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PM Lee asks The Online Citizen to apologise and remove defamatory article

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pictured) has asked the local independent news outlet The Online Citizen (TOC) to take down and apologise for an article and Facebook post for “several false allegations” around the 38 Oxley Road residences.

According to the letter, TOC has until 4 September 2019 to publish a full and unconditional apology, plus an undertaking not to publish any similar allegations, prominently on its website and social media pages.

The letter by PM Lee’s press secretary, Chang Li Lin sent to Terry Xu, chief editor of TOC said similar to the “false allegations” made previously by his sister Dr. Lee Wei Ling, the article on the site allege that PM Lee misled his father  into thinking that the 38 Oxley Road property had been “gazetted by the Singapore government”. The letter sent to TOC outlined several “other false allegations” made and called the article libellous.

It reemphasised that PM Lee has chosen thus far not to sue his siblings as “suing them would further besmirch his parents’ names, and was therefore not his preferred course of action.” The letter to TOC added that PM Lee’s decision not to sue his siblings then did not mean that he would not ever take legal action, should this become necessary.

“PM Lee’s restraint in suing his siblings should not be misinterpreted by others as free licence to repeat and spread false and defamatory allegations against him, as the Article and Post have done. He has to rebut and deal publicly with such scurrilous attacks on his integrity and character, if necessary through legal action. This is especially as such attacks are also directed at his fitness to hold office as Prime Minister and to lead the Government,” the letter added.

The Lee family spat first emerged in 2017 over the family house at Oxley Road, and made headlines globally. The dispute began when PM Lee’s siblings Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling released a statement questioning the leadership of their brother which then led to a video apology released by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), with PM Lee saying that he “deeply regret[s]” that the family feud has impacted Singapore’s reputation, and its citizens’ confidence in the government.

(Photo courtesy: Prime Minister’s Office page)

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