Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why doesn’t Chee Sue MM?

SDP chief Dr Chee Soon Juan had recently been found guilty of defamation over allegations of government corruption made in an SDP newsletter ahead of general elections in May 2006. He and his sister were also found guilty of contempt of court.

The saga however continues outside of the court room, over the presses. It centers on a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) op-ed piece titled “Democracy in Singapore” in which the journal painted a less then flattering picture of a paranoid statesman’s use of defamation suits to quash freedom of speech.

In response, the Press Secretary to Minister Mentor issued a clarifying note, “Two Views of Freedom of Speech and Law in Singapore”, to the WSJ online. She stressed that “the case had nothing to do with political freedom” and that “it was for defamation arising from the Chees' false claims that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew are criminals and corrupt”.

The interesting twist is that she claims Dr Chee had in open court, “called the Singapore leaders "murderers, robbers, child molesters" and "rapists."; a charge Dr Chee has publicly come out to deny.

If this is indeed so, wouldn’t this amount to defamation on the part of MM Lee? Why doesn’t Chee sue?

Chee has also been previously accused of treasonous actions whilst in the employ of unnamed foreign enemies of Singapore. Why doesn’t he challenge the Lees to produce evidence?

The Lees had lambasted Chee for not providing evidence of their alleged corruption and instead used the court proceedings to push for his other campaigns of political freedom. Now would be a great chance for Chee to bring MM back into court and similarly challenge him to produce evidence that he had made those remarks and that he was under the employ of foreign entities.

One may reason that the courts are biased against the Chees and he wouldn’t get a fair trial anyway.
But I feel this is an opportunity too good to miss. My only caution is that he threads carefully and not over extend his bite.

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