Over the weekend (September 21), The Online Citizen changed the name of the author who wrote the article that has chief editor Terry Xu being sued for.

The publication is being sued for defamation over the article.

Earlier this month (September 1), the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a letter to the editor of TOC, demanding an apology from the portal and the removal of an article and a Facebook post repeating allegations made by PM Lee’s sister Lee Wei Ling during the Lee family feud in 2017.

The letter put forth PM Lee’s request that TOC immediately removes the article and Facebook post by Wednesday (September 4) and publish a “full and unconditional apology” along with an undertaking that it would not publish similar allegations in the future.

The letter warned that “PM Lee will have no choice but to hand the matter over to his lawyers to sue to enforce his full rights in law if TOC did not comply.

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In a letter, Xu refused to take down the article saying that he is “of the opinion that the contents of the Article are not defamatory” and that he was “merely republishing” the words uttered by the PM’s siblings.

It was later found out by self-styled internet-vigilante group SMRT Feedback by The Vigilanteh that the writer of the article is a foreigner going by the alias of “Kiara Xavier”.

In a Facebook post, the group wrote that The Online Citizen’s foreign writer “Kiara Xavier” is actually a Malaysian by the name of Rubaashini Shunmuganathan.

The woman’s real name was found out through a comment another netizen made.

While the Online Citizen has not released any statement on the matter, the author’s name ‘Kiara Xavier’ for all relevant articles had been replaced with the name Rubaashini Shunmuganathan.

Photo: Screengrab from The Online Citizen

For SMRT Feedback, the group’s main gripe with TOC was, “You wanna hire foreigner for us no problem lah. You wanna criticise PAP or simi c*** also we don’t mind. But if you get a foreigner to interfere with Singaporean way of life, then be ready to get called out, especially when you were so interested in SMRT Feedback, so now we will be very interested in you”. /TISG

Read related: SMRT Feedback calls out The Online Citizen for hiring a M’sian writer to comment critically on SG society