SINGAPORE: K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday (Jul 27) sent lawyers’ letters to Mr Lee Hsien Yang for defamation in relation to their rental of black-and-white bungalows at Ridout Road.
Both of them shared similar Facebook posts on their pages. Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam wrote:
“[Defamatory statements by Lee Hsien Yang]
Minister Vivian and I have today sent lawyers’ letters to Lee Hsien Yang for defaming us. Lee Hsien Yang has accused us of acting corruptly and for personal gain by having Singapore Land Authority (“SLA”) give us preferential treatment by illegally felling trees without approval, and also having SLA pay for renovations to 26 and 31 Ridout Road. These allegations are false. We have asked him to apologise, withdraw his allegations and pay damages, which we will donate to charity. If he does not do so, we will sue him”.
Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also posted the same statement on his Facebook page.
Investigations, including by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing or preferential treatment given to the two ministers.
Despite being issued with a POFMA correction direction on Tuesday (Jul 25), Lee Hsien Yang put up another Facebook post standing by what he said.
On the same day (Jul 25), the government issued a correction order under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) to Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s son, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, for alleged falsehoods made in a Facebook criticising his estranged elder brother, current PM Lee Hsien Loong.
The POFMA Office said that the younger Mr Lee’s post, which was published two days prior, contains “false statements of fact” pertaining to the Ridout Road rentals and the exaggerated circulation numbers scandal involving Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).
Despite this, late Tuesday (Jul 25) night Mr Lee wrote: “I stand by what I said”. He asked netizens to read his post and compare what he wrote to what the “notice claims I said”.