Singapore – Tuesday (Oct 6) marked the first day of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit against blogger Leong Sze Hian. The online community has tagged Mr Leong’s lawyer, Lim Tean, to be the modern-day David going against Goliath.
Lim Tean who is also the leader of opposition People’s Voice, is representing Mr Leong in the defamation suit with the two parties appearing in the High Court from Oct 6 to 9. Meanwhile, Mr Lee has five lawyers representing him, as Mr Lim highlighted in a Facebook post on Saturday (Oct 3). “In other words, I will be flying solo for Leong Sze Hian,” said Mr Lim.
On Tuesday (Oct 6), Facebook page All Singapore Stuff uploaded a photo, likening the situation to the biblical characters David and Goliath. “Lim Tean is our modern-day David vs Goliath. He will be grilling Ah Loong in court this week. May justice prevail!” read the post caption.
The image depicted Lim Tean as David and “the system” as Goliath. On top were two “David vs Goliath” instances portraying Mr Lim as outnumbered: the five lawyers of Mr Lee versus one Mr Lim and his recent arrest when it was “three police officers versus one Mr Lim.”
Mr Lim was arrested in his office on Friday (Oct 2) for suspected criminal breach of trust under the Penal Code. In a separate Facebook statement, Mr Lim’s lawyer M Ravi wrote: “3 police officers from the Commercial Affairs Department just barged into the office and arrested Lim Tean whilst he is preparing his case with Leong Sze Hian in his room for next Tuesday’s defamation trial to cross-examine the Prime Minister.”
Responding to the David vs Goliath post, netizens commended Mr Lim’s efforts, although noted the outcome seemed bleak for their party. “All I can say is… you’ve no chance against them,” said Facebook user Hoshi Lee. “But kudo for bringing the fight.”
Facebook user Andrew Pea Shew Ther wondered if Mr Lim needed to set up a goFundMe page to raise funds for the “legal battle with the PAP (People’s Action Party).” The Workers’ Party did something similar in Oct 2018 to raise funds for their AHTC (Aljunied-Hougang Town Council) case.
Others looked at the bright side and said that Mr Lee being called up to the stand, was a win in and of itself.
Mr Lim also shared a photo of himself arriving at the High Court on Tuesday morning, showing a smile underneath a face mask. “Lim Tean arrives to cross-examine Lee Hsien Loong, 6 October 2020,” read the caption. Many wished him the best, hoping for justice to prevail.
Lim Tean Arrives To Cross-Examine Lee Hsien Loong, 6 October 2020
Defamation suit against Leong Sze Hian
Mr Leong shared a link to an article by The Coverage, a Malaysian news site, on Nov 7, 2018. The article alleged that Mr Lee signed “secret deals” with former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in exchange for assistance from Singapore banks to launder money from 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad), the embattled sovereign wealth fund.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) advised Mr Leong to take his post down, along with the link, to which the latter complied. On Nov 12, however, he received a Letter of Demand from Mr Davinder Singh of Drew and Napier LLC, alleging Mr Leong had defamed Mr Lee. The letter requested a public apology and compensation for damages.
Lim Tean is our modern day David vs Goliath. He will be grilling Ah Loong in court this week. May justice prevail!