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Singapore blogger: 'I have been waiting' for government backlash

Blogger Roy Ngerng addresses the crowd during a protest against licensing regulations for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore, 8 June 2013
Blogger Roy Ngerng addresses the crowd during a protest against licensing regulations for online news sites, at Hong Lim Park in Singapore, 8 June 2013

REUTERS/Edgar Su

The following is a CPJ Blog post by Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, CPJ guest blogger.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong demanded an apology from a critical blogger who has allegedly accused him of corruption. Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, who is also a healthcare worker, has frequently posted critical commentary on the ruling People's Action Party on his blog, The Heart Truths.

The post that has landed him in hot water - the prime minister's lawyer called it defamatory - explores issues around the government's Central Provident Fund (CPF), a compulsory savings plan for working Singaporeans and permanent residents to help fund their retirement, healthcare, and housing needs.

While Ngerng has taken down the offending post from his blog and removed the links from his social media platforms, he faces enormous legal pressure. The prime minister's lawyer has demanded an apology and has called on Ngerng to make a "written offer of damages and costs"--opening a window into the manner in which critical voices are dealt with in the city-state. Ngerng wrote the following explanation of his situation for CPJ:


I have been a sociopolitical blogger in Singapore for the past two years. During this period, I had written nearly 400 articles and there have been more than two million views on the blog. I have been tireless in advocating on issues that concern Singaporeans, primarily on our wages, retirement funds, healthcare and education. I am not at all surprised that the government has decided to gun down on me. I have been waiting for this for some time now, and am prepared for it to happen.

I was first issued a letter of demand for defamation by the Singapore prime minister late on Sunday night [May 18]. I only saw it on Monday morning when I checked my email. My initial reaction was one of disappointment.

Read the full story on CPJ's site.



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