The lawsuit between Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, against the SDP over the National Kidney Foundation will soon be going to its hearing over the assessment for damages.
The courts awarded the Lees summary judgment preventing the matter going to trial. The defendants were thus unable to defend themselves and cross-examine the Lees.
The next step is for both parties to file their Affidavit Evidence In Chief (AEIC) in preparation for the hearing to assess the amount of damages the defendants have to pay to the plaintiffs.
Below is the AEIC filed by Dr Chee Soon Juan.
This would also necessitate the parties presenting themselves in court for cross-examination.
Readers would do well to note, however, that the Lees will find some excuse to avoid facing the SDP at the hearing and being cross-examined by the defendants.
AFFIDAVIT EVIDENCE IN CHIEF
I, Chee Soon Juan, do hereby make oath and say as follows:
1. I am the Defendant in this suit.
2. I am filing this AEIC on my own behalf and on behalf of Defendants No. 1
(Singapore Democratic Party) and No. 2 (Chee Siok Chin).
3. The Plaintiffs were awarded summary judgment in a hearing where our counsel was not present as he was ill.
4. In the first place we do not accept the summary judgment handed down by the Courts. Despite the fact that we had filed our defence showing that there were triable issues and disputes of facts, Judge Belinda Ang awarded summary judgment to the plaintiffs.
5. This meant that there was no trial and the defendants were not afforded the opportunity to call our witnesses, cross-examine the plaintiffs, and conduct our defence in open court.
6. This is a travesty of justice.
7. Any claim for damages must be backed up by an assessment of the plaintiffs’ reputation. The question is to find a independent and unbiased assessment of these reputations.
8. To be sure the plaintiffs’ reputations have been built up on the backs of a controlled and subservient media. The media would sing their praises leading everyone to conclude that their reputation is sterling.
9. There is little coverage and analysis of the political machinations of the plaintiffs by Singapore’s media.
10. In other words: self-praise is no praise.
11. The foreign media, that is, those that do not circulate in Singapore and hence out of the punitive reach of the plaintiffs, hold a much more critical view.
12. In the legal realm, Lee Kuan Yew had sued the late Devan Nair in Canada in 1999 for defamation over an article entitled “Singapore Sage” published in the Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper.
13. Nair countersued, claiming damages for the tort of abuse of process.
14. Lee Kuan Yew applied for an order to strike out Nair’s counterclaim, saying that Nair’s counterclaim was “scandalous, vexatious or an abuse of process of the Court.”
15. The presiding judge, Greer J., dismissed Lee’s application, ruling that “Lee’s action is brought in a country that prides itself in allowing freedom of expression.” (See Exhibit collectively marked CSJ-1)
16. This is another indication that there is no freedom of expression in Singapore which lends weight to the argument that the plaintiffs’ reputations have been inflated by the Lees themselves.
17. Several international groups such as Amnesty International, Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, National Endowment for Democracy, Council for a Community of Democracy, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights First, and the US State Department have criticised the Singapore Government, headed by the plaintiffs, for not respecting the freedom of expression in Singapore.
18. This again supports the defendants’ argument that the reputations of the plaintiffs are not what the Lees claim them to be. They must also be seen in the context of the lack of freedom of expression in Singapore which curtails criticism, as well as the publication of such criticism, of the Lees.
Views of the layperson
19. On the other hand the Internet, especially the online forums where the Government has little control over discussions, are rife with robust criticism of the plaintiffs.
20. This is an illustration of what the layperson thinks given an independent and free forum.
21. Another way that the plaintiffs’ reputations are assessed is through general elections.
22. With the elections system, in the words of Lee Kuan Yew, “engineered” to ensure a PAP victory, is it any wonder that the Lees continue to be re-elected at every election? (See Exhibit collectively marked CSJ-1)
23. Lee Kuan Yew has indicated that the one-man-one-vote system has to be changed if necessary.
24. Lee Hsien Loong has said that if there are more opposition members of parliament, he, as prime minister, will have to “fix” the opposition and “buy” support (See Exhibit collectively marked CSJ-1).
25. The Elections Department which conducts elections is supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office.
26. The reputations of the plaintiffs must be assessed by looking at the entire spectrum of views, not just a selective and highly skewed picture promulgated by the Singapore Press Holdings, Media Corp and the election system.
27. Only when such a comprehensive vantage is considered can an accurate and unbiased assessment of their reputations be made.
Sworn in Singapore this
20th day of November 2007
Before A COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS