S'pore blogger takes stat board to court after letter of demand

Nurul Azliah Aripin
Nurul Azliah Aripin

A former private school student is taking the Council of Private Education (CPE) to court after she received a letter earlier this week, demanding her to stop sending the alleged defamatory emails and also provide an apology to those whom these emails have been sent to.

Han Hui Hui, 21, a blogger and former student of local private school Shelton College, has been sent a letter of demand by representing lawyers of CPE, asking her to stop sending out two emails to members of the media, according to a copy of the legal documents sent to Yahoo! Singapore on Friday.
However, Han has hit back by engaging human rights lawyer, M Ravi, whose legal challenge on Friday posits that as CPE is a public and statutory body, it cannot sue for libel. Han's legal challenge also argues that she is entitled to her right to freedom of speech under the constitution.

Han's two emails in question earlier this month were directed at CPE corporate communications manager Andy Ong, claiming he had lied to media reporters about her. Both emails were also sent to several members of the local media.
In one email, she wrote, "Reporters have named you as the person who represented Council for Private Education in Singapore who lied to them."
In another, she wrote, "Reporters said that you've represented CPE and made statements that are untrue."
According to CPE's letter of demand, the emails were defamatory because they "have lowered the CPE in the esteem of right thinking members of society". The CPE is asking for a written apology and for her to send it to CPE's "solicitors", Andy Ong, as well as other media whom the emails have been copied to.

Before Han sent emails directed to Andy Ong, she stated in her affidavit that she had written a blog post on 15 March 2013 mentioning that local private schools are "unethical" and in her post, she said that they are giving out “examination questions and answers for students to memorise and regurgitate during the actual examination” and shared similar posts on her Facebook account as well.

After the post went viral, she also stated that a TNP (The New Paper) reporter approached Han through email with queries and Han had the impression that the reporter thought that she was “from Kaplan and had a dispute resolution", which she regards as untrue and reacted by sending out the emails to Andy Ong, copying it to other media.