Last week Roy Ngerng showed us how powerful social media can be. The post on his blog (since been removed), on PM Lee Hsien Loong’s alleged misappropriation of the CPF funds was deemed as defamatory and was asked to be pulled down from the site through a letter of demand sent by Drew & Napier. Davinder Singh, easily one of Singapore’s most recognized legal figure, is the first batch of Senior Counsel to be appointed in Singapore. Anonymous from online have called PM Lee to be a “bully”, from hiring a top law firm and top legal advisory against an average Singaporean.
We thought the political drama would have ended here. Roy, following the removal of the blog post that mentions PM Lee’s name in full (with photo), was then asked to remove 4 other posts that uncovers more of the CPF , even some that were dated as far back as 2012 and 2013, along with a 13 minutes lengthy video on the same thematic concern.
Following the whelming requests, Roy asked for an extension with regards to the compensation to damages. He has offered $5000 based on his humble background, however it was rejected by PM Lee, being regarded as “derisory”.
PM Lee’s decision to regard Roy’s offer of $5000 to be “derisory” is rather debatable especially since $5000 is a considerably large amount for an average Singaporean, minus their CPF contribution. You will rarely get to win $5000 from any TV shows in Singapore. It may be the sincerity of Roy’s apology that he is after but as a prominent, international and respected parliamentary figure in Singapore, is scoffing at a $5000 compensation or more, a little unnecessary? I wonder.
Article 23 from ASEAN Human Rights Charter
Compensation should be based on monetary value and the sincerity of apology. The sincerity of Roy’s apology is disputable (with the circulation of this concern to local and foreign media) which to me, is a spite to the severity of the situation although masked with the good intention to “educate” the general public and to PM Lee, a “calculated and systematic aggravation”. Roy has since willing to take the case to court.
Embellishing the internet as a medium, it makes the situation tricky as the regulatory laws on virtual platform is fluid. With a huge following on the blogosphere (currently 4th on Top 50 Singapore Bloggers as of 29 May 2014, Alexa Global Rank: 136,302) Roy is able to garner support and go viral online, compared to the less tech-savvy PM Lee that discusses virtually nothing on the issue on his social media platforms. However, does a strong following online equate to a strong following in real life? We will only find out on 7 June 2014 whether the social following on social media platforms and people who heavily prophesized Roy will be there or not.
With Roy taking the case to the courts after the rejection of the compensation, he will be raising funds for his court case. Will we see an open dialogue as welcomed by Roy Ngerng with PM Lee? Only time will tell how this political drama will unfold in the next few weeks. And I will not be surprised with Roy appearing in our next General Elections.