SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will testify in court if his defamation suit against Terry Xu, chief editor of sociopolitical website The Online Citizen (TOC), goes to trial.
In addition, his two estranged siblings – Wei Ling and Hsien Yang – can decide whether they will testify together with Xu, and repeat the allegations in court concerning their disagreements about the family home at 38 Oxley Road and the final will drawn up by their late father, Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
PM Lee’s press secretary Chang Li Lin released a media statement on Tuesday night (10 September) outlining his intentions.
The statement said, “The Prime Minister has filed a suit against Mr Terry Xu of The Online Citizen (TOC) for defamation. He has done so because the allegations are completely false.
“If there is a trial, PM Lee will testify in court. His siblings can decide, together with Mr Xu, whether they too will testify, and repeat the allegations in court. The court can then establish the facts.”
PM Lee is suing Xu regarding a 15 August article on TOC, which made reference to a Facebook post by Lee’s wife Ho Ching, in which she shared a Healthy Holistic Living article entitled “Here’s Why Sometimes It Is Okay to Cut Ties with Toxic Family Members”.
Court documents filed by Davinder Singh Chambers LLC claimed that the article had caused Lee to be “gravely injured in his character and reputation”, and that he had been brought into “public scandal, odium and contempt”.
Last Wednesday, PM Lee had demanded that the offending article be taken down immediately. The Prime Minister’s Office also demanded that Xu publicly issue a “full and unconditional apology” and an undertaking not to publish any similar allegations.
Xu responded by refusing to comply, stating that the contents of the TOC article “are not defamatory”.
Earlier on Tuesday, Xu said in a Facebook post that he will be representing himself in court. He added that there will be no crowdfunding for his legal defence as there are no lawyer fees involved and that court filing fees are manageable.