Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan said Tuesday that former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong have accepted his offer of $30,000 to settle his debts with them and get out of bankruptcy.
In a statement, Chee, who is secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, said Lee and Goh “have indicated that they will accept” his compensatory offer, and that he will be working to raise the amount to pay them “as quickly as possible”, mainly through the sale of his books.
He also added that he plans to seek formal clearance of his bankruptcy in order to regain eligibility to stand in the 2016 general election. He appealed for donations from supporters to accelerate the process of his payment of the amount.
“I hope that this settlement with Mr Lee and Mr Goh will mark the end of a chapter of Singapore’s politics marred by defamation suits against opposition members,” he said in his statement. “I look forward... to a new era where political discourse is dominated by substantive debates on policies and ideas of how to take our country forward.”
Chee was previously sued for defamation by Lee and Goh in 2001 for accusations against them during the general election campaign period about an alleged loan to then-Indonesian president Suharto.
After he lost the suits to both Lee and Goh, he was declared bankrupt five years later for not being able to pay S$200,000 and S$300,000 in damages to them, respectively.
Chee was also sued and ordered to pay damages to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his father in 2006 for an article he wrote in his party’s newsletter insinuating the government’s involvement in covering up the 2005 National Kidney Foundation scandal.
Once he pays off the S$30,000 to his Official Assignee, who manages his bankruptcy affairs, Goh, Lee and the Attorney-General’s Chambers will be required to vote formally on Chee’s offer before his bankruptcy will be officially annulled.
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