SINGAPORE: Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan have sued Mr Lee Hsien Yang in the High Court for defamation over his Facebook comments about their rental of two black-and-white Ridout Road bungalows.
The case conference will be on Tuesday, according to the hearing list published on the Singapore Courts website.
Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan are represented by a team of lawyers from Davinder Singh Chambers.
Both ministers sent lawyers’ letters to Mr Lee in July, saying they would sue him unless he apologised, retracted his allegations and paid damages.
In his Facebook post on July 27, Mr Shanmugam said: “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.”
Mr Lee is the younger son of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In a post on July 23, Mr Lee claimed the “two ministers have leased state-owned mansions from the agency that one of them controls, felling trees and getting state-sponsored renovations”. The agency he referred to is the Singapore Land Authority.
He was issued a correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) after his July 23 post. The Law Ministry said it contained untrue statements.
Mr Lee put up a correction notice but published a new post two days later, saying he stood by what he wrote.
He was stating facts, he said again on Facebook on July 29 after the ministers sent him lawyers’ letters.
He said the two ministers should sue him in a court in Britain, adding he was there at the time.
The Ridout Road bungalow rental issue was debated in Parliament in July following a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) investigation and a review by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.
The CPIB said it did not find any wrongdoing by the ministers. The review found that processes had been followed.
Mr Lee and his wife, Ms Lee Suet Fern, are not in Singapore. They left Singapore after declining to attend a police interview in July 2022 about lying in judicial proceedings regarding the will of his late father and founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.