FEER rejects Lees’ demands

August 4, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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The Singapore Democrats understand that Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong have asked their lawyer (presumably former PAP MP Mr Davinder Singh) to write to the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) to demand the usual apology and damages from the journal.

The demands involve the interview on Dr Chee Soon Juan that FEER published in July.

The SDP also has knowledge that FEER has refused to give in to the demands, triggering an exchange of letters between the Lees’ and FEER’s lawyers. This took place several days ago.

Since then the Lees have been quiet and have not proceeded with issuing their now routine Writ of Summons to sue the journal in court. Instead they have resorted to taking state action to deal with the matter and, in the process, targeted other publications as well. (Are the Lees expecting more critical reports and opinion pieces in the future?)

Just in case anyone has forgotten, PM Lee Hsien Loong said: “We are completely open.” His father was even more gung-ho: “Singapore has managed this relentless flood of information not by blocking the flow but by stating its point of view in competition. We defend our position in open argument and let our case stand on its own merits.”

If they are so good at defending their positions in open argument, perhaps the Lees should consider suing FEER in Hong Kong where the journal is based. Legally there would be no problem because Hong Kong, like Singapore, practices common law. Since the two men are not willing to take the witness box in Singapore, perhaps they are more amenable to doing it in a Hong Kong court.