In 2 day's time, on , CPF activist Roy Ngerng will have his day in court. In accordance with Singapore law, Roy will be given the opportunity to question Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over the PM's defamation suit of him. Opposition supporters will definitely cheer this as a win for Roy but, on the contrary, it is a loss. Allow me to explain why ...
#1: Free and Transparent Government. The fact that a normal citizen can face his accuser (who happens to be the Prime Minister of the day) demonstrates that no one is above the law. No one, not even the Prime Minister, can ignore the law of the land and due process will be served. If this is not a free and transparent Government, I don't know what is. Even in the United States, the bastion of democracy, ex-President Bill Clinton did not stand trial for his alleged indiscretions with regards to Monica Lewinsky.
#2: Defamation Suits are "standard practice" to protect one's reputation. PM Lee and the Ministers are not the only ones to use defamation suits, or the threat of suits, to defend their name and reputation. In recent months, opposition activists like Ravi Philemon, Goh Meng Seng and even Vincent Law have in one form or another used the threat of legal actions to get clear their name. If free speech indeed comes with no limits, how do these opposition activists justify their own use of the law for such purposes?
#3: Abuse of process for self-promotion. As Roy Ngerng has already been found guilty by the Court for defamation, Roy's decision to question PM Lee Hsien Loong is clearly a ploy for his own self-promotion. After all, which political activists in Singapore can claim to have questioned the Prime Minister. In our assessment, Roy is desperately hoping to regain loss support after his heckling of special needs children at Hong Lim Park. Since that incident, many Singaporeans have seen Roy for the true person that he is and have stopped supporting him. In fact, despite promises, Roy Ngerng has to date not given a full accounting of the crowd sourced defence fund he has raised.
In short, we feel that while is a sad day for Singapore as the Prime Minister will need to face a misguided activist, we are hopeful that this Court hearing will demonstrate to all Singaporeans and political observers that Singapore is a true democracy.