Lee Hsien Yang Ordered To Pay Singapore Ministers Balakrishnan And Shanmugam SGD200K Each For Defamation

Lee Hsien Yang Ordered To Pay Singapore Ministers Balakrishnan And Shanmugam SGD200K Each For Defamation

connectedtoindia.comUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 12:55 PM IST
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Lee Hsien Yang, brother of former Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Lee Hsien Yang |

Lee Hsien Yang, brother of former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has been ordered to pay SGD200,000 each to Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Singapore Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam in a defamation case.

A written Singapore High Court judgement published yesterday said that Lee Hsien Yang had made defamatory allegations “of the gravest kind” against the two ministers. Incidentally, both the ministers are of Indian-origin.

Justice Goh Yihan wrote that the allegations made against the ministers by Lee Hsien Yang “go towards their personal integrity, professional reputation, honour, and core attributes of their personalities”.

Lee Hsien Yang, younger son of Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew, had put up a Facebook post 10 months ago that triggered the defamation lawsuit — two cases filed separately by the two ministers.

Lee Hsien Loong with Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Photo courtesy: Instagram/vivianbalakrishnan

Lee Hsien Loong with Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Photo courtesy: Instagram/vivianbalakrishnan |

The judge took into account the fact that Lee Hsien Yang did not issue an apology or even remove the post though he was given an opportunity for it.

CNA reported: “The lawsuits were initiated over comments Mr Lee made on his Facebook page on July 23, 2023, suggesting that the ministers had acted corruptly by having the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) give them preferential treatment in the rental of the Ridout Road properties.”

The Singapore news website reported that Lee Hsien Yang had targeted his elder brother, too, alleging that “trust in the PAP has been shattered” and talking about “failure of leadership” by Lee Hsien Loong.

Lee Hsien Loong with Singapore Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam. Photo courtesy: Instagram/kshanmugam_

Lee Hsien Loong with Singapore Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam. Photo courtesy: Instagram/kshanmugam_ |

Former PM Lee stepped down on May 15 this year, making way for present PM Lawrence Wong. Having spent two decades in office as the head of state of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong is a beloved public figure and a globally respected senior statesman.

Lee Hsien Yang, who now lives in Europe, was once the CEO of telecom giant Singtel. He had started a dispute even with his own elder brother over the Oxley Road property in Singapore that originally belonged to their father Lee Kuan Yew. For this, too, Lee Hsien Yang had posted a statement on Facebook in July 2017, along with another sibling Lee Wei Ling.

Lee Hsien Yang was “a no show” in Singapore, write ministers on Facebook

Following yesterday’s court order, Vivian Balakrishnan and K Shanmugam wrote on their Facebook pages: “In Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s latest FB post, he recycles his old and tired complaint that he should have been sued in the UK or in international arbitration. After he said that last year, we pointed out that we sued in Singapore for his libels published in Singapore, and which were primarily meant for, and concerned, Singaporeans. He had no answer.

“We urged him to cross-examine us and be cross-examined, in the full view of everyone, so that he can show Singapore, and the rest of the world, that he is right and we are wrong.

“However, on the first day of the trial when we took the stand, ready to be cross-examined, he was a no show, deciding not to take us on.

“Now that he has lost and has to pay damages, he resurfaces and postures, knowing that the time for cross-examination has passed.

“To borrow his own words, ‘facts are facts.’”

Both the Singapore ministers concluded their posts by saying, “We trust that he will pay the damages”, and that they “will donate them in full to charity”.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected To India)

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