Singapore — Blogger Leong Sze Hian has managed to raise the S$133,000 he needed to pay damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in just 11 days. He has received donations from more than 2,000 people, including former opposition leader Chiam See Tong and his wife, Lina Chiam.
Announcing he had reached his target on Sunday (Apr 4), Mr Leong called it a “Miracle on Easter Sunday”.
***Official Statement for Press Release (05/04/21)***
A momentous event in our Nation’s history took place on Easter…
The blogger was sued by PM Lee in late 2019 for defamation after he shared an article falsely linking the Prime Minister to the 1MDB corruption scandal on Facebook. The judge ordered him to pay PM Lee $133,000 in damages in late March.
The blogger then started a crowdfunding campaign to pay the damages, raising a grand total of $133,082.
The highest amount from a single donor was $5,000.
Some saw the campaign as a way to not only help the blogger pay the damages, but also to fight for freedom of speech.
Mr Leong’s lawyer, Mr Lim Team, sent out a message saying: ‘Please keep the contributions coming in and stand behind Leong Sze Hian to send the powerful message to the PM that we Singaporeans stand in harmony and peace and we respectfully protest with our contributions that We Do Not Agree!’
“For the first time, the common men and women of Singapore undertook to pay off not partially or substantially but Fully the libel damages which a Court had awarded a PAP politician against a citizen,” said Mr Lim, founder of the People’s Voice party.
“People’s Voice is grateful to our fellow countrymen for the support they gave to Leong Sze Hian. Our People have come of age in awareness of their inalienable right not to be cowed or silenced by archaic and unjust defamation laws. A new Singaporean has emerged. Every citizen can now have the confidence that their fellow men will be their shield and bulwark against those who attempt to suppress their speech.”
He ended the official statement for press release noting: “Mr Leong expresses his gratitude to citizens for coming to his aid and reiterates his gratefulness for their generosity.”
Denise Teh is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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