Singapore Prime Minister Seeks Summary Judgment Against Blogger

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Singapore Prime Minister Seeks Summary Judgment Against Blogger

File photo of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore:  Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has applied for a summary judgment in a case against a blogger sued by him for defamation, essentially requesting the court to wrap up the case without a full trial.

Lee has asked the High Court to determine the damages and sought an order to stop blogger Roy Ngerng from publishing allegations of misappropriation of state pension funds.

In a post on May 15th, Ngerng is alleged to have written on his blog that Lee was "misappropriating" Singaporeans' Central Provident Fund (CPF).

Ngergn later removed the post, apologised to Lee and offered damages of 5,000 dollars.

But Lee's lawyer, senior counsel Davinder Singh, had said the damage offer was derisory.

Though Ngerng has followed up the first blog post with a few others and videos on the same topic, he has filed his defence in court last month saying he never intended to accuse the prime minister of misappropriating CPF savings.

Ngerng, 33, said the key concerns raised in his blog post, which is at the centre of the suit, were lack of transparency in managing CPF funds and questioned the interest paid on these savings.

A summary judgment is a procedure whereby a plaintiff claims the defendant has no case and seeks judgment in his favour without a trial.

"The defendant has no defence to the plaintiff's claims and the only issue to be determined is damages," The Straits Times quoted Singh as saying.

Singh asked the court to decide how much damages Lee should receive, and asked for a ban on the continued publication or dissemination of the offending blog post and "other allegation to the same effect."

A hearing on the summary judgment has been scheduled for September 18.

Ngerng's lawyer M Ravi said he would be making "submissions to vigorously resist the Prime Minister's application for summary judgment."

CPF is every employee's retirement savings with funding of housing and medical schemes based on compulsory contributions from the employee and his employer.

Rights groups have criticised the Singapore government for using threats of defamation suits as a way to silence dissenters in the tightly controlled Southeast Asian city-state.

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