Besides the socio-political publication, The Online Citizen, Mr K Shanmugam in his Ministerial Speech on the death of Benjamin Lim, also singled out the President of The Law Society of Singapore, Mr Thio Shen Yi, SC.
The Law and Home Affairs Minister alleged that Mr Thio made public statements which “effectively imply that Benjamin killed himself because of police intimidation”. The Minister argued that Mr Thio’s facts were wrong, and that as a lawyer he should have taken his cue from expert evidence and assessments from psychologists.
Mr Thio has responded to the accusations by the Minister in a statement to Yahoo Singapore. He said, “there was no intention to imply that Benjamin’s tragic death was caused by police intimidation. In fact, the article specifically states that we will never know why Benjamin took his life that day.”
He further told reporters of the website that the focus of the Law Gazette message was that the criminal justice system should provide quick access to counsel, especially for the more vulnerable members of the public.
Former Nominated Member of Parliament, Mr Calvin Cheng, however, has called for the President of the Law Society to step down for bringing the society into disrepute. He made the comment in Mr Shanmugam’s Facebook post of his Ministerial speech.
When other commenters pointed out that Mr Cheng should be more measured with his words especially since he is a member of the Media Literacy Council (MLC), he drew the MLC further into the controversy by saying that as a member of the Council, he urged the commenters to be media literate and “not believe the falsehoods spread by TOC and their fans.”
“TOC is a well known rumour monger and a disseminator of falsehoods. Please improve your media literacy skills,” he added.