Singapore — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was at the Supreme Court on Monday (Nov 30) for his defamation suit against Mr Terry Xu Yuanchen, the editor of The Online Citizen (TOC).
PM Lee, who arrived at the court at about 9.40 am, was scheduled to be cross-examined by counsel for the defendant, Mr Lim Tean.
PM Lee is represented by Mr Davinder Singh and Mr Pardeep Singh Khosa.
The suit was filed last year after an article with the headline “PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching, weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members” was published on the TOC website and Facebook page on Aug 15, 2019.
TOC was asked by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) the following month to remove the article and a Facebook post repeating allegations made by PM Lee’s sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, during the family feud in 2017.
The PMO also asked that a full and unconditional apology be issued by Sept 4, 2019.
Mr Xu responded on that date, saying that he would not comply with the demands set out in PM Lee’s letter.
By the next day (Sept 5), PM Lee’s lawyers served Mr Xu with a writ of summons and a statement of claim at his place of residence, beginning a defamation case against him.
PM Lee initiated legal proceedings against Mr Xu, as well as Ms Rubaashini Shunmuganathan, the Malaysian national who had written the article.
According to Ms Chang Li Lin, the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, the allegations in the article and the post had been libelous and that they contained false allegations against him that had been made by his sister Dr Lee.
Ms Chang said in September that while PM Lee had not taken legal action against his sister and his brother Lee Hsien Yang, in order not to sully their parents’ names, this did not preclude taking other legal action when needed.
This included the allegation that PM Lee misled his father, founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, into believing that the family property at 38, Oxley Road, was gazetted by the Government, which led the latter to alter his will and leave the house to PM Lee.
According to PM Lee’s lawyers, he had been “brought into public scandal, odium and contempt” and that his character and reputation had been gravely injured.
On Sept 27, 2019, Mr Xu said: “The Prime Minister has expressed through his press secretary to the media that he is willing to testify in court along with his siblings if the trial proceeds. I, therefore, look forward to meeting the Prime Minister in court.”
According to straitstimes.com, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang may also be taking the witness stand this week. /TISG
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