A man who filed a statement of claim against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had his case thrown out last Friday (5 October) by a High Court judge who also restrained him from filing any further similar action without first seeking permission from the court.
Among the many bizarre documents tendered by Cheong Wei Chang in his civil suit was a photo, apparently of tissue or toilet paper covered in blood, with the caption, “Internal bleeding on and off when passing motion, happened many times over the span of 2016 and 2017. Suspect something is left in the body after consuming food products.” The caption continued to describe other matters related to defecation.
Cheong also submitted an email exchange with a Citibank Singapore employee, in which he wanted to arrange for an interview for a role of treasury service manager. Cheong’s caption read, “Interview at Citi for Treasury Services Management was a regulated setting. There were other job interviews during that period affected.”
He also included a letter from the Legal Aid Bureau telling him that he was not eligible for legal aid as his income was above the means testing limit. The grounds of decision for the case released last Friday (5 October) didn’t specify his occupation.
Cheong’s caption for the letter read, “Regulations at legal aid bureau”. He also said that the “Criteria’s do (sic) not make sense”.
In all, Cheong enclosed three volumes of documents comprising miscellaneous photos relating to a variety of his supposed woes. The photos and their captions related to topics ranging from failed job interviews and errors in finance textbooks to health problems.
Cheong’s first suit against PM Lee
On 5 February, Cheong first filed a statement of claims seeking Lee’s “contractual document stating terms and agreements, (and) renumeration for the regulations of his activities” and “a stop on every regulations (sic) imposed on his activities”.
Cheong said Lee “and/or his department’s regulations concern (sic) my health and activities”, and that Lee “did not address my concerns on the regulations of activities when I asked for the regulations of activities to stop”.
He also claimed Lee “and/or his department continued regulating my activities while withholding information”, and that the prime minister “and/or his department continued regulating my activities even during emergencies”.
The Attorney-General (AG), representing Lee in his capacity as prime minister and head of the government, applied to strike out Cheong’s claim on the basis that it was “frivolous, vexatious and disclosed no reasonable cause of action”.
On 30 April, Justice Valerie Thean threw the case out, calling it “incoherent”.
In her grounds of decision, the High Court judge said, “First, Mr Cheong did not plead any facts which demonstrated the existence of any “regulations” that originated from Mr Lee or the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Second, there were no facts which demonstrated how the “regulations” caused or contributed to the host of problems he had identified in his supporting documents. The details provided in the supporting documents appeared to be a collation of conspiracy theories with no supporting facts.”
Added Justice Thean, “There was simply no basis to suggest that the vicissitudes of life faced by Mr Cheong were caused by the prime minister or his department.”
On 8 May, a copy of the court’s decision was given to Cheong.
Cheong persisted with second suit
The next day, he filed another civil suit against Lee, with a similar statement of claim as his previous suit. This time, he said, “I will want to obtain the receipt, contractual payment/document(s) stating terms and renumeration with regards to the regulations of my activities.” He also asked, “I will also want a stop on every regulations of my activities coming from the defendant and/or his department(s).”
The new suit contained a volume of documents labelled “Trial Document 1 (May 2018)”, which was nearly identical to “Trial Document 1” which he submitted previously to the court.
On 19 June, the AG again applied to strike out the suit. The AG, represented by State Counsel Sivakumar Ramasamy, also asked the court to exercise its powers to order that Cheong, who was self represented, seek permission from the High Court for any further similar legal proceeding against Lee.
In her grounds of decision, after hearing submissions from both parties, Justice Thean said of Cheong, “The court encourages him to seek the medical treatment that his supportive family has expressed desire to assist him with. If the source of his incoherence is addressed and he is able to delineate sustainable causes of action, he is at liberty to file such a suit. If, on the other hand, his behaviour escalates, it may yet prove timely for the AG to seek a stronger remedy.”