Blogger Leong Sze Hian says he will defend himself against defamation suit by PM Lee

More comments despite saying he is unable to comment.

Belmont Lay | December 14, 2018, 08:06 PM

Financial adviser and blogger Leong Sze Hian will be defending himself in the defamation suit brought against him by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He revealed this on Wednesday, Dec. 12 when he told The Online Citizen briefly about his upcoming defence strategy.

More comments despite not being able to comment

In the latest remarks reported by TOC, Leong repeated what he previously said about how he was "unable to comment" on his ongoing case "for legal reasons", but proceeded to provide more comments.

Leong said: "For example, why is Singapore the only government in the world that, from a cashflow perspective, does not spend any money on pensions, public housing and healthcare?"

He also reportedly asked why this can be so given that "the inflows exceed the outflows annually in these areas?"

Leong then said questions regarding government spending and other significant issues will be addressed as "Singaporeans will get their answers now".

Prolific questioner

Leong added that he has sought "transparency and accountability" from the Singapore government "without any substantive response" in the past two decades, having contributed to "a few thousand articles, newspaper forum letters, speeches and protests".

When asked about his legal representation, he said: "I have the best counsel -- the people of Singapore."

About the case

Leong shared an article on Facebook on Nov. 7 that alleged complicity on the part of PM Lee in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal.

He had shared the article without adding his own comments.

According to The Straits Times, Leong shared the article "Breaking News: Singapore Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB's key investigation target - Najib signed several unfair..." and alleged that former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had signed "secret deals" with Lee to launder money through Singaporean banks.

The article had originally been published on the website State Times Review on Nov. 5, which was subsequently removed on or around Nov. 10.

Leong removed his shared article from Facebook on the Nov. 10 as well.

What constitutes defamation?

In Section 499A of the Penal Code, defamation refers to the following:

Screenshot from Singapore Statutes

In other words, a person could be liable for defamation in Singapore if he or she were to make a defamation material known to a third party.

In Singapore, defamatory words published over the internet constitute libel and a civil suit can be filed to sue for defamation.

The three conditions that must be met for action to be taken are that the statement in question must be defamatory, refer to the victim and communicated to a third party.

After letters of demand were served to Leong at his private residences by PM Lee's lawyers from Drew & Napier, Leong first comments on the case were aired in a lengthy Facebook post saying he was "bewildered" as to why he was being sued.

TOC's editor, Terry Xu, 36, has been charged with criminal defamation in an unrelated case.