The Economist published an opinion piece about CPF blogger Roy Ngerng on June 13, 2014.
The article's title, "A butterfly on a wheel", is a saying that can be interpreted "as questioning why someone would put massive effort into achieving something minor or unimportant, or who would punish a minor offender with a disproportional punishment".
In short, the article discusses whether it is counterproductive to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his PAP government for the CPF blogger Roy Ngerng to be sued for defamation in this day and age.
You can read The Economist piece here:
This is the full letter to the editor of The Economist, by Ms Chang Li Lin, the Press Secretary to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong:
SIR – I refer to the article “A butterfly on a wheel” (June 13th). You referred to an “alleged ‘serious libel’” by Roy Ngerng. This is not an allegation. Mr Ngerng has publicly admitted accusing Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister, of criminal misappropriation of pension funds, falsely and completely without foundation. After promising to apologise and to remove the post, Mr Ngerng did the opposite; he actively disseminated the libel further. This was a grave and deliberate defamation, whether it occurred online or in the traditional media being immaterial.
What is at stake is not any short-term positive or negative impact on the government, but the sort of public debate Singapore should have. When someone makes false and malicious personal allegations that impugn a person’s character or integrity, the victim has the right to vindicate his reputation, whether he is an ordinary citizen or the prime minister. The internet should not be exempt from the laws of defamation. It is perfectly possible to have a free and vigorous debate without defaming anyone, as occurs often in Singapore.
Chang Li Lin
Press secretary to the Prime Minister
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