PM Lee’s defence counsel had harsh words for him. ”From the very first, the defendant set out to wound. He knowingly and maliciously published a false and vicious libel against the plaintiff to inflict maximum injury. He then cynically capitalised on, and continues to exploit, that libel and the ensuing lawsuit to promote himself as a champion of free speech,” said lawyers acting on behalf on Mr Lee in their opening statement.
Is the Prime Minister’s act a breach on the freedom of speech, a freedom guaranteed for in our own Constitution?
Well, let’s put it this way: There is freedom of speech, and then there is responsibility of speech. I guarantee that if you accuse any politician – whether it is Low Thia Khiang, Chee Soon Juan, Kenneth Jeyetretnam or Teo Chee Hean – of something he/she didn’t do, trust me you will be hauled to court on a defamation charge.
And why shouldn’t you? The right to speak freely does not exclude you from another person’s right to protect himself. By saying that you have the right to post damaging and criminal content on the internet is a gross abuse of a sacred freedom.
“He would say one thing but do another: He publicly apologised for the libel but he continued to defame the plaintff; he undertook not to repeat the libel but broke his promise; and he claims that he is sincere about wanting to resolve matters but he continues to aggravate this injury”, says Mr. Lee’s defence.
Mr Lee’s lawyers called for “a very high award of damages”, on account of Mr Ngerng’s “malice and continuing attacks”.
“The court has consistently awarded substantial damages in cases where false allegations of criminal conduct were made in the office of Prime Minister,” said Mr Lee’s lawyers in their opening statement.
If we want our country to be taken seriously, if we want the world to continue to respect and invest in our little island, creating jobs and paying our salaries…then we need to stop these little monkey politics that some of these opposition type characters have been creating.
There is nothing wrong with opposing the government policies, political party beliefs and taking public bodies to court… but when you start being childish about it: refusing to let your town council books to be audited, take part in mud slinging, engage in superfluous protests… then I would say that you take the back seat and leave politics to the professionals.