SINGAPORE: Lee Hsien Yang took to social media on Monday (July 31), claiming he was told to lie in his public apology to K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan.
Mr Lee said in his post that it was insisted he made a statement different to what he initially claimed. He added that an apology was demanded: “for statements that are just not there. No Singaporean should have to lie to avoid lawsuits”.
In an earlier statement, Mr Lee, the younger brother to PM Lee Hsien Loong, said that Cabinet Ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan were wrong about what he said about the Ridout Road rentals in a Facebook post and invited the pair to sue him in the UK if they believe they have a case.
In his statement, published on Facebook on July 29, Mr Lee said: “Shanmugam and V Balakrishnan are wrong about what I said. My post did not assert that Shanmugam and V Balakrishnan acted corruptly or for personal gain by having SLA give them preferential treatment by illegally felling trees without approval and also having SLA pay for renovations for them”.
“My post simply stated facts that were already widely published in the Singapore and international media”, he added.
He continued: “My post was made in the UK. If K Shanmugam and V Balakrishnan believe that they have a real case, then they should sue me in the UK.”
Mr Lee’s post comes days after Mr Shanmugam and Mr Balakrishnan said they would take legal action against him for making defamatory allegations regarding their rental of two black-and-white bungalows at Ridout Road.
Mr Shanmugam said on July 27 that Mr Lee had accused both ministers 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”. Asserting that these allegations were false, Mr Shanmugam added: “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.”
Mr Shanmugam was referring to a Facebook post that Mr Lee made on July 23 that stated: “Two ministers have leased state-owned mansions from the agency that one of them controls, felling trees and getting state-sponsored renovations.”
The Independent Singapore has reached out to Mr Shanmugam and Mr Balakrishnan for comment.
On Tuesday (Jul 25), the government issued a correction order under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) to 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). /TISG