PETALING JAYA: A blogger who is being sued by Lee Hsien Loong for sharing an article alleging that the Singapore prime minister was complicit in the 1MDB scandal, has defended himself by saying that his action was done because the allegations were of public interest.
Financial adviser Leong Sze Hian, in court papers filed by his lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean yesterday, said Lee’s suit was an abuse of the court process and a threat to free speech.
“Leong did not choose to pick a fight, but now offers battle to uphold the freedom of expression in Singapore, a fundamental human right for which he has fought tirelessly for more than two decades,” Lim, who recently set up a political party called People’s Voice, said in a statement as quoted by Today Online.
He said Leong had merely shared the article on the Facebook page without accompanying it with comments, adding that the post did not give the article any traction compared to two other websites which published the piece.
The article, “Breaking News: Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB’s key investigation target – Najib signed several unfair agreements with Hsien Loong in exchange for money laundering”, was originally published by online site States Times Review, and picked up by Malaysian news portal The Coverage on Nov 7.
It said Lee had signed agreements with the former prime minister over the Singapore-Malaysia High-Speed Rail (HSR) project and water sale between the two countries, in exchange for help from Singapore banks in laundering 1MDB funds.
The Singapore government said the article was “fake news” and “clearly libellous”.
In his suit, Lee said the article accused him of using his position “to help Najib Razak launder 1MDB’s billions”.