call from Minister. As I said in my earlier post, the purpose of the phone call was a personal communication about a public matter. I apologize to both the Minister and Kirsten for the miscommunication, which was solely occasioned by me.

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A Question Of Libel

Whatever keeps Law Minister K. Shanmugam up at night, it wasn't The Global Mail (TGM) piece by Eric Ellis. At least not long enough to make midnight calls, or so he claims.

But Shanmugam did write that he discussed the article with a friend, and "I agreed and told him that the article was libellious - both of us as lawyers agreed on that point". So what does a libellious article read like?

So will TGM be dragged to court, or will it simply apply for a license to write about Singapore news and post a $50,000 performance bond? The suspense is killing us.

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The Three Stooges: Kirsten Han slaps K Shanmugam, but Remy Choo got hit

Kirsten Han is an activist and lobbyist. She lobbies against the death penalty and lobbies for gay rights among other things. Remy Choo is also an activist. As for K Shanmu, he just got activated into action by the two activists.

This is a case where Kirsten fired a shot that got K Shanmugam hot in his pants. That shot was eventually misfired and in a twist of events, the guy who got unwittingly whipped is Kirsten's own friend, Remy Choo.

Welcome to the real life story of the Three Stooges

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K Shanmugam chooses his words carefully

Like all good lawyers, Mr Shanmugam appears to have chosen his words carefully – very carefully. For this reason, a close look at what he said – and didn’t say – could be instructive.

Starting with the phone call to Remy Choo, the Minister admits that it took place. The minister does not deny that it was a late night phone call, or even a “midnight phone call” as stated by Kirsten Han. While the Minister seeks to downplay the significance of this phone call by emphasising the strength of his relationship with Remy, he never goes so far as to say that Remy Choo is his friend. Is it normal for the Minister to make unsolicited late night phone calls to people who are not his friends or family members? It seems unlikely.

Furthermore, the Minister very clearly does not deny the key point – that the purpose of the call was to convey the message that “he would not hesitate to sue those republishing [the article]“.

Shanmugam clears air on past links to firms



FOREIGN Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday explained his past position as director in two companies controlled by an Indonesian conglomerate reportedly linked to the fires causing the haze.

The conglomerate, Sinar Mas Group (SMG), has some companies in Singapore and was named by a senior Indonesian official last week as one of the alleged culprits burning forests and contributing to the haze enveloping the region.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, detailed how he came to be involved in the two SMG-controlled companies: Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) and Asia Food & Properties (AFP). 

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Minister Shanmugam clarifies his past directorships in companies controlled by Sinar Mas Group

Singapore's Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has clarified his past directorships in Asia Food & Properties Ltd ("AFP") and Golden Agri-Resources Ltd ("GAR") which are controlled by the Sinar Mas Group (SMG).

Writing on his Facebook page, he says these questions have been raised because one senior Indonesian official said last week that the Sinar Mas Group, which has some companies in Singapore, was among those involved in the forest burning in Indonesia that caused the haze.

The Minister revealed that in June 1996, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) had asked him and two others to become independent directors of a listed company called Amcol because Amcol was in serious trouble. - CNA/xq

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Shanmugam clarifies his directorships in AFP & Golden Agri

1. The media has asked me questions on my past directorships in Asia Food & Properties Ltd (“AFP”) and Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (“GAR”) (controlled by the Sinar Mas Group, “SMG”). These questions have been raised because one senior Indonesian official had said last week, that SMG, (which has some companies in Singapore), was among those who were burning in Indonesia, and causing the haze.

2. There are two aspects to consider:-
 (1) are companies in Singapore involved in the burning in Indonesia?; and
(2) the facts relating to my past directorships in AFP and GAR. 

I. Are companies in Singapore involved in the burning?

[Source]: https://www.facebook.com/k.shanmugam.page

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MINISTER SHANMUGAM: I RECEIVED DIRECTOR'S FEES BUT WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE ILLEGAL FOREST BURNIING

Editor's Note: The reporter from Global mail then posted the following question on Shanmugam's Facebook page.

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Shanmugam clears air on past links to firmsK Shanmugam says will continue engaging with online community 
K Shanmugam says will continue engaging with online community

“Recently there was a posting purported to be from one of our MPs, Irene (Ng), on haze, with her big photograph, posted by one of these websites and it's a complete fake. So you know, (on the) internet, one has got to be careful. But nevertheless, it's a place for people to express their views, and it's robust and it's good to engage.” 

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Boo to You: The Real Singapore



Bad job, very bad job The Real Singapore.

What to do since I do not lock up my blog. That's the first post I have to as good as delete and yet I want to record that event. This is what makes Blogging for Myself meaningful.

This is also an opportunity to see how well community policing of online content works. It is working for me and I hope others are doing the right thing too. 

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Tampines MP files police report over false online article



Tampines GRC MP Irene Ng has filed a police report over an online article on the haze that was falsely attributed to her.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Ms Ng said the article, "PAP MP Irene Ng: We should not play the blame game over the haze problem", on the website The Real Singapore (TRS), is "pure fiction".

She said she has asked the site to remove the article and apologise for publishing it and for the damage it caused her.


Tampines MP files police report over false online article
Tampines MP files police report over false online article - See more at: http://ifonlysingaporeans.blogspot.sg/#sthash.KO2afKSa.dpufTAMPINES GRC MP Irene Ng has filed a police report over an online article on the haze that was falsely attributed to her.

TAMPINES GRC MP Irene Ng has filed a police report over an online article on the haze that was falsely attributed to her. 

In a Facebook post yesterday, Ms Ng said the article, "PAP MP Irene Ng: We should not play the blame game over the haze problem", on the website The Real Singapore (TRS), is "pure fiction".

She said she has asked the site to remove the article and apologise for publishing it and for the damage it caused her.

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