Singapore blogger crowdfunds US$99,000 to pay PM damages in defamation case

Blogger Leong Sze Hian said today he had raised S$133,000 via crowdfunding on social media to cover damages he was ordered to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. — Facebook image via TODAY
Blogger Leong Sze Hian said today he had raised S$133,000 via crowdfunding on social media to cover damages he was ordered to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. — Facebook image via TODAY

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SINGAPORE, April 5 — A Singaporean blogger said today he had raised S$133,000 (RM409,350) via crowdfunding on social media to cover damages he was ordered to pay Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a defamation case filed by the city-state’s leader.

Lee had sued Leong Sze Hian, a financial advisor, after he shared on Facebook an online news article that linked the premier to a financial scandal at Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB.

Lee’s lawyers have said such links were “false and baseless”. Leong had deleted the November 2018 Facebook post within three days of sharing it, complying with a government request.

The Singapore high court on March 24 ordered him to pay Lee S$133,000.

“I am very happy, very grateful,” he told Reuters today.

Leong made the announcement on Facebook late yesterday, when he posted: “It is finished. All paid for.”

As the head of a government that has pledged zero tolerance of corruption, Lee, 69, is no stranger to seeking to protect his reputation via legal channels.

Senior figures in the ruling People’s Action Party, including Lee’s late father and the founder of modern-day Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, have previously sued foreign media, political opponents and online commentators for defamation. — Reuters

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