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“Compassionate” Lee Hsien Yang draws praise for paying $20,000 security deposit for Jolovan Wham’s court appeal

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In the second such gesture against the government of his older brother, Lee Hsien Yang aids a civil society activist.

Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s youngest son and current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang, has drawn praise on social media for paying a hefty $20,000 security deposit for community worker Jolovan Wham’s court appeal.

On April 27, 2018, Mr Wham published a comment on social media about the independence of Singapore’s judges compared to Malaysia’s as he linked an article entitled “Malaysiakini mounts constitutional challenge against Anti-Fake News Act.”

The authorities initiated action against Mr Wham and the High Court ended up convicting him on a charge of scandalising the judiciary, and issued a $5,000 fine to him.

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Mr Wham, who will be jailed for a week if he refuses to pay the fine, is also required to pay an additional S$5000 in costs and nearly S$3,000 in disbursements to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on top of the fine.

The activist, who said that he has done nothing wrong and that he has nothing to apologise for, later revealed that he is planning to appeal the sentence.

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Last night (May 21), Mr Wham revealed that Mr Lee Hsien Yang had helped him to put up the $20,000 security deposit required for his appeal. On Twitter, Mr Wham wrote “Justice is not cheap” as he tweeted that the hefty security deposit may not be recoverable if he loses the case.

In his first tweet, he wrote: “My lawyers have informed me that they’ve put in 20k to the prosecutor’s account as security for costs. This is for my appeal against the high court decision which found me guilty of scandalising the judiciary. If I lose, I may not get the full deposit back. Justice is not cheap!”

In a subsequent tweet, he updated: “Fortunately, the Prime Minister’s brother, Lee Hsien Yang reached out to me and offered to put up the security for costs on my behalf. I’m grateful to him for his generosity.”

Netizens responding to Mr Lee’s deed on social media have praised his kindness, generosity and compassion in coming to the timely aid of Mr Wham.

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Opining that Mr Lee is a “true leader”, netizens thanked him and urged him to contest the next general election as part of the opposition:

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This is not the first time Mr Lee has come to the aid of a civil society activist who is facing a legal case.

Last December, Mr Lee was the first to give to blogger Leong Sze Hian’s defence fund as Mr Leong prepared to defend himself in the defamation lawsuit brought on by Mr Lee’s elder brother, PM Lee Hsien Loong.

Mr Leong revealed to this publication that “people have started to crowdfund for my Defence Fund. Lee Hsien Yang sent me a message that he has transferred – lo and behold he is the first one to do so into my account!”

Mr Lee later confirmed to other members of the press that he contributed “a meaningful sum” to Mr Leong’s defence fund. When he was pressed on about the exact amount he gave to Leong, Lee would only say: “It is not S$1.”

On why he decided to donate to the blogger’s legal fund, Lee quipped: “Surely it needs no explanation?”/TISG

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