THE TEMASEK TIMES

News and views from an unique perspective

Singapore PM demands apology from dissident website

Posted by temasektimes on February 20, 2012

(AFP) Singapore’s prime minister has demanded an apology from a political website for a post his lawyer said alleged nepotism in the appointment of the premier’s wife as head of a state-linked firm.

In a letter sent Sunday to editors of the website Temasek Review Emeritus, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s lawyer, Davinder Singh, described the posting as defamatory and without basis.

In the letter which AFP obtained a copy of Monday, Singh said the posting on February 16 was “published maliciously and recklessly” and constituted “a very grave libel” against the prime minister.

Singh said the posting alleged that the appointment of Lee’s wife Ho Ching as head of the state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings was “for nepotistic motives.”

He demanded that the editors of Temasek Review Emeritus take down the original article and the subsequent comments and post an apology by February 24.

The posting and the comments have since been removed from the website.

Lee’s lawyer said it was “publicly known” that Ho’s appointment to the top post at Temasek Holdings in January 2004 was made “on merit and through proper process”.

Singh also asked the website — well known for its anti-establishment articles — to provide the identity and contact of the person who contributed the post.

Richard Wan, one of the website’s editors, said they will release an apology later Monday.

“We will be apologising and will comply with all the demands 100 percent,” Wan told AFP.

“We have not decided yet whether we will reveal the identity of the writer. The editors are still deciding on that.”

International human rights organisations have regularly criticised Singapore’s leaders for using financially ruinous libel suits to silence critics and political opponents.

Singapore leaders however have countered that the lawsuits are necessary to protect their reputation.

Publications like The Economist, Bloomberg and Financial Times have previously paid damages and apologised to the Lee family for publishing similar allegations.

Source: AFP News

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