Community worker Jolovan Wham has said that he was not surprised by Lee Hsien Yang’s decision to put up a hefty S$20,000 for the security deposit required for his court appeal and that Mr Lee has said that he need not be repaid for the contribution.
Interestingly, when a local publication asked Mr Lee for confirmation about his contribution towards Mr Wham, Mr Lee responded: “What reason do you have to doubt it?”
Mr Lee is the youngest son of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister (PM) Lee Kuan Yew and the younger brother of current PM Lee Hsien Loong. After a public feud with his brother, Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s son, Li Shengwu, was accused of contempt of court over a private Facebook post and now faces a lawsuit in court.
This week, Mr Wham revealed that Mr Lee gave towards his legal case even as Mr Lee’s son’s lawsuit is ongoing.
The High Court recently issued a S$5,000 fine to Mr Wham after finding him guilty of scandalising the judiciary, over a comment on social media about the independence of Singapore’s judges compared to Malaysia’s.
Mr Wham was also ordered to pay an additional S$5,000 in costs and nearly S$3,000 in disbursements to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Mr Wham, who will be jailed for a week if he refuses to pay the fine, said that he has done nothing wrong and has nothing to apologise for. He later revealed that he is appealing the sentence and that he is required to fork out S$20,000 as a security deposit for his appeal.
On 21 May, the activist revealed that Mr Lee has paid for the deposit, which may not be fully recoverable if Mr Wham loses the case. Mr Wham tweeted that Mr Lee “reached out to me and offered to put up the security for costs on my behalf. I’m grateful to him for his generosity.”
Mr Wham has since said that he was not surprised by Mr Lee’s contribution. In an interview with the national broadsheet, the community worker said that Mr Lee did not give any reasons for the contribution as he asserted that the contribution “did not come as a surprise to me.”
Mr Wham’s lawyer, Eugene Thuraisingam, told the publication that the money was sent to his firm’s client account last Thursday (16 May) and that he “was told it was for Jolovan’s security for costs of the appeal.”
In another interview with Mediacorp’s flagship English publication, TODAY, Mr Wham revealed that Mr Lee approached his lawyer with the offer and said that the money need not be repaid. Mr Wham added: “As for his reasons, it’s best you ask him.”
Mr Thuraisingam told the publication: “We were only told that he had deposited S$20,000 into our client account for Jolovan’s security for costs of the appeal. Nothing else.”
When TODAY approached Mr Lee for confirmation on his contribution, Mr Lee asked the publication: “What reason do you have to doubt it?” When the paper pressed whether this could be taken as confirmation, Mr Lee reportedly shot back “No, you may not.”