The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu has revealed that he intends to directly question Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on why he is suing him, instead of his own siblings, over comments made in the explosive Lee family feud in 2017.
On 1 Sept, PM Lee asked Mr Xu to remove an article and Facebook post published by TOC repeating allegations of abuse of power that his sister Lee Wei Ling made in 2017.
The PM asked TOC to publish a “full and unconditional apology,” along with an undertaking that it would not publish similar allegations in the future, and warned that he will “have no choice but to hand the matter over to his lawyers to sue to enforce his full rights in law” if TOC does not comply.
On Wednesday (4 Sept), Mr Xu issued a letter acknowledging PM Lee’s letter of demand and stated that he will not comply with the demands set out in PM Lee’s letter. The very next day (5 Sept), PM Lee’s lawyers served Mr Xu with a writ of summons and a statement of claim at his place of residence, initiating a defamation case against him.
This afternoon (10 Sept), Mr Xu filed a memorandum of appearance with the High Court, in response to the writ of summons and statement of claim filed by PM Lee’s lawyers on his behalf. The memorandum of appearance indicates that Mr Xu will contest the defamation action brought on by the head of government.
Revealing that he will represent himself in court and that he decided to do so “after much deliberation and consideration,” Mr Xu said:
“As a result of this decision, there will be no crowdfunding for my legal defence as I do not have to pay any lawyer fees and court filing fees are still manageable. Please do not donate to any online or offline fund raising campaign created in name of my case.”
Mr Xu added that the Prime Minister is suing him as “an individual instead of TOC, which is an entity.” He said that he is willing to fight the uphill legal battle as a way to “stand my ground against such uncalled-for intimidation, especially when it is from a public servant.”
He further said that he “would like to have the opportunity to ask my Prime Minister — straight in his face” about why PM Lee has chosen to sue him instead of his siblings, when TOC merely republished the words uttered by his siblings in 2017. He added that he wishes to question the PM on this, in his capacity as a Singapore citizen. -/TISG