Thursday, 29 May 2014

Blogger's Offer of $5,000 In Damages 'Derisory'

Update 13 Jan 2015: Singapore court orders blogger to pay PM nearly $22,000 for legal costs
Speaker Roy Ngerng, of online blog The Heart Truths, addresses the crowd during a protest against new licensing regulations imposed by the government for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 8, 2013

A Singapore court has ordered a blogger to pay S$29,000 ($21,700) to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as legal costs after Lee won a defamation case late last year.

Lee won a High Court defamation case against blogger Roy Ngerng, 33, in November, the first time the city-state's leadersued an online critic.

Ngerng was sued for his blog post in May when he was alleged to have implicated Lee in impropriety in connection with how funds in Singapore's mandatory retirement savings scheme, the Central Provident Fund(CPF), are managed.

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Singapore PM rejects compensation offer from blogger
Singaporean blogger Roy Ngerng (left) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. AFP file photo

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has rejected as “derisory” a compensation offer by a local blogger who defamed him, the premier’s lawyer said Tuesday, paving the way for a possible lawsuit.

“Your client’s offer of Sg$5,000 ($4,000) is derisory and completely disregards the gravity of your client’s conduct (and) the undisputed fact that the libel is false and malicious,” Lee’s lawyer Davinder Singh said in a letter to Roy Ngerng Yi Ling’s legal counsel late Tuesday.

Singh last week demanded an apology and compensation from 33-year-old Ngerng for a May 15 article seen as accusing the premier of corruption.

related: Singapore PM demands apology from blogger

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Lawyer Describes Blogger's Offer Of S$5,000 In Damages To PM 'Derisory'

A lawyer for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Tuesday responded to blogger Roy Ngerng's offer of S$5,000 in damages, following his false accusation against Lee, calling it "derisory" and completely disregarding the gravity of the blogger's "calculated and systematic aggravation".

Local television Channel News Asia (CNA) reported, Ngerng had offered the damages for the earlier post on his blog "the Heart Truths" (dated May 15), which accused Lee of misappropriating money paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.

Lee's lawyer said Ngerng purported to apologise on May 23 for putting forth an allegation that the blogger admitted was "false and completely without foundation.

Blogger offers compensation to Singapore PM over post

A Singaporean blogger accused by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of defamation on Tuesday offered compensation after initially refusing to do so, as the premier’s lawyer accused him of lacking contrition.

“Our client proposes to offer S$5,000 ($4,000) as damages to the Prime Minister,” Roy Ngerng Yi Ling’s legal counsel M Ravi said in a letter to Lee’s lawyer.

“The sum of Sg$5,000 is based on our client’s modest living and income that he derives from working as a healthcare worker,” Ravi wrote in the letter, released to the media.

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PM vs Roy: Why it’s unnecessary

Our politicians, on the other hand, have found it necessary to launch lawsuits from time to time against adversaries and opponents. The latest of course being PM Lee’s lawsuit against blogger Roy Ngerng for his post on the CPF.

The result is that Roy has been catapulted into instant national fame. Prior to this episode, Roy was a relative unknown to Singaporeans. Thanks to the PM, Roy has become an overnight sensation and household name and he now wants to be an NMP. He has probably been given a ticket to contest the next general elections as well. As a known entity, instead of being a relative anonymous guy.

Is it really necessary for PM to tangle with the likes of Roy the Blogger?

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Singapore blogger offers PM damages for defamatory post

Ngerng has said the article was meant to call for greater transparency on how the pension fund is invested by the government through its two sovereign wealth firms. He took down the articles and links to it, and on Friday apologised unreservedly, while urging Lee not to seek damages.

However, Singh rebutted on Monday that his apology “was not and never meant to be genuine” after Ngerng circulated a YouTube video over the weekend where he spoke about his legal predicament. Singh said the blogger was “opportunistically” using the case to gain sympathy and renew his attacks against Lee, and that the the prime minister was entitled to “aggravated damages”.

Singh did not immediately respond to whether Lee would accept Ngerng’s offer of damages.

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PM Lee rejects offer of S$5,000 in damages from blogger

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation lawsuit against blogger Roy Ngerng looks set to go ahead after a flurry of twists and lawyers’ letters exchanged yesterday.

Mr Lee’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, yesterday rejected the offer of S$5,000 in damages as “derisory” and said Mr Ngerng had reneged on his undertaking not to republish defamatory content about misappropriation of money placed by Singaporeans with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board. Mr Ngerng misled Mr Lee and the public and did not come clean to his own lawyer M Ravi, said Mr Singh.

Mr Ngerng, 33, had agreed on Monday to take down four blog posts and a YouTube video largely about CPF issues as well as to not further publish similar content through various channels, to avoid payment of aggravated damages to Mr Lee.

related: Blogger’s S$5,000 offer for damages ‘derisory’: PM Lee’s lawyers

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Online critics don’t damage govt’s “credibility and integrity”: Lee Kuan Yew

Last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued a letter of demand to blogger Roy Ngerng, for a blog post which Mr Ngerng had put up on his blog. Mr Lee is claiming that Mr Ngerng’s post “constitutes a very serious libel” against him, and that it also “disparages him and impugns his character, credit and integrity.”

In his book, “Hard truths to keep Singapore going”, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), however, seems to see it differently, as far as “defamatory” content on the Internet is concerned.

The following is an excerpt from the book.

PM Lee rejects offer from blogger and to proceed with legal process 
When leaders apologise 
PM Lee’s lawyer makes additional demands on Ngerng, M Ravi 
Blogger Ngerng makes compensation offer to Lee Hsien Loong

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Singapore blogger's latest moves are 'very grave aggravation': PM Lee's lawyer

Singapore blogger Roy Ngerng's refusal to remove a contentious YouTube video as well as two emails he sent out in which his contentious blogposts were republished amounted to "very grave aggravation", said lawyers acting for PM Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday.

In his response through his own lawyer M Ravi on Tuesday at 1230pm, Ngerng said his video and other posts "were not intended to impy that there is any truth in the criminal misappropriation allegation." He also proposed to offer S$5,000 in damages to PM Lee.
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Roy Ngerng: I am not trying to seek asylum in Denmark

Roy Ngerng: I am not trying to seek asylum

Hello, I’ve been asked to clarify about an article on Anyhow Hantam: [ LINKYou can read it if you haven’t. In it, the following was said: ” Roy wants to be a martyr and seek asylum. Is he who ask me to help him one.”

I would like to clarify that this incident has never happened. Please let me explain what I’ve been going through. The past week or so has been a roller coaster ride. Today is especially distressful.

I believe that if one would not need to go through such an experience, most would choose not to. I would be glad if I could go on in my daily life, advocating for fairer and kinder policies.

No humility when a servant sues his master
PM Lee to sue Roy for damages
What exactly can prevent Roy from Contesting in the next GE?
PM Lee makes further demands; Roy offers $5K
PM Lee makes further demands on blogger Roy Ngerng
Messages in support of Roy springing up in Singapore
Roy apologises to PM & asks for waiver of damages

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No humility when a servant sues his master

I am extremely disappointed that PM Lee has lost the opportunity to regain some respect from citizens by showing magnanimity. It does not matter if the money he will receive from Roy through his lawsuit is donated. The end result is PM Lee will be seen as a bully. To ordinary citizens, Roy is a hero.

I have written twice to PM Lee (link link) explaining the consequences and bad PR. It is strange for the PM’s adviser to shoot PM Lee in the foot.

Recall PM Lee famously declaring “We are servants of the people: Lee”, “always maintain a sense of humility and service” and “never lord it over the people we are looking after and serving”. If PM Lee and PAP politicians are our servants, the relationship between us is one of servant and master.

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PM Lee rejecting Roy Ngerng’s derisory $5000 offer

Channel 8 news tweeted an image of Davinder Singh’s retort to the measly $5000 offer, and surprisingly, I was able to understand most of the ‘legalese’ in the letter. Judging by Roy’s behaviour it looks like it won’t be the last we see of such letters and requests for ‘service of process’.

The saga has dragged on for far longer than necessary, with ‘lost opportunities’ on both sides to settle their differences in a more palatable manner other than one dominant party simply asking for more money from the other.

Here’s some choice selections from the latest salvo, a masterclass in defamation suit demands written with the panache of an executioner sharpening his blade before chopping someone’s head clean off.  You can even use this as a template when a restaurant owner offers you free dessert after a waiter spills hot coffee all over you, that it’s a ‘derisory’ compensation for the ‘injury and distress’ that you’ve suffered, completely ‘disregarding the gravity’ of your situation.

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PM Lee to sue Roy for damages

PM Lee has rejected Roy’s offer of SG$5,000 for damages and will proceed to sue him, said his lawyer Davinder Singh from Drew and Napier.

Roy had earlier today, made an offer of SG$5,000 through his lawyer M Ravi to PM Lee for damages with each party to bear their own legal costs.

In a letter addressed to M Ravi, Mr Singh describes Roy’s offer as “derisory” (ridiculously small or inadequate) and completely disregards the gravity of of his (Roy’s) conduct, and Roy’s “calculated and systematic aggrevation of the injury and distress” to PM Lee.

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Davinder Singh, the lawyer acting for PM Lee, responded to Roy's earlier offer of $5000 in compensation describing the amount as "derisory" (ridiculously small or inadequate).

M Ravi had sent a letter to PM Lee's lawyers explaining that his client, Roy Ngerng's offer was fair given his modest salary as a healthcare worker.However, Davinder Singh had insisted that Roy had been acting in a "calculated" and "systematic" way to further aggravate the damages.

He said that Roy's apology was completely insincere and he continued to repeal the libel by writing more articles and posting a YouTube video.


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Roy Ngerng's insincere apology shows his lack of integrity

If what PM Lee's lawyer said in the ST are true, then it is political suicidal for Roy Ngerng Yi Ling!

What bother me is since you agreed to remove the posting and video, why do other planning other than removing?

By not removing, you are counting yourself against the drawback of more defamation suits and making a mockery on yourself by the PAP supporters...How can you next time convince your supporters. For one I highly value integrity


PM Lee’s threat of lawsuit against blogger shows 3 weaknesses

So PM Lee Hsien Loong has decided that he will sue blogger Roy Ngerng of unless Ngerng apologises, takes down an offending article and pays for damages and costs.

The letter of demand is an old-school weapon – heavy, effective, and double-edged. It also has serious knock-on effects, and pretty much ignores everything else going on in the environment. It’s basically a nuclear weapon from the medieval age, if monks had spent more time studying physics instead of perfecting beer. I for one am glad there were no medieval nukes.

The most interesting thing about the letter of demand is the fact that it is a reminder of a persistent weakness in the G’s (or at least PM’s) gameplan. Full story

Spore PM Lee Hsien Loong Demands Apology from Blogger -
Spore PM Lee Demands Apology From Blogger - Malaysian Digest
Spore PM demands that blogger delete 'false' graft accusations & apologise - SCMP
PM Lee issues letter of demand to blogger over CPF article - The Online Citizen
Singapore PM demands apology from blogger - New Straits Times
Singapore PM demands apology from blogger - Sin Chew Jit Poh
Singapore PM demands apology from blogger - Yahoo! News Singapore
Singapore PM demands retraction and apology from blogger Ngerng - China Post

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Singapore Daily: The Heart Truths of Libel Suits
– Working With Grace: Roy Ngerng, it is NOT about the money
– Living Investment: Return on CPF Funds
– Growing your tree of prosperity: The Obligatory CPF post.
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Answering TRE poster & supporters / NMP
– Everything Also Complain: PM Lee rejecting Roy Ngerng’s derisory $5000 offer
– Yahoo! Singapore : Singapore PM rejects compensation offer from blogger
– Kenneth Jeyaretnam: CPF-Why We Must Keep Up the Pressure
– Sgpolitics: Why the CPF has failed to meet the retirement needs of Sporeans
– TOC: When leaders apologise
– Anyhow Hantam: Is Asylum the Ulterior Motive for Roy Ng Defaming the PM?
– CW Fong & Associates: Roy Ngerng, PM Lee and the Coup in Thailand
– Singapore Ideas: Online defamation
– Reflections of a disciple: Thinking about the case of CPF minimum sum
– Life of a simple boy: CPF and Roy
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Limpeh reflects on Roy Ngerng’s situation.
– A Load of Fish: Roy Ngerng vs PM Lee
– Anyhow Hantam: Is Asylum the Ulterior Motive for Roy Ng Defaming the PM?
– CW Fong & Associates: Roy Ngerng, PM Lee and the Coup in Thailand
– Singapore Ideas: Online defamation
– Reflections of a disciple: Thinking about the case of CPF minimum sum
– Life of a simple boy: CPF and Roy
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Limpeh reflects on Roy Ngerng’s situation
– A Load of Fish: Roy Ngerng vs PM Lee
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Roy’s a real S’porean
– Food Fuels Me To Talk: Questions for Roy Ngerng
– Balancing The Sentiment: Freedom of speech has its limits
– Dewdrop Notes 露语: Bossy Aunties & Daring Bloggers
– Sam’s thoughts: Take a chance on him?
– Guanyinmiao’s Musings: Heart Truths
– Blogging for Myself: PM Lee sues blogger Roy Ngerng
– My Singapore News: Roy Ngerng being sued by Hsien Loong
– Just Speaking My Mind: Roy Ngerng Blogger Sued by PM Lee

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