Singapore—More than 1,000 people, including former opposition leader Chiam See Tong and his wife Lina Chiam, have donated money to blogger and financial advisor Leong Sze Hian, who has to pay damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
A week ago, on Mar 24, the High Court ordered Mr Leong to pay PM Lee S$133,000 in damages for defamation — S$100,000 in general damages and $33,000 in aggravated damages.
As of Wednesday morning (Mar 31), Mr Leong has been able to raise $85,499, which is almost 65 per cent of the amount he needs. He has received donations from 1,211 people.
Mr Leong was sued by the Prime Minister for sharing a reportedly defamatory article from The Coverage, a Malaysian news site, on Nov 8, 2018.
In a written judgment, Justice Aedit Abdullah said that the blogger had shared the article “without making any enquiries as to its truth whatsoever” and displayed “reckless disregard of whether the article was true or not.
“When seen cumulatively with his refusal to apologise for the defamatory words, malice may be made out on the facts.
Lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean, who represented the blogger in his defamation suit, posted an update from Mr Leong, who said the donors included Mr Chiam and his wife.
“A Legend Stands With The People!
We thank Mr Chiam See Tong and Mrs Lina Chiam for standing with the People in support of Sze Hian and for their wonderful message,” wrote Mr Lim.
The donations ranged from S$2.91 to S$5,000, according to the update from Mr Leong.
It seems that the most popular amounts given are $50, $20 and $13, but Mr Leong added that the most unique amount given was $331.
Mr Leong also posted a message from Mrs Chiam. She said that Mr Chiam “is in no position to write but he understands very well on what is going on”.
The couple had donated to Mr Leong’s fund out of gratitude, she added, and wished him the best of luck.
“Thank you for all your support and services rendered to us and SPP.
“See Tong and I are very grateful and appreciative of the free financial counselling services volunteered to residents and the public at block 108, PP Ave 1 in 2011 and later years.
“We also thank you for contributing your articles on CPF, HDB mortgages, loans, etc, on our SPP newsletter and your participation in our party activities through the years.”
The Singapore People’s Party’s Mr Chiam, 86, was the second longest-serving opposition Member of Parliament, having served as an MP from 1984 to 2011. Only the Workers’ Party’s Mr Low Thia Khiang had served longer, from 1991 to 2020. Mrs Chiam is also in public service, having been a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from 2011 until 2015.
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